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Daily Reflections for Lent

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FIRST WEEK OF LENT
Tuesday, March 7
Sr. Mary Kate Birge
Professor of Theology

 

Fertile with Forgiveness

 

“Yet just as from the heavens the rain and snow come down and do not return there till they have watered the earth, making it fertile and fruitful, giving seed to the one who sows and bread to the one who eats.” -Isaiah 55:10

 

In the first reading for today, we hear how the rain and the snow that water the earth and renew all life on it is like God’s Word. God’s Word is rich and nourishing for all creation, especially for humanity, because this Word is not empty of power or purpose. The end, or purpose, of God’s Word is simple and, at the same time, very difficult to achieve. The purpose for God’s sending the Word is to bring humanity back into relationship with God because this is what pleases God. God desires to be in relationship with human beings. God wants to know us human beings and wants us human beings to know God. To know at the deepest level of our psyches how much God desires to be with us, not for anything we have done or will do, but for the simple pleasure of becoming friends with us, is to know joy. That joy leads us to want to live lives modeled on the Incarnate Word, Jesus, and so it draws us into friendship with Him and into a way of life where we forgive others because we have already been forgiven so much.  

 

God of rain and snow, of fields and hills, send Your Word to me. Let me not rebuff Your offering of friendship, but grant me the grace to cooperate with Your Word. Make me fertile with forgiveness this Spring as I prepare to experience again the Great Mystery of Jesus’ Death and Resurrection. Help me want to forgive others because You have already forgiven me so much. Amen.

 

Is 55: 10-11 Ps 34:4-5, 6-7, 16-17, 18-19 Mt 6:7-15

FIRST WEEK OF LENT
Monday, March 6
Eileen Peregoy
Admin Asst. - Seminary

 

What You Have Received, Freely Give!

 

“The king will say to those on His right: “Come, you who are blessed by My Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” -Matthew 25: 34

 

Consider that God, Who  is love itself, had you and me in His mind’s eye from all eternity. Though He did not need us to be complete in Himself, out of love He created us to share in His divine life and eventually live with Him forever in heaven.

 

Each of us has been given a specific purpose in life, a task to be fulfilled for the glory of God and the good of our neighbor. To help us along life’s journey, God endowed us with various gifts and talents, among which is the gift (and challenge) of free will, to choose between good and evil, between a life of giving or of selfish indifference. Our talents are to be shared with others to assist them on the road to heaven.

 

In the person of His Son, God sent us the perfect example of how to love the poor and the lonely, the sick and the dying , those who are hungry, not only for food but for love, a kind word, a helping hand. Do we see and honor the face of Christ in each of them, or do we turn away and go about our daily lives unconcerned about the plight of others? Do we try to imitate the love and mercy with which Christ poured out His life for us? He considers all that we do to others, whether good or bad, directly affects our relationship with God. Let us pass on to our neighbor the precious gifts we have received from God, Who  loved us from the beginning.

 

During this holy season, and throughout our lives, let us forget ourselves and strive to serve Christ in His people, thus making other peoples lives brighter and more hopeful. Then, when we come before the Lord on judgment day, He will say to us, “well done, good and faithful servant; enter into the joy of your Lord.”

 

Lord Jesus, as we begin this season of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving, let us be Your hands and feet and hearts to those who suffer in any way.  Thank You for dying on the cross for us and teaching us how to love without counting the cost. Amen.

 

Lv 19:1-2, 11-18 Ps 19:8, 9, 10, 15 Mt 25:31-46

FIRST WEEK OF LENT
Sunday, March 5
Michael Hoover
Associate Director, iLEAD

 

Follow His Lead

 

“Restore unto me the joy of Thy salvation, and uphold me with Thy free Spirit. Then I will teach transgressors Thy ways, and sinners shall be converted unto Thee.” (Ps 51: 12-13) “For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.”  -Romans 5: 19

 

Because of our parents, from first  to our own, sinned, we, too, sin. A person who does wrong and has followers, e.g. children, should expect those followers to commit similar wrongdoings. However, a  person who leads by a good example and understands the value in doing so will most likely have followers who do the same.

 

God became man and taught us by example that temptations (Matthew 4) and suffering are part of our human condition. Jesus also exemplified and taught that an equally viable part of being human  is our capacity to be confident in our faith, to love and to perform acts of goodness. Christ asked us through the example of His apostles to follow His lead. And, by that example, He models for us what good leaders embody.

 

Leaders admit to being human and frail, sometimes even broken, then strive to be their personal best. They, in turn, seek opportunities to lift others up so they too may become their personal best selves.

 

Through leading by a good example, we gather followers by our positive influence to grow goodness in the world, even knowing we may again falter, make mistakes, and even lead others astray. But, in admitting to our mistakes and wrongdoings, apologizing to those wronged (including to God Himself), and then striving and committing  to do and be better, we come into the grace of goodness, confident to lead ourselves and others to be and do our best.

 

Lord, please help me be ever mindful of my words and actions, that I may follow in Your steps and lead others along Your Way of righteousness and love. Amen.

