The Abiding Presence of God March 31, 2020


Tuesday of the Fifth Week of Lent
Readings for Today

“The one who sent me is with me. He has not left me alone.”  John 8:29

Most young children, if left at home all alone, would react with fear. They need to know that their parents are around. The idea of being somewhere all by themselves is frightening. It would be just as frightening for a child to get lost in a store or another public place. They need the security that comes with a parent being near.

The same is true in the spiritual life. Interiorly, if we sense we are all alone we may react with fear. To feel as though there is an interior abandonment from God is a frightening thought. But on the contrary, when we sense that God is very present and alive within us, we are greatly strengthened to face life with courage and joy.

This was Jesus’ experience in the passage above in which He speaks much about His relationship with the Father. The Father is the One who sent Jesus into the world for His mission and Jesus acknowledges that the Father will not leave Him alone.  Jesus says this, knows it and experiences the blessing of that relationship in His human and divine Heart.

The same can be said of each one of us. First, we must come to realize that the Father has sent us. We each have a mission in life. Do you realize that? Do you realize that you have a very specific mission and calling from God? Yes, it may entail very ordinary parts of life such as chores around the house, the daily grind of work, the building up of your family relationships, etc. Our daily lives are filled with ordinary activities that make up the will of God.

It may be possible that you are already fully immersed in the will of God for your life.  But it is also possible that God wants more from you.  He has a plan for you and it’s a mission that He has not entrusted to another. It may require that you step out in faith, be courageous, move out of your comfort zone, or face some fear. But whatever the case may be, God has a mission for you.

The comforting news is that God does not just send us, He also remains with us. He has not left us alone to fulfill the mission He has entrusted to us. He has promised His continued help in a very central way.

Reflect, today, about the mission that Jesus was given: the mission to give His life in a sacrificial way. Also reflect upon how God wants you to live out this same mission with Christ of sacrificial love and self-giving. You may already be living it wholeheartedly, or you may need some new direction.  Say “Yes” to it with courage and confidence and God will walk with you every step of the way.

Lord, I say “Yes” to the perfect plan you have for my life. Whatever it may be I accept without hesitation, dear Lord.  I know that You are always with me and that I am never alone. Jesus, I trust in You.

40 Days at the Foot of the Cross – Reflection Thirty-Four – “I Thirst”

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Image: Luca Rossetti da Orta, The Holy Trinity’, fresco, 1738-9, St. Gaudenzio Church at Ivrea (Torino)

The Wisdom that Comes with Age March 30, 2020

Monday of the Fifth Week of Lent (Year A)
(Note: Since John 11:1-45 from Year A was used yesterday on the Fifth Sunday of Lent, John 8:1-11 from Year C of the Fifth Sunday of Lent is used today.)

Readings for Today

“Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.”  Again he bent down and wrote on the ground.  And in response, they went away one by one, beginning with the elders.  John 8:7–9

This passage comes from the story of the woman caught in adultery when she is dragged before Jesus to see if He would support her stoning.  His response is perfect and, in the end, she is left alone to encounter the tender mercy of Jesus.

But there is a line in this passage that is easily overlooked.  It is the line that states, “…beginning with the elders.”  This reveals an interesting dynamic within human communities.  Generally speaking, those who are younger tend to lack the wisdom and experience that comes with age.  Though the young may find it hard to admit, those who have lived a long life have a unique and broad picture of life.  This enables them to be far more prudent in their decisions and judgments, especially when it comes to the more intense situations in life.

In this story, the woman is brought before Jesus with a harsh judgment.  Emotions are high and these emotions clearly cloud the rational thinking of those who are ready to stone her.  Jesus cuts through this irrationality by a profound statement.  “Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.”  Perhaps, at first, those who were younger or more emotional did not allow the words of Jesus to sink in.  They probably stood there with stones in hand waiting to start throwing.  But then the elders began to walk away.  This is age and wisdom at work.  They were less controlled by the emotion of the situation and were immediately aware of the wisdom of the words spoken by our Lord.  As a result, the others followed.

Reflect, today, upon the wisdom that comes with age.  If you are older, reflect upon your responsibility to help guide the younger generation with clarity, firmness and love.  If you are younger, do not neglect to rely upon the wisdom of the older generation.  Though age is not a perfect guarantee of wisdom, it may be a far more significant factor than you realize.  Be open to your elders, show them respect, and learn from the experiences they have had in life.

