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Daily Reflections for Lent

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.

Wednesday, 1st Week of Lent                                                  February 25th

Darrin Schultz                                                     Varsity Catholic Missionary

                                                                  

Opening The Door Of Your Heart       

                                                                                        

“A heart contrite and humbled, O God, You will not spurn.” Ps 52:19 

 

   Hidden in our heart, there lives some resentment of being a creature. Whether we admit it or not, all of us, at one time or another, have approached life as if we are the center of the universe. Have you ever wondered why pride is the deadliest of  the seven deadly sins? Pride is not deadly because God is power-hungry and just wants the credit for everything, although He deserves it. Pride is deadly because we make ourselves into our own God. Pride is the sin of idolatry…and you, yourself are the idol. The extent to which you do not view yourself as helpless without God, is the extent to which you are living an illusion.
 

   Make no mistake about it, the Lord wants your heart. But God will not enter into your broken heart unless you give Him the permission to do so. Pride is the lock that keeps the Lord out of your heart. In the words of C.S. Lewis, “The doors of hell are locked from the inside.” Humility is the key that opens the door of your heart and allows the life of Jesus to enter. Hear these words spoken to you: “Behold, I stand at the door and knock” (Rev 3:20).
 

   How do we counter the sin of pride in our lives, and live a life of humility? Pray for the grace of humility. Simply defined, humility is self-knowledge of who you are in relation to God and the world. Humility is the virtue of identity. When we learn who we truly are before God, a humble and contrite heart is the natural response. During this holy season of Lent, stop trying to achieve God’s love. Let Him achieve your love.

 

   “Dear Lord, I surrender to You today with all my heart and soul.  I give You permission to enter my heart, and form me according to Your Most Holy Will. 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.”

 

Monday, 1st Week of Lent                                                           February 23rd

Sasanthi Fernando C ‘16

 

I Will Reflect You, My Lord, With Loving Compassion 

                                                                                              

“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of Mine,
you did for Me.’ ” Mt 25:40

 

   At Mass, we always hear the phrase “my brothers and   sisters.” However, do we all respect each other as that? Do we even see others as a brother or a sister? I know that I struggle with it. It is so easy for us to forget this connection and our actions seem to reflect it.

 

   When was the last time that you helped someone in need? Not family, not friends, but a stranger? Did you provide a meal for a homeless person, assist the elderly, or do something that can only be labeled as an act of kindness? If so, good job and keep up the good work. As for the rest of us, don’t you think we should step up our game? There are many opportunities provided by our loving God and yet, we still fall behind. Look around you: you only have to grab one opportunity to start your redemption.

 

   So, why do we see fit to act with kindness and compassion? Why do we need to help others in order to stabilize our relationship with God? Well, we know that as an individual, we are all sons or daughters of God.  Also, as stated in Genesis, we are  created in the likeness of God and therefore reflect Him.  Although we are aware of these two points separately, we fail to recognize that the people around us are a mirror image of Him. Through charity, we not only show compassion to others but to God Himself. Therefore, loving others translates to loving God.

   So ask yourself, “Did I make the right decisions? Do I have a stable and complete relationship with God? If not, what can I do to improve it?” After all, every relationship requires the participation of both individuals.  

 

   God, I crave to see You and to know You, but I appreciate the love surrounding me. I am blessed to have my friends, my family, my community, and even those that I do not know. They reflect You, my Lord, and I see You through them. Therefore, grant me the strength to reciprocate compassion, kindness, and love to others that You have shown to me. Amen.