 

Gn 2:7-9; 3: 1-7   Ps 51: 3-6, 12-13, 17  Rom 5: 12-19 or 5: 12, 17-19  Mt 4:1-11

Saturday, 1st Week of Lent                                                        February 28th
Sem. Brendan Fitzgerald S ‘20

                                                                                                                                                 

I Will Walk With God In The Ways Of Mercy And Forgiveness  

                                                                                                

“So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Mt 5:4

 

   Our first reading today speaks of a covenant. We are to keep the commandments of God and walk in the ways of the Lord, and God will reward us with praise and glory. But within this passage there are few details concerning what it is that keeping these commandments entails. In our responsorial Psalm, we are told that those who keep God’s decrees and those who walk in the ways of the Lord will be happy. But once again, there are few details regarding what these decrees are, of what is required of us, of what it is to walk with the Lord. We receive these details and specifics in today’s Gospel. We are to walk with the Lord in mercy and forgiveness. Those are God’s ways, and they must become our ways as well. Yet when Christ tells us to love our enemies and to pray for those who harm us, He offers more than a divine decree. Christ gives us a reason to act with mercy and forgiveness that is more  substantial than that tired old trope of “because I said so.” We are to act with mercy and forgiveness because God bestows grace upon all persons, bad and good, just and unjust. As Christians, we are called to “be perfect,” just as God “is perfect.” Our perfection must mirror—as best we can—the perfection of a God who loves indiscriminately, who does not fail to respond with mercy and forgiveness to the good and the bad, and to the just and unjust alike. Our covenant with God obliges us to walk with God in the way of love: the way of mercy and forgiveness. And through that same covenant, God promises that a life spent in the service of  mercy and forgiveness will be the source of our eternal happiness.

 

   Lord, grant me the humility to respond to evil with mercy, and the charity to forgive injustice. May I strive for perfection through love, just as You are perfect. Amen.

Friday, 1st Week of Lent                                                      February 27th

Nathaniel Guest C ‘17

 

God’s Hope And Forgiveness  

                                                                                              

   “Now if the wicked person turns from all the sins he has committed, keeps all my statutes, and does what is just and right, he will certainly live; he will not die. None of his transgressions will be held against him.” Ez 18:21-22

 

   In reading this passage, there are two clear messages God is trying to bring to our attention. A message of hope and a  message of forgiveness. Due to our fallen human nature, even the most   righteous among us fall into sin. We all have committed acts against our Father. There is hope for us though. The first part of this passage states that we, as sinners, have the ability to turn away from our sins. Is this an easy task? No, it is not; the daily struggle with temptations is impossible to avoid and it is difficult to turn our backs on them. While we know that we can change our ways, we will need assistance in order to effectively do so. God’s forgiveness is what really creates the hope inside of us so that we can have the drive we all need to better our lives. His ability to forgive us goes far beyond what we as humans can understand! By Jesus’ Crucifixion we can get an idea of just how much God wants to forgive His children. Just think… the Lord and Creator of the universe wanted to forgive us so intensely that He sent His Son to die an excruciating death on a cross. This forgiveness is so powerful that after the priest absolves us, God will not even remember our sins. How beautiful is that?! A fresh start after every confession, and a hope that we can and will do better, not just during these forty days, but every day of the year.  Remember God is always ready and willing to forgive, no matter what we have done. All we need to do is ask and make an effort to better our lives.

 

   Father, I know I am a sinner, but I want to change my ways.

Please forgive me, and help me to become

the person You want me to be. Amen.

Thursday, 1st Week of Lent                                                        February 26th
Dr. Joshua Hochschild
Dean, College of Liberal Arts

                                                                  

Just Ask

                                                                                                

“The Lord will complete what He has done for me.” Ps 138:7

 

   It couldn’t be any simpler.  We need help, and God – and only God – can provide it.  All we have to do is ask.

 

   How could it be any other way?  God made you, God cares for you, God hears you.  No one knows you better than God does.  Of course God will provide whatever you need. Esther’s is not a cry of despair, but of trust and hope.  But it is a cry nonetheless, a cry of one who is weak and in need: “Help me, who am alone and have no help but You.”  Asking for help is not the same as feeling helpless.  Indeed, one cannot ask for help unless one is aware of one’s need and trusts that help is available.

 

   Esther knew in her heart the truth that would be spoken by Jesus: “Ask and it will be given to You; seek and You will find; knock and the door will be opened to You.”  Do You need help?   The more You are aware that You do, the closer You are to receiving it.  For it is precisely in acknowledging our dependence on God that we are disposed to receive His grace.  Jesus’ words are simple enough to make sense to a child. Why would God refuse to help us?  Only ask!  Even bad parents know how to provide decent things for their children!  “How much more will your heavenly Father give good things to those who ask Him.” (Mt 7: 11)

 

   Lord, help me.  Help me to know where I most need Your help,

 and help me to trust that You will provide the help I need. Amen.

Tuesday, 1st Week of Lent                                           February 24th Sarah Bomberger C ‘18

                                                                                                    

Father, Teach Me How to Pray

 

“Your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.” Mt 6:8

 

We often hear in movies, books, from good friends or loved ones, the phrase: “You know me better than I know myself,” or something along those lines. People throw out this phrase all the time, but there is really only one person that truly knows us better than we know ourselves, and that is God. Our God knows what we need before we even ask Him, and even when we don’t know it ourselves. Although God knows what we need, prayer is a key part of our faith and our relationship with Him.

 

In the readings today, we are taught how to pray. In Matthew 6: 9-14, we are given the greatest prayer of all: the Lord’s Prayer. The “Our Father” is the best of all prayers, because it is taught by Jesus Christ Himself. In saying the “Our Father,” we offer ourselves completely to God and ask of Him the greatest things, not only for ourselves, but also for our neighbor. It is important to pray the words of the Our Father with meaning and understanding. Say all prayers with meaning, as it is more important to say few words filled with love, than many empty ones.

 

Lord, bless the words I pray, and may they be filled with meaning and love for You. “Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us, and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.”

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