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Daily Reflections for Lent

Monday, 3rd Week of Lent                                                      March 9th

Devin McCarthy C ‘16

 

Even The Strongest Need Humility   

                                                                                               

“If the prophet had commanded you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? How much rather than when He says to you, ‘wash and be clean.’” 2Kg 5:13 

 

During the Lenten season, we give up material things; however, we need to further challenge ourselves within our faith lives and give up something that is not physical.  This thing we carry around with us every day, it is our pride. To let go of this deadly sin we must humbly open our hearts to the Lord and allow Him to do His will with us. To bring humility into our hearts is what today’s readings are calling us toward. In the reading from Second Kings, Naaman was reluctant to make himself vulnerable to the healing works of the Lord.  Who wouldn’t be, though? Naaman was a man afflicted with leprosy, but he did not let that stop him from being a respected military leader.  Imagine yourself in a position of leadership and ill with a debilitating disease.  You would have to maintain a figure of strength, in a time of personal deterioration.  My grandfather is a current example of this. He was diagnosed with cancer over a year ago.  As the patriarch of the family, he had to maintain an exterior of strength while his body was fighting against him. Because he is a man of faith, he humbled himself to the Lord’s plans.  He sought help from his family members and received a cushion as he began to undergo his fight with cancer.  It is truly a blessing that he is still alive, and he recognized that he could not do anything with God. We must allow the Lord to enter us so we may become vessels to His will.

 

Lord grant me the humility to recognize that I can do nothing without You. My thoughts, my words, my actions all are through You. Amen.

 

3rd Sunday of Lent                                                               March 8th

Dr. Angela Mucci                                      

Asst. Professor of Education

                                                    

 I Am Yours      

                                                                        

“For I, the Lord, your God, am a jealous God.”  Ex 20:5  

                                                                                               

Oh, how the Lord longs to draw us closer to Him. He waits and waits for us to enter into an intimate relationship with Him where we rejoice that “the law of the Lord is perfect.” (Ps 19:8). This allows us to obtain the graces to do His Holy will while refreshing our souls to lead us closer to Him. Oh, may this divine intimacy with Him be bestowed upon those who follow His precepts and rejoice in humble obedience to His commands.

 

To enter into this intimate relationship with You, I must surrender all that I am and seek You in mind, body, and spirit. I must dismiss all that is not of You and seek that which is of You. In obedience to Your commands, I learn how to become weak, and my love for You, dear Lord, deepens. I must understand that “the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.” (1 Cor. 1:25)Therefore, I must seek You with a childlike spirit, open to Your divine grace, mercy, and love. How You rejoice in little ones who seek You! It is in this weakness, You lead me to the desert where You seek to make me strong. There, I find the sweetness of obedience to Your commands where You strengthen me. In this, You draw me closer in order to school me in Your ways. Once I have learned Your ways, they are all I seek—“more desirable than gold, than a hoard of purest gold, sweeter also than honey or drippings from the comb” (Ps 19:11)—as they draw me closer and closer to You, my beloved. Once I have drawn to You, my beloved, may I never be separated from You; for I am Yours.

 

During this Lenten season, may we take the opportunity to enter into the desert of our souls to seek Him more intimately; He who longs to unite Himself to us. May we be open to His graces and rejoice in His precepts. In joyful obedience, may we fulfill that which the Lord, individually, asks of us. Thank you, Mary, from whom the fruit of obedience unites  us to Your son. Amen.

Saturday, 2nd Week of Lent                                                    March 7th

Alyse Spiehler C ‘17

 

Forgiven, Not Forgotten   

                                                                                               

“Who is there like You, the God who removes guilt and pardons sin.” Mi 7:18

 

It’s not hard to find the common thread that runs through today’s readings. Just in case you haven’t caught it, the responsorial Psalm’s refrain gives it away: “The Lord is kind and merciful.” (Ps 103:8) Each reading highlights God’s forgiveness toward his children, that is, toward each of us. He doesn’t “kind of” forgive us, He casts all of our sins into the “depths of the sea”; He tears them as far from us as the “east is from the west.” (Mi 7:19, Ps 103:12)  Just as God loves us unconditionally, He forgives us in equal measure. The parable in the Gospel today also exemplifies this unending mercy in one of Christ’s best known stories, that of the prodigal son.

 

The story in Luke’s Gospel has the rebellious-young-man feel that plenty of contemporary films speak to— think Disney                      channel movie set in first century Holy Land. This well-known story puts into words the incredible love that God the Father has for all of His children, whether they be the prodigal son, or the obedient yet selfish “perfect child.” Even if we go and squander each and every one of the gifts God has given us, dishonor His name by our bad actions, and take up a filthy job to cover up our past, He will be lovingly waiting for us to return. The father sees his son from “a long way off,” as he was waiting for him to return (Lk 15:20). Instead of saying “forget you,” as his son rightly deserved, he remembers him and loves him. Nothing can separate us from the love of God, and nothing is too big to be  forgiven. During this time in Lent, we are asked to look at our own lives so that we can be conformed to the will of God. It is important, though, that even when we find some areas in great need of repair, we remember God’s unending mercy. God’s word from today helps us to do just that.

 

Lord, help me to know and to accept Your forgiveness no matter what I’ve done in the past. Help me to move into the future with the knowledge of Your mercy always with me. Amen.

