Thursday, February 22, 2018
Wednesday, February 21, 2018
Tuesday, February 20, 2018
Monday, February 19, 2018
Introductory Prayer: Lord, I am aware that you know what is best for me, and that is why I believe in you. You are more interested in my spiritual well-being than I am, and that is why I trust in you. You always give me your loving forgiveness in spite of my sins, and that is why I love you.
Petition: Lord, teach me how to pray.
1. Prayer is the Fruit of Silence: Some people like to talk. They demand to be listened to, but they don’t have the same interest in listening. However, you usually can’t listen if you aren’t used to silence. St. Theresa of Calcutta once wrote that prayer is the fruit of silence. Jesus wants us to understand that prayer is more about listening than about talking. When you are with someone who knows much about a topic that interests you, you limit yourself to asking questions and dedicate yourself to listening. Jesus is the revealer of God the Father. That means our main interest in prayer should be asking Jesus, our Lord, about his Father and then dedicating ourselves to listening.
2. God is Our Loving Father: Jesus tells us that God the Father knows what we need before we ask him. Still, we should ask, because in asking we become aware that we have needs that only God our Father can grant us. We learn to ask God what we most need for our salvation. That is why Jesus taught us the “Our Father.” Praying the “Our Father” reminds us that he is the father of all, and therefore every human person is truly our brother. In praying the “Our Father,” we essentially ask for three things: that God have the first place in our lives, that he give us our material and spiritual sustenance, and that he grant us his forgiveness.
3. Forgive in Order to Be Forgiven: Jesus emphasizes the importance of forgiveness. As the First Letter of John reminds us, we are all sinners (cf. 1:8). One of the essential characteristics of Christian life is seeking to encounter Christ’s loving mercy. We can really experience it only when we put it into practice ourselves. We can admire