1st Sunday in Lent                                                                       February 22nd  
Rev. Larry Donohoo                                                                    Seminary Professor

                                     

Under The Rainbow

 

“I set my bow in the clouds to serve as a sign of the covenant

 between me and the earth.” Gn 9:13

 

   While vacationing in the Rockies many years ago, I saw, after a sky-cleaning storm of great intensity, the most lustrous rainbow of my life. Despite what they say is impossible, I walked to this rainbow’s end and stood inside it, and the pot of gold is still there in a lasting memory of hope. Après le déluge, the rainbow teaches us, there is the clear light of sky glory. This is why we look for the celestial prism during a sunlit rainfall and rejoice to see this lining to the clouds. The rainbow appears as well in our first reading in this First Sunday of Lent. And so this season, marked by repentance and discipline, is colorfully painted with a statement of hope in the arc of Noah’s rainbow. Lent is enclosed by this larger brilliance because divine love and mercy must form the context for any program of reform. It is because God cares about me deeply that I care enough to prepare for Him. The fear of the saint, to which I aspire, is that of disappointing the One who has invested so much in me. The nature of this investment is seen just before the end, just before the Easter rainbow, when the storm was most intense, when “the earth quaked, rocks were split, tombs were opened.” This investment is found at the start of Mark’s Gospel, just eleven verses in when Jesus was driven by the Spirit into an intense battle with Satan. So our Divine Pioneer is found at the beginning and end of Lent as a vulnerable warrior and wounded Savior. As the one who walked the storm. And as the Light of the World who is the Alpha and Omega of our journey, and will guide us through our Lenten season and the storms of life.

 

   Lord Jesus, accompany me through the desert of Lent, so that all my acts of fasting, prayer, and almsgiving are impressed with Your love, sustained by Your power, and pointed to Your glory. Amen.

Saturday after Ash Wednesday                                       February 21st
Sem.Will Powell 2nd Theology

                                                                                                                                

Before All Else

                                                                                               

“Jesus said to them in reply, ‘Those who are healthy do not need a physician, but the sick do.
I have not come to call the righteous to repentance but sinners.’” Mt 9:12

 

   It's easy to point the finger and say that the Christian life is easy for "those people." Those people could be seminarians, people in Campus Ministry, FOCUS missionaries, or your very devout grandmother. The fact remains that Jesus is not calling just them. He’s calling you too. He wants everyone, wherever they are, to take that next step closer to Him. It's a relationship. If you are in love, the conversation needs to move beyond how bad the food is in Patriot Hall or how cold it is outside. When you are in a relationship you want to really know that person and you want them to really know you. The same is true with our relationship with God. We should not go to Him only when we want something. Share with Him our hopes, our dreams, our struggles, our failures, and especially what we want from our relationship with Him. He doesn't just want those perceived "holy people." He wants us, all of us. Not just the parts we are willing to give Him, but all of us so He can heal us and draw us closer to Himself. Be in relationship with Him. He wants us wherever we are spiritually. He loves us wherever we are in your faith. But, He loves us too much to let us stay there. Don't settle for being sick or crippled. We go to Jesus so He can heal us and give us more than we could ever dream for ourselves.

 

Lord, show me how to be in a deeper relationship with You. 

Help me to experience Your love for me and to grow closer to You. Amen.

Friday after Ash Wednesday                                    February 20th                                                                                                           Pia Saldarriaga C ‘16

                                                                                              

More Than Going Through The Motions  

                                                                                             

“Can the wedding guests mourn

as long as the bridegroom is with them?” Mk 2:19

 

                 Today’s Gospel shows us how the Pharisees abided by Jewish law for so long, that they forgot the true meaning behind their fasting. They simply believed that it was a law they had to follow, and criticized Jesus for not following the written law.  As Catholics, we are tempted to fall into that same type of problem because of the many rituals in Church. We must not forget that Fridays in Lent are not just a day of sacrificing our meals. True fasting  occurs when we give up what fills us physically and turn to Christ to let Him fill us with His grace. Too often do we turn good deeds into personal goals to boost our ego or to avoid feelings of guilt. We must come outside of ourselves and not treat fasting as a mere ritual, but as a representation of our love for  Jesus Christ. Think about today’s fasting as an act of charity for a brother or sister in need. Offer it up for someone who is suffering and suffer alongside them. I guarantee that this action will make your day of fasting much more meaningful.

Lord, help me to see beyond  your commandments to find                                                                                                   the deeper  meaning behind them. Amen.