Friday, 2nd Week of Lent                                                         March 6th

Kattie Sanchez C ‘17

Journey Of Jealousy 

                                                                                                 

“They saw him afar off, and before he came near to them they conspired against him to kill him.” Gn 37:18

 

Joseph, son of Jacob, was adored by his father more than any of his other children because Joseph was born to him in his old age. One day Jacob showered his son with a beautiful colored coat. Joseph’s brothers instantly saw the coat and became jealous, because it signified that Joseph was his father’s favorite son. Enraged with jealousy, Joseph’s brothers quickly devised a plan to kill him. When one of Joseph’s older brothers Reuben heard the scheme, he came to his brother’s rescue, “Shed no blood; cast him into this pit here in the wilderness, but lay no hand upon him,”(Gn 37:22) in hopes to return him to his father afterwards.

 

To be jealous is to envy or desire the achievements or advantages of another. When we become jealous, it indicates that we are not truly satisfied with what God has blessed us with or given us. The Bible explains that we are to be content with what our heavenly Father has given us, for He will always provide and never forsake us. 

 

Heavenly Father, we pray You open our hearts to allow the Holy Spirit to guide us. Help us to become more like Jesus and less like ourselves, as we learn to serve others. Let us not be controlled by our own desires, but instead driven by Your will. In Jesus’s name we pray, Amen

Tuesday, 2nd Week of Lent                                                              March 3rd

Alexandra Johnson C ‘18


   Willingly And With Humility

 

“Though your sins be like scarlet, they may become white as snow.” Is 1:18

 

   We are blessed to have the sacrament of Reconciliation so that we can be forgiven of our sins, but it is not a get-out-of-jail free card. Just because we know that God will forgive us does not mean we can do whatever we want. We cannot use Confession as a means of rationalizing our sins. “Well, this is technically a sin, but I can just go to Confession after and be forgiven.” False. We must never presume God’s forgiveness. God is calling us to a life free from sin. Now, God knows that we are not perfect and that sometimes we are going to make mistakes and sin. Even as we strive for excellence, we will stumble and fall, but that is the purpose of Confession. It exists so that we can be truly sorry and forgiven of our sins, not as an excuse to do as we please. If we continually reject God’s grace and choose evil, then sin will consume us, but if we strive for holiness and virtue then God will bless us with an abundance of grace.

 

   How many times have we done charitable work with impure intentions? How often have we cared more about how we will profit or gain from something, rather than how we could help others? In the Gospel, we hear about how the scribes and the Pharisees only performed good works for the sake of their reputation. Jesus said, “All their works are performed to be seen.” The Pharisees “preached but they did not practice.” Words are empty and meaningless without actions. There is a difference  between taking pity on the poor and actually going out and aiding them first hand. We must become God’s humble servants. It reminds me of a quote attributed to Saint Francis of Assisi, “Preach the Gospel at all times and when necessary use words.” We must choose to radiate Christ through our behavior and perform good works so that others may profit, not ourselves.

 

   St. Augustine of Hippo said, “The confession of evil works is the first beginning of good works.” Lord, please give us the courage to confess our sins and the grace to go out into the world to do charitable work with pure intentions. Amen.

Monday, 2nd Week of Lent                                                                        March 2nd

Timothy Guest C ‘18
 

God’s Measuring Stick

                                                                                                  

“Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not and you will not be condemned .” Lk 6:37

 

                 It is all too easy to judge a person based simply on the fact that they are different from yourself. Many times people make  assumptions about a person based on skin color, how they dress, or by what group they associate with. Moving past someone’s  differences can be difficult, but imagine how hard it would be to get to heaven if God did the same thing. To God, we are all sinners, how could we possibly deserve the sacrifice Jesus has made for us? But God does not measure his children by how perfect they are. He instead chooses to judge our character by how we treat others, and He will treat us in an equal fashion. With this fact in mind, perhaps it will be much easier for us to look past a person’s outer appearance; after all, we are all sinners, and none of us is perfect.

 

   Lord give me Your eyes, that I may see what You see in others. Amen.

2nd Sunday of Lent                                                                        March 1st

Dr. David McCarthy
Professor of Theology

Down From The Misty Mountain  

                                                                                                

“Then a cloud came, casting a shadow over them; from the cloud came a voice, ‘This is my beloved Son. Listen to Him’.” Mk 9:7

 

  The Gospel reading for today recounts Jesus’ Transfiguration. The events are told from the point of view of  Peter, James, and John. They see Jesus transfigured, clothed in “dazzling white,” and talking with Moses and Elijah. The voice of God – coming from a cloud – brings the events to a climax. “This is my Son. Listen to Him.” (Mk 9:7)

 

   The Transfiguration (Mk 9:2-8) occurs between Jesus’ first and second predictions of His Passion. After Jesus first speaks of his way to the cross, Peter has the nerve to rebuke Jesus (Mk 8:32). After the second time, the disciples start to argue about who was the greatest (Mk 9:33-37). Obviously, they are   unwilling or just unable to understand the pathway of God’s self-giving love on the cross. In this context, the command, “Listen to Him,” carries a particular force. It confirms Jesus’ own words about His  mission of service and suffering, of redemption and reconciliation for the world.

 

   No wonder we hear the good word of the Transfiguration on the Second Sunday of Lent, “This is my Son. Listen to Him.”  In the Transfiguration, Jesus appears in His glory, but the experience points us to the more surprising glory given to us through the cross. The Transfiguration also reminds us that the way of the cross is difficult to accept. Like Peter, we are likely to want to set up some tents and stay right there on the misty mountain. But the experience of the Transfiguration is a moment on the way to Jerusalem, to Cavalry and the cross. This way to Jerusalem is the pathway of Lent. It gives us days to come down from the misty mountain, so that we can learn of the full glory of God.

 

   Let us pray, this Lent, that we might be able to hear God speaking to us

in ways we do not expect. Amen.

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.

 
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