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Daily Reflections for Lent

Fifth Sunday of Lent                                                                                  March 22nd
Prof. Dana Sauers
Institute for Leadership


Grace’s Window

“Restore to me the joy of Your salvation and sustain me with a willing spirit. Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, and sinners will be converted to You.” Ps 51:12-13

Being reared in the Catholic tradition is a blessing, most especially because it is a faith that provides sacraments— the resources that keep us in the race that St. Paul references. In Psalm 51: 12-13, the poet emphatically asks God to create a clean heart for him and to renew within him a steadfast spirit. The sacrament of reconciliation is a physical and spiritual ritual that allows just that. It is God’s answer to the poet’s request. All of the baggage of our day-to-day existence can be shed so easily there. Where else can modern people go to entirely rid themselves of all sin, guilt, shame? Have you ever considered the posture of so many? Heavy weights and burdens keep their shoulders stooped, their eyes fo-cused on the ground. To be unburdened through the spiritual shower of reconciliation allows a space within you for renewal to begin. Suddenly you are looking upward. You are lighter. Consider yourself to be a window. By removing all the smudge marks left by sin, you become a translucently clear vehicle of God’s grace and joy! Pope Francis says, “And the first word that I wish to say to you: joy! Ours is of having encountered a Person: Jesus, in our midst.” When people ask me what I wish to offer most at The Mount, I respond truly by saying the most important contribution I can make is to be a daily bearer of joy.

Dear Jesus, by Your cross and resurrection You have gifted us salvation, eternally free of sin and sorrow. Allow us to eagerly seek reconciliation this Lenten season so we may more readily act as Your holy vehicle, Grace’s window, manifesting the irrepressible joy that only comes from You. Amen.

Saturday, 4th Week of Lent                                                                                  March 21st
Dan Byrne C ‘16


Courage

“Be sober and vigilant. Your opponent the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion looking for [someone] to devour.” 1 Pt 5:8

In a word filled with so much doubt and hesitation, it is easy to find ourselves confused or even fearful of the truth. With a society that is constantly questioning and trying to defame our beliefs, one will often question, “How am I to overcome these challenges of doubt?” The key to clarity is courage. In order to overcome the devil and his temptations of doubt, we must stand up and be brave. Whether that means standing up against adversity, going to confession after a long time, or even saying one last prayer before going to bed, they are all ways of being courageous. Showing courage and standing up for your beliefs is one of the best ways we can praise God the Father. So we all need to ask ourselves what exactly do we fear? What are some things that you doubt? How have fear and the devil driven us away from God?

Heavenly Father, grant me the strength to overcome any obstacles of fear or anxiety. Allow me to be more like Your Son Jesus, and to continue to grow closer to You, in spite of any obstacles. Show me the way and the truth and to be able to be courageous in the face of doubt, because without You, we lack the strength or bravery to endure.

Lord, help us be vigilant against the negativity in our lives, placed there by the devil. Amen.
 

Friday, 4th Week of Lent                                                      March 20th
Kyle Ambrose
FOCUS Missionary


God's Plan For Us

"No one laid a hand upon Him, because His hour had not yet come." Jn 7:30

From before the creation of the world, God has a unique plan for all our lives, down to the very timing of everything that happens to us. Many times throughout the Gospels, we hear of certain things either happening or not happening to Jesus because "His hour had not yet come." (Jn 7:30) And so it is the same for us. We should rest assured that, no matter the situation in which we find ourselves, be it suffering or comfort, sickness or health, richness or poverty, God's loving Hand is actively involved in all that we experience in life. The Catechism teaches that "God...freely created man to make him share in His own blessed life." (CCC 1) Will God ever allow us to face a situation that cannot be used by us towards this end of eternity with our Lord? Will we ever be abandoned by our Creator and Father? The answer to both of these questions is a resounding "No!" "The Lord is close to the brokenhearted," (Ps 34:19) and "The Lord is the redeemer of the souls of His servants." (Ps 24:23) The Father knows what will best profit the souls of His children for salvation.

Father, You know what is best for my soul and for my salvation. Give me the grace to see Your loving Hand in all that I face in life, and to abandon myself to Your Will in all that I do. Amen.

Thursday, 4th Week of Lent                                                  March 19th
Solemnity of St. Joseph                                                       
Dr. Christine Blackshaw
Professor of Foreign Languages


Taking God At His Word

“When Joseph woke up he did what the angel of the Lord had told him to do:
he took his wife to his home.” Mt 16:24


Would we fault Joseph if he had waited a few days, or if he had needed another sign, before believing that his virgin bride was pregnant with a child conceived by the Holy Spirit? Probably not.