Thursday After Ash Wednesday                                    February 19th

Angela Marinelli C  ‘17

 

Will You Choose To Accept His Love?

Will You Choose To Accept His Suffering?   

                                                                                            

“Then He said to all, ‘If anyone wishes to come after Me,

 he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me.” Lk 9:23

 

   As followers of God, we are called to imitate the life and love of Jesus Christ. Jesus is kind, Jesus is compassionate, Jesus is forgiving, Jesus is perfect, and Jesus is… suffering. We can live our lives in the example of Christ: trying to be kind, compassionate, and forgiving, but we can’t disregard the pain He endured. We can not narrate the life of Jesus Christ as some sunshine happy fairytale story of an adorable baby boy who just one day rose from the dead and saves the entire world without any recognition of suffering. Because from what does He rise? Death. And how does He die? By crucifixion. I know there is no way to do that without pain and suffering. Love is sacrifice. He shows His love for you through this sacrifice. Will you choose to show your love for Him through yours?
 

   The Gospel today calls us to imitate Christ in His Passion by carrying our own crosses. Our crosses that are beautifully fashioned by the hands of God for each one of us specifically.  Maybe you think your cross is too much for you to carry, pray for humility to  accept that help. Even Jesus accepted help from Simon of Cyrene. Will you choose to accept your cross? Or maybe you think your cross isn’t big enough to be worthy of even calling it a cross; maybe you think it’s selfish to refer to it as one when you’re surrounded by so many others who are suffering much more. But we all have  different crosses, big or small, they’re all beautiful and yours is entrusted to your care by God. Will you choose to accept your cross? Or maybe your cross is watching those you love suffer and being physically unable to help them- but maybe you’ve convinced yourself that’s just the lack of a cross. But that’s not true and it is definitely a cross in itself. Will you choose to accept your cross? Mary, Our Lady of Sorrows, at the foot of the cross didn’t suffer physically by death on a cross as Jesus did, but there’s no denying that she suffered emotionally. She watched her beloved son gasp for air while He was hanging on a cross from the nails in His hands- and I’m sure she felt helpless. Find solace in unity with her suffering and pray for the grace to accept the cross entrusted to you.
 

   St. Therese of Lisieux reminds us that everyone’s cross is united to Jesus’ Passion, but are still beautifully unique to each one of us: “I realized that all souls have more or less the same battles to fight, but no two souls are exactly the same.” Jesus trusts you to carry the cross He has given you. Will you trust Him to help you carry it, by accepting it daily? 

 

Father, help me to continue to choose daily to carry my cross. Help me to remember we are all suffering together as the Body of Christ. I pray that during this Lenten season I will embrace the opportunity to help someone around me carry their cross and to also have the humility to accept that same help that may be offered to me. Amen.

Ash Wednesday                                                                February 18th  
Deacon Eric Bolek S ‘15

                                                                                                                                                  

Fasting Without Love Is Misery

                                                                                               

“When you fast, anoint your head and wash your face,

 so that you may not appear to be fasting, except to your Father

who is hidden.” Mt 6:17-18b 

 

In today’s Gospel, Jesus explains the difference between the appearance of fasting and the reality of fasting.  Jesus tells us not to give the appearance of fasting because that only wins the acclaim of men, but when you fast, it ought to be a personal thing, between you and God.  All acts between man and God are necessarily dependent upon a relationship of love.  Therefore, the reality of fasting is an act of love.  When we are able to physically deny ourselves, we become more readily unveiled so as to receive from God spiritually.  Do not passively accept God’s desire for you to fast this year.  When you fast this Lent, let it be an intense fast, one that pushes you to prayer and self-denial. When you are finally able to fast with conviction, you won’t care if anyone else knows you are fasting. 

 

Lord, help me to pray so as to be in Your presence, to give alms so I may be without so as to be with You, and to fast so as to hunger for You alone.  Lord, let me challenge myself to make this Lent more holy and fruitful.  Amen.

 

 
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