Prayer for the young: Lord, give me a true respect for my elders.  I thank you for their wisdom stemming from the many experiences they have had in life.  May I be open to their counsel and be guided by their gentle hand.  Jesus, I trust in You.

Prayer for the elder: Lord, I thank You for my life and for the many experiences I have had.  I thank You for teaching me through my hardships and struggles, and I thank You for the joys and loves that I have encountered in life.  Continue to pour forth Your wisdom upon me so that I may help guide Your children.  May I always seek to set a good example and lead them according to Your Heart.  Jesus, I trust in You.

40 Days at the Foot of the Cross – Reflection Thirty-Three – “My God, My God, Why Have You Forsaken Me?”

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Image: Brooklyn Museum – The Adulterous Woman-Christ Writing upon the Ground, James Tissot

Let us Go and Die With Him March 29, 2020

The Fifth Sunday of Lent (Year A)
Readings for Today

So Thomas, called Didymus, said to his fellow disciples, “Let us also go to die with him.”  John 11:16

What a great line!  The context is important to understand.  Thomas said this after Jesus told His Apostles that He was going up to Jerusalem because Lazarus, His friend, was ill and close to death.  In fact, as the story unfolds, Lazarus actually did die before Jesus arrived at his house.  Of course, we know the end of the story that Lazarus was raised up by Jesus.  But the Apostles tried to keep Jesus from going to Jerusalem because they knew there were many who had been quite hostile toward Him and wanted to kill Him.  But Jesus decided to go anyway.  It was in this context that St. Thomas said to the others, “Let us also go and die with him.”  Again, what a great line!

It’s a great line because Thomas appeared to say this with a certain resolve to accept whatever was waiting for them in Jerusalem.  He appeared to know that Jesus was going to be met with resistance and persecution.  And he also appeared to be ready to face that persecution and death with Jesus.

Of course Thomas is well known to be the doubter.  After Jesus’ death and Resurrection he refused to accept that the other Apostles actually saw Jesus.  But even though he is well known for his act of doubting, we should not miss the courage and resolve he had in that moment.  At that moment, he was willing to go with Jesus to face His persecution and death.  And he was even willing to face death himself.  Even though he ultimately fled when Jesus was arrested, it’s believed that he eventually went as a missionary to India where he did ultimately suffer martyrdom.

This passage should help us to reflect upon our own willingness to go forth with Jesus to face any persecution that may await us.  Being a Christian requires courage.  We will be different than others.  We will not fit in with the culture around us.  And when we refuse to conform to the day and age we live in, we will most likely suffer some form of persecution as a result.  Are you ready for that?  Are you willing to endure this?

We also must learn from St. Thomas that, even if we do fail, we can start again.  Thomas was willing, but then he fled at the sight of persecution.  He ended up doubting, but in the end he courageously lived out his conviction to go and die with Jesus.  It’s not so much how many times we fail; rather, it’s how we finish the race.

Reflect, today, upon the resolve in the heart of St. Thomas and use it as a meditation upon your own resolve.  Do not worry if you fail in this resolve, you can always get up and try again.  Reflect also upon the final resolution St. Thomas made when he did die a martyr.  Make the choice to follow his example and you, too, will be counted among the saints of Heaven.

Lord, I desire to follow You wherever You lead.  Give me a firm resolve to walk in Your ways and to imitate the courage of St. Thomas.  When I fail, help me to get back up and resolve again.  I love You, dear Lord, help me to love You with my life.  Jesus, I trust in You.

40 Days at the Foot of the Cross – Reflection Thirty-Two – “Woman, Behold Your Son…Behold Your Mother”

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Image: Rubens – The Raising of the Cross

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In Awe of Jesus March 28, 2020

Saturday of the Fourth Week of Lent
Readings for Today

The guards answered, “Never before has anyone spoken like this man.”  John 7:46

The guards and many others were in awe of Jesus, amazed at the words He spoke.  These guards were sent to arrest Jesus at the order of the chief priests and Pharisees, but the guards couldn’t bring themselves to arrest Him.  They were rendered powerless in the face of the “awe factor” Jesus enjoyed.

