Thirsting for Real Refreshment
Malvern Minute


December 14, 2017   Thursday of the Second Week of Advent

Saint John of the Cross, Priest, Doctor of the Church

Mark J. Poletunow, Malvern President (

Click for: Readings for the day (From the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops)

A reading from the Book of the Prophet Isaiah (41:13-20)

I am the LORD, your God,
who grasp your right hand;
It is I who say to you, “Fear not,
I will help you.”

Fear not, O worm Jacob,
O maggot Israel;
I will help you, says the LORD;
your redeemer is the Holy One of Israel.
I will make of you a threshing sledge,
sharp, new, and double-edged,
To thresh the mountains and crush them,
to make the hills like chaff.
When you winnow them, the wind shall carry them off
and the storm shall scatter them.
But you shall rejoice in the LORD,
and glory in the Holy One of Israel.

The afflicted and the needy seek water in vain,
their tongues are parched with thirst.
I, the LORD, will answer them;
I, the God of Israel, will not forsake them.
I will open up rivers on the bare heights,

and fountains in the broad valleys;
I will turn the desert into a marshland,
and the dry ground into springs of water.
I will plant in the desert the cedar,
acacia, myrtle, and olive;
I will set in the wasteland the cypress,
together with the plane tree and the pine,
That all may see and know,
observe and understand,
That the hand of the LORD has done this,
the Holy One of Israel has created it.

Reflect: I am the LORD, your God, who grasp your right hand; It is I who say to you, “Fear not, I will help you.” Both this reading from the Prophet Isaiah and today’s Gospel (Matthew 11:11-15) call to mind the suffering and persecution of the people of God. Whether it be the “afflicted and needed… parched with thirst” or “the Kingdom of heaven [that] suffers violence, and the violent are taking it by force”, we are in great need. This time of Advent helps us to recognize not just our challenges and afflictions, but, most especially, how much we really need God. No matter whom we are or our level of accomplishment in life, we are nothing apart from God who is the source of all that we are and all that we have. Nothing pleases the Lord more than for us to cry out: “Jesus I need you! I trust you!”  In many ways, just dealing with the ordinary, to say nothing of the exceptional, challenges that we face is as if we are those parched, thirsty people longing for springs of refreshing waters. Jesus is the Living Water that satisfies our thirst. Although we seek to be satiated in many other ways, we truly find what we long for only in Jesus. May he give us humble, longing hearts that seek to be fulfilled in him. He promises that we should not fear, because he will take us by the hand and lead us to those refreshing, satisfying waters.

Questions: Am I taking time to prepare spiritually for the coming of Christ? Do I look to Jesus as the source and sustainer of my life? What is getting in the way of me turning my life and all my aspirations completely over to Jesus?

Pray: Loving God, take me by the hand and lead me to where I need to be. My heart longs for more. My life is incomplete.  I need you to dwell in my heart, and to pour out as refreshing living waters to satisfy my thirst for truth, peace, beauty and joy. May I long for you!  I pray this in the powerful and perfect name of Jesus. Amen.                                      

Saint John of the Cross: Pray for us!

Saint John was born in Fontiveros, Spain in about 1542. He grew up very poor. After his father’s death, his destitute mother sent him away to a school for impoverished children. He developed a profound spirituality and joined the Carmelites in 1563. John was a mystic, poet and prolific spiritual writer who joined forces with Teresa of Jesus of Avila in founding the reformed (“Discalced”) Carmelite friars. He was subjected to cruel imprisonment and privations from the unreformed Carmelites who did not comprehend God’s work in him. His mystical theology teaches the renunciation of all creaturely comforts for the sake of union with God. “Feed not your spirit on anything but God. Cast off concern about things, and bear peace and recollection in your heart.” Discalced Carmelites number about 4,000. John died in 1591 and is recognized as the Mystical Doctor of the Church.


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