However, Scripture tells us that Joseph did not request another sign, nor did he delay his obedience. Rather, “When Joseph woke up he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took his wife into his home.” (Mt 1:24)

We should not understate the immensity of Joseph’s leap of faith. Mary was graced with a certainty about her mission: she was carrying the child, she felt Him growing inside her, and she knew she had not conceived the child with a man. Joseph, by contrast, had no such certainty. There was no DNA test to prove that the Holy Spirit was the father. There was no way for Mary to prove she was not lying. What Mary told him, what the angel told him, defied the laws of nature. It was entirely unbelievable. Despite this, Joseph believed the angel; he trusted God at His word, and did not delay in obeying Him. Are we always so trusting and obedient when God communicates with us?

Father, build in our hearts the grace to trust and obey You as Joseph did. Saint Joseph, pray for our hearts to be open to God’s word in our lives. Amen.

Wednesday, 4th Week of Lent                                                    March 18th
Joseph Morton C ‘17


Trust in Your Creator Who Loves You

Can a mother forget her infant, be without tenderness for the child of her womb?
Even should she forget, I will never forget you. Is 49:15


Can you remember a time when one of your best friends let you down from a favor you asked from them? You know you felt disappointed and unloved but with God there is not a time where He will forget about you. That is the best aspect of our relationship with God. We are never alone. Even though your friends might be busy with all of their work and extra- curricular activities on campus, God will send signs that you are loved and your life has a meaning. Everybody's life has meaning even if one lives on the streets or has one arm; as God's children we should respect all personalities and appearances. Even though we should accept everyone, all humans make mistakes, so the only one you can believe in is God. Our faith in God can be converted into happiness if we know that God has our back. As we get closer to the end of this Lenten season, let us all grow in our relationship with God and learn to put all our trust in Him for the rest of our lives!

Lord, give us faith to trust in You, and to rely on You for guidance in our lives. Help us to remember how much You love us, and how we can put our complete trust in You. Amen
 

Tuesday, 4th Week of Lent                                                   March 17th
Christina Siebertz C ‘15


God is Our Foundation

“Thus we do not fear, though earth be shaken and mountains quake to the depths of the sea.” Ps 46:3

No matter what is happening in our lives, we need a solid, unchanging foundation that we can rely on when circumstances become overwhelming. When hopes, dreams, and relationships are crumbling, we need something unbreakable. When a storm overtakes our soul and leaves us helpless and with no control, we need to trust one who can navigate the treacherous winds. The only one strong enough to protect us and clear the destruction from our path is the Lord. When trials come, know that God is close to us and do not be afraid because He is always in control.

Dear Lord, reveal Your presence to me in small ways during times of suffering, trials, and uncertainties. Help me to trust in Your guiding light when hope seems lost and the future seems unclear. Amen.

Monday, 4th Week of Lent                                               March 16th
Stephanie Townsend C ‘15


Praise In All Times

“Sing praises to the Lord, O you His saints, and give thanks to His holy name. For His anger is but for a moment, and His favor is for a lifetime.” Ps 30:4-5

Throughout life there have been, and will be, plenty of times in which one may fall to their knees asking for God’s help and simply thanking Him once we have gotten through the hardship. I have been in that position countless times. However, God deserves much more than a simple thank you once in a while. He loves each and every one of us through the good, bad, and ugly, and He continues to consistently see the beauty in all. Our Lord is just, but He is also our loving Father. He deserves and yearns for our love just as He loves us. Rather than only giving thanks during the good times and asking for help during the bad, we should strive to praise God in awe of all He has blessed us with.

Oh Heavenly Father, thank You for each blessing You have granted me. Thank You even more for the love You have for me. The love and awe I have for You fills my heart, though I know that is little compared to You. Please guide me in praising You, admiring You, and loving You more each day. Amen.
 

Fourth Sunday of Lent                                                          March 15th
Dr. John Larrivee
Professor of Economics


Our All-Loving God

“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son that whosoever shall believe in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.” Jn 3:16

The Book of Chronicles relates the Babylonian destruction of Judah. After having been warned “early and often” by God through His prophets, “all the princes of Judah, the priests and the people added infidelity to infidelity” and, in so doing, removed themselves from God’s protection. The conquerors took the Jews away to Babylon. Like the prodigal son, who learned how good his life was with his father was only after rejecting that faithful life, the seventy years in Babylon were a time of purification. Psalm 137 poignantly recounts how they remembered that life, unwilling to rejoice any longer now that they realized what they had lost. But what will they remember when they return?

Surely, they must remember their sins cost them the Promised Land. That recognition—hating their sins—is critical, but not the ultimate point of such recollection. As Paul writes, we should recognize how we all have sinned, but that God loves us despite our sinfulness. After all, “God did not come into the world to condemn the world, but to save it” (Jn 3:17). And this is not simply for others, or some general “humanity.” It applies to me, specifically.