When Jesus taught, there was something communicated beyond His words.  Yes, His words were powerful and transforming, but it was also the way in which He spoke.  It was hard to explain but it’s clear that, when He spoke, He also communicated a power, a calm, a conviction, and a presence.  He communicated His Divine Presence and it was unmistakable.  People just knew this man Jesus was different than all the rest and they hung on His every word.

God still communicates to us this way.  Jesus still speaks to us with this “awe factor.”  We simply need to be attentive to it.  We should strive to be attentive to the ways that God speaks in a clear and convincing way, with authority, clarity and conviction.  It may be something someone says, or it may be an action of another that touches us.  It may be a book we read, or a sermon we listen to.  Whatever the case may be, we should look for this awe factor because it is there we will find Jesus Himself.

Interestingly, this awe factor also invited extreme criticism.  Those with a simple and honest faith responded well, but those who were self-centered and self-righteous responded with condemnation and anger.  They were clearly jealous.  They even criticized the guards and others who were impressed by Jesus.

Reflect, today, upon the ways that God has left you in awe of His message and His love.  Seek out His voice of conviction and clarity.  Tune into the way God is trying to communicate and pay no attention to the ridicule and criticism you may experience when you do seek to follow His Voice.  His Voice must win out and draw you in so that you can savor everything He wishes to say.

Lord, may I be attentive to Your unmistakable Voice and to the authority with which You speak.  May I be amazed at all You wish to say.  And as I listen to You, dear Lord, give me the courage to respond with faith regardless of the reaction of others.  I love You, dear Lord, and desire to be transfixed upon Your every Word, listening with wonder and awe.  Jesus, I trust in You.

40 Days at the Foot of the Cross – Reflection Thirty-One – “Today You Will be With Me in Paradise”

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Image: Brooklyn Museum – The Pharisees and the Herodians Conspire Against Jesus, James Tisso

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The Temptation with Familiarity March 27, 2020

Friday of the Fourth Week of Lent
Readings for Today

Jesus cried out in the temple area as he was teaching and said, “You know me and also know where I am from.  Yet I did not come on my own, but the one who sent me, whom you do not know, is true.”  John 7:28

Sometimes the more familiar we are with someone the harder it is to actually see their goodness and the presence of God in their lives.  Often, we are tempted to look at them and presume we “know all about them.”  As a result, what we can often do is simply highlight their faults and weaknesses in our minds and see them only through the lens of these faults and weaknesses.

This is what happened with Jesus.  When Jesus went up to the Jewish Feast of Tabernacles, there were some there who knew Him.  They probably knew Him as this ordinary son of a carpenter.  Perhaps they were even from His home town.  As a result of this familiarity with Jesus they immediately doubted He could be the Messiah.  But they were, of course, very mistaken.

This presents a great lesson for us.  It’s the lesson of being judgmental and overly critical of others we know well.  The more we know about someone the more we will be aware of their faults and weaknesses.  And if we are not careful, we will focus in on those qualities rather than on the good qualities God wants us to see.

This is what happened with Jesus.  No, He did not have any actual bad qualities.  He was perfect.  But there were most likely many parts of His life that invited the false judgment and criticism of others.  His self-confidence, the authority He manifested in His teaching, the extraordinary compassion He had toward sinners, etc., were all exceptional qualities that some could not understand.  And, as a result, they chose to be critical.  “We know where He is from,” they said.  In other words, they did not think that someone they knew could be filled with greatness.

What do you think about those around you?  What do you think about those closest to you?  Are you able to see beyond any apparent weakness they have and see the hand of God at work?  Are you able to see beyond the surface and see the value and dignity of their lives?  When you can see the goodness of others, point it out, and be grateful for it, you will actually be seeing and loving the manifest goodness of God.  God is alive and active in every soul around you.  It is your responsibility to see that goodness and love it.  This takes true humility on your part but, in the end, it’s a way of loving God in your midst.

Reflect, today, upon how you look at those who are closest to you and spend some time trying to ponder the ways that God is alive in their lives.  If you do this, you will be loving God in your very midst.

Lord, I do love You.  Help me to see and love You in others.  And help me to shed any temptation I have toward being judgmental and humbly be drawn into the goodness of all Your sons and daughters.  I love You, dear Lord, may I also love You in others.  Jesus, I trust in You.

40 Days at the Foot of the Cross – Reflection Thirty – “Father, Forgive Them, For They Know Not What They Do”

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Image: Jesus Among the Doctors, Paolo Verones

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God Becomes Man—Nine Months Before Christmas Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Solemnity of the Annunciation

Readings for Today

Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father, and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of his Kingdom there will be no end.”  Luke 1:30–33

Happy Solemnity!  We celebrate today one of the most glorious feast days of the year.  Today is nine months before Christmas and is the day we celebrate the fact that God the Son took on our human nature in the womb of the Blessed Virgin.  It’s the celebration of the Incarnation of our Lord.

There are many things to celebrate today and many things for which we should be eternally grateful.  First and foremost we celebrate the profound fact that God loves us so much that He became one of us.  The fact that God took on our human nature is worthy of unlimited rejoicing and celebration!  If we only understood what this meant.  If we could only understand the effects of this incredible event in history.  The fact that God became a human being in the womb of the Blessed Virgin is a gift beyond our comprehension.  It’s a gift that elevates humanity to the realm of the divine.  God and man are united in this glorious event and we should be forever grateful.

We also see in this event the glorious act of perfect submission to the will of God.  We see this in the Blessed Mother herself.  It’s interesting to note that our Blessed Mother was told that “you will conceive in your womb and bear a son…”  She wasn’t asked by the angel if she was willing, rather, she was told what was to happen.  Why is that the case?

It happened this way because the Blessed Virgin said yes to God throughout her life.  Never was there a moment that she said no to God.  Therefore, her perpetual yes to God enabled the angel Gabriel to tell her that she “will conceive.”  In other words, the angel was able to tell her what she had already said yes to in her life.

What a glorious example this is.  Our Blessed Mother’s “Yes” is an incredible witness to us.  We are called to daily say yes to God.  And we are called to say yes to Him even before we know what He asks of us.  This solemnity affords us the opportunity to once again say “Yes” to the will of God.  No matter what He is asking of you, the right answer is “Yes.”

Reflect, today, upon your own invitation from God to say “Yes” to Him in all things.  You, like our Blessed Mother, are invited to bring our Lord into the world.  Not in the literal way she did, but you are called to be an instrument of His continual Incarnation in our world.  Reflect upon how fully you answer this call and get on your knees today and say “Yes” to the plan our Lord has for your life.

Lord, the answer is “Yes!”  Yes, I choose your divine will.  Yes, You may do with me whatever You will.  May my “Yes” be as pure and holy as our Blessed Mother’s.  Let it be done to me according to Your will.  Jesus, I trust in You.

40 Days at the Foot of the Cross – Reflection Twenty-Eight – His Hands and Feet

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Image: The Annunciation, Carl Heinrich Bloc

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Paralyzed by Sin March 24, 2020

March 24, 2020
Tuesday of the Fourth Week of Lent
Readings for Today

Jesus said to him, “Rise, take up your mat, and walk.”  Immediately the man became well, took up his mat, and walked.  John 5:8–9

Let’s look at one of the clear symbolic meanings of this passage above.  The man Jesus healed was paralyzed, being unable to walk and take care of himself.  Others neglected him as he sat there by the pool, hoping for kindness and attention.  Jesus sees him and gives him His full attention.  After a short dialogue, Jesus cures him and tells him to rise and walk.

One clear symbolic message is that his physical paralysis is an image of the result of sin in our lives.  When we sin we “paralyze” ourselves.  Sin has grave consequences on our lives and the clearest consequence is that we are left unable to rise and then walk in the ways of God.  Grave sin, especially, renders us powerless to love and live in true freedom.  It leaves us trapped and unable to care for our own spiritual lives or for others in any way.  It’s important to see the consequences of sin.  Even minor sins hinder our abilities, strip us of energy, and leave us spiritually crippled to one extent or another.

Hopefully you know this and it is not a new revelation to you.  But what must be new to you is the honest admission of your current guilt.  You must see yourself in this story.  Jesus did not heal this man only for the good of this one man.  He healed him, in part, to tell you that He sees you in your broken state as you experience the consequences of your sin.  He sees you in need, looks at you and calls you to rise and walk.  Do not underestimate the importance of allowing Him to perform a healing in your life.  Do not neglect to identify even the smallest sin which imposes its consequences upon you.  Look at your sin, allow Jesus to see it, and listen to Him speak words of healing and freedom.