God did not come into the world to condemn me, but to save me. I needed to be saved. Christ needed to die for me. For “Christ proves His love for us in that, while we were still sinners, He died for us.” (Romans 5:8). Awareness of my sins is essential to appreciating how much God loves me no matter my sins. Not for any works I have done, whatever the good. Despite any sin I have done, whatever the bad. In that recognition, I no longer focus on celebrating or condemning myself, but honoring and adoring God. The product of reflection on my sins should not beself-condemnation, but deeper appreciation of God for how He can love me, despite my sins.

Lord, help me see and hate my sins. Help me strive vigorously to overcome them with God’s grace. But I should not simply ignore or forget them. Rather, draw from my understanding of them a deeper love of God. Amen.

Saturday, 3rd Week of Lent                                                                   March 14th
Clare Tauriello Dir. of Career Center


The Sun And Our Lord

“For I desire mercy, not sacrifice and acknowledgement of God
rather than burnt offerings.” Hos 6:3


God’s mercy reminds us to be humble and kind to others. To remember that He will save us “as surely as the sun rises, He will appear.” The sun rises each day with such clarity, determination and dependability. It is unconditional in its warmth and light. This is our Lord. He’s always there, if we just look around us. We just have to stop during our busy day to reflect and to appreciate God’s warmth and light.

In our society, sacrifice is not revered or talked about. In this season of Lent, sacrifice can be doing something for others before yourself, daily prayer, or reconciliation. Sacrifice can also mean giving something up for Lent. In turn, our sacrifice during Lent can help us to be merciful to others.

Let us pray we can be merciful and sacrifice in accordance with God’s will. Amen.
 

Friday, 3rd Week of Lent                                                                 March 13th
John Bilenki C ‘17


Where Is My Heart?

“Assyria will not save us, nor shall we have horses to mount; We shall say no more. ‘Our God,’ to the work of our hands; for in You the orphan finds compassion.” Hos 14:4

“The Lord our God is Lord alone! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength… You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” Mk 12:28-34

In the first reading today, God’s chosen ones admit their faults to the Lord. We live by the same fallen nature as those in the story, depending on the “horses” in our lives and glorifying the “work of our hands.” Our human failings in our relationship with our God can be found in every aspect of daily life. A few examples of our idols as young men and women include, but are not limited to the following: 1) our dependence on Yahoo Answers and Google Translate to lighten the workload that inherently comes with our calling to be students— that is to bear the cross that is the challenge of study and homework in our vocation as students! 2) our slight (or perhaps considerable) addiction to our smartphones and social media, allowing them to intrude on conversation, class, walking around campus, and even taking them to bed with us— we should receive, acknowledge, and glorify God in these times! 3) Our attachment to family, friends, and role models—we intrude and interfere in their lives. Remember that they are God’s first before yours or anyone else’s! How we live out the minutest details of our lives is of high significance! These are just a few things, but reflecting upon them should lead us to spiritual improvement, a desire to better serve God in all that we do throughout our lives.

Jesus’ words documented in Mark’s Gospel are a good reality check for us in our Lenten journey with Christ to Calvary. Look inside your relationship with God and ask, “Where is myheart?” We ought to unite our every word, action, interaction, and relationship—our whole being—to the Cross for the glory of His death and resurrection. He is our Lord and our God whom we should love with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength! We ought to make our desires and struggles, successes and failures, joy and sadness known to Jesus. Christ is walking with us, entering into our suffering and helping us to carry our respective cross. Let us place our trust in His infinite mercy and love for us, knowing that even if we were the only one on this earth, He would still endure His Passion and death for us. As in Hosea, we are called to return to God in grace so that we are able to purely receive all which He burns to reveal to us.
It will follow naturally that we will love our neighbor when we are giving of ourselves to God. We are part of a story bigger than ourselves, companions on a journey. Trying our best to love God, we try our best to live according to His plan for our lives, according to His unpredictable, meticulous timing. Love for Him will enable us to live His word, profess it, bear witness to it confidently, and spread it. We are meant to make saints of one another, to bring each other closer to Heaven. Living our call to love and service of one another as the children of God will bring about the Kingdom of Heaven attained through the power of the Cross which unites us all.

Lord God, thank You for Your Son’s death on a cross for us. Help us to surrender ourselves to You and to see You in all aspects of life. We bring You the desires of our hearts; purify them solely for You and what You will of us in our lives. Give us grace to bring each other closer to You. Give us strength and courage to walk with one another, united with Christ’s suffering on Calvary Hill. Amen.

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