Reflect, today, upon this powerful encounter this crippled man had with Jesus.  Put yourself into the scene and know that this healing is also done for you.  If you have not done so already this Lent, go to Confession and discover Jesus’ healing in that Sacrament.  Confession is the answer to the freedom that awaits you, especially when it is entered into honestly and thoroughly.

Lord, please forgive me for my sins.  I desire to see them and to acknowledge the consequences they impose upon me.  I know that You desire to free me from these burdens and to heal them at the source.  Lord, give me courage to confess my sins to You, especially in the Sacrament of Reconciliation.  Jesus, I trust in You.

40 Days at the Foot of the Cross – Reflection Twenty-Seven – Humiliation – Stripped of Garments

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An Interesting Miracle March 23, 2020

Monday of the Fourth Week of Lent
Readings for Today

Saint Turibius of Mogrovejo, Bishop—Optional Memorial

Jesus said to him, “Unless you people see signs and wonders, you will not believe.”  The royal official said to him, “Sir, come down before my child dies.”  Jesus said to him, “You may go; your son will live.”  John 4:48–50

Indeed the child does live and the royal official is overjoyed when he returns home to find that his child was healed.  This healing took place at the same time that Jesus said he would be healed.

One interesting thing to note about this passage is the contrast of Jesus’ words.  At first, it almost sounds as if Jesus is angry when He says, “Unless you people see signs and wonders, you will not believe.”  But then He immediately heals the boy telling the man, “Your son will live.”  Why this apparent contrast in Jesus’ words and action?

We should note that Jesus’ initial words are not so much a criticism; rather, they are simply words of truth.  He is aware of the fact that many people lack faith, or are at least weak in faith.  He is also aware of the fact that “signs and wonders” are beneficial for people at times so as to help them come to believe.  Though this need to see “signs and wonders” is far from ideal, Jesus works with it.  He uses this desire for a miracle as a way of offering faith.

What’s important to understand is that the ultimate goal of Jesus was not the physical healing, even though this was an act of great love; rather, His ultimate goal was to increase the faith of this father by offering him the gift of his son’s healing.  This is important to understand because everything we experience in life from our Lord will have as its goal a deepening of our faith.  Sometimes that takes on the form of “signs and wonders” while at other times it may be His sustaining presence in the midst of a trial without any visible sign or wonder.  The goal we must strive for is faith by allowing whatever our Lord does in our lives to become the source of our faith’s increase.

Reflect, today, upon your own level of faith and trust.  And work to discern the actions of God in your life so that those actions produce greater faith.  Cling to Him, believe He loves you, know that He holds the answer you need and seek Him in all things.  He will never let you down.

Lord, please increase my faith.  Help me to see You acting in my life and to discover Your perfect love in all things.  As I see You at work in my life, help me to know, with greater certainty, Your perfect love.  Jesus, I trust in You.

40 Days at the Foot of the Cross – Reflection Twenty-Six – The Holy Women and Veronica

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Grace from the Ordinary March 22, 2020

The Fourth Sunday of Lent (Year A)
Readings for Today

As Jesus passed by he saw a man blind from birth…

…he spat on the ground and made clay with the saliva, and smeared the clay on his eyes, and said to him, “Go wash in the Pool of Siloam” —which means Sent—. So he went and washed, and came back able to see.  John 9:1, 6–7

Who was this man?  Interestingly, he does not have a name.  He is only referred to as the “man blind from birth.”  This is significant in the Gospel of John because the lack of a name is also seen, for example, in the story of “the woman at the well.”  The fact that there is no name indicates that we should see ourselves in this story.

“Blindness” is our inability to see the hand of God at work all around us.  We struggle to see the daily miracles of God’s grace alive in our lives and alive in the lives of others.  So the first thing we should do with this Scripture is strive to see our lack of sight.  We should strive to realize that we so often do not see God at work.  This realization will inspire us to desire a spiritual healing.  It will invite us to want to see God at work.

The good news is obviously that Jesus cured this man, as He willingly cures us.  To restore sight is easy for Jesus.  So the first prayer we should pray as a result of this story is simply, “Lord, I want to see!”  The humble realization of our blindness will invite God’s grace to work.  And if we do not humbly acknowledge our blindness, we will not be in a position to seek healing.

How He heals this man is also significant.  He uses His own spit to make mud and smear it on this man’s eyes, which is not immediately that appealing.  But it does reveal something quite significant to us.  Namely, it reveals the fact that Jesus can use something exceptionally ordinary as a source of His divine grace!

If we look at this in a symbolic way we can come to some profound conclusions.  Too often we look for God’s action in the extraordinary.  But He so often is present to us in that which is ordinary.  Perhaps we will be tempted to think that God only works His grace through heroic acts of love or sacrifice.  Perhaps we are tempted to think that God is not able to use our daily ordinary activities to perform His miracles.  But this is not true.  It is precisely those ordinary actions of life where God is present.  He is present while washing the dishes, doing chores, driving a child to school, playing a game with a family member, carrying on a casual conversation or offering a helping hand.  In fact, the more ordinary the activity, the more we should strive to see God at work.  And when we do “see” Him at work in the ordinary activities of life, we will be healed of our spiritual blindness.

Reflect, today, upon this act of Jesus and allow our Lord to smear His spit and dirt on your eyes.  Allow Him to give you the gift of spiritual sight.  And as you begin to see His presence in your life, you will be amazed at the beauty you behold.

Lord, I want to see.  Help me to be healed of my blindness.  Help me to see You at work in every ordinary activity of my life.  Help me to see Your divine grace in the smallest events of my day.  And as I see You alive and active, fill my heart with gratitude for this vision.  Jesus, I trust in You.

40 Days at the Foot of the Cross – Reflection Twenty-Five – Jesus Falls

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Letting Go of Pride March 21, 2020

https://relevantradio.com/faith/daily-mass-video/

Saturday of the Third Week of Lent
Readings for Today

“Two people went up to the temple area to pray; one was a Pharisee and the other was a tax collector.  The Pharisee took up his position and spoke this prayer to himself, ‘O God, I thank you that I am not like the rest of humanity—greedy, dishonest, adulterous—or even like this tax collector.’”  Luke 18:10–11

Pride and self-righteousness are quite ugly.  This Gospel contrasts the Pharisee and his self-righteousness with the humility of the tax collector.  The Pharisee looks righteous on the outside and is even proud enough to speak about how good he is in his prayer to God when he says that he is grateful he is not like the rest of humanity.  That poor Pharisee.  Little does he know that he is quite blind to the truth.

The tax collector, however, is truthful, humble and sincere.  He cried out, “Oh God, be merciful to me a sinner.”  Jesus makes it clear that the tax collector, with this humble prayer, went home justified but the Pharisee did not.

When we witness the sincerity and humility of another it touches us.  It’s an inspiring sight to see.  It’s hard to criticize anyone who expresses their sinfulness and asks for forgiveness.  Humility of this sort can win over even the most hardened of hearts.

So what about you?  Is this parable addressed to you?  Do you carry the heavy burden of self-righteousness?  All of us do at least to some extent.  It’s hard to sincerely arrive at the level of humility that this tax collector had.  And it’s so very easy to fall into the trap of justifying our own sin and, as a result, becoming defensive and self-absorbed.  But this is all pride.  Pride disappears when we do two things well.

First, we have to understand God’s mercy.  Understanding the mercy of God frees us to take our eyes off ourselves and set aside self-righteousness and self-justification.  It frees us from being defensive and enables us to see ourselves in the light of the truth.  Why?  Because when we recognize God’s mercy for what it is, we also realize that even our sins cannot keep us from God.  In fact, the greater the sinner, the more that sinner is deserving of God’s mercy!  So understanding God’s mercy actually enables us to acknowledge our sin.

Acknowledging our sin is the second important step we must take if we want our pride to disappear.  We have to know that it’s OK to admit our sin.  No, we do not have to stand on the street corner and tell everyone about the details of our sin.  But we have to acknowledge it to ourselves and to God, especially in the confessional.  And, at times, it will be necessary to acknowledge our sins to others so that we can ask for their forgiveness and mercy.  This depth of humility is attractive and easily wins the hearts of others.  It inspires and produces the good fruits of peace and joy in our hearts.

So don’t be afraid to follow the example of this tax collector.  Try and take his prayer today and say it over and over.  Let it become your prayer and you will see the good fruits of this prayer in your life!

Oh God, be merciful to me a sinner. Oh God, be merciful to me a sinner. Oh God, be merciful to me a sinner.  Jesus, I trust in You.

40 Days at the Foot of the Cross – Reflection Twenty-Four – The Gaze of Mother and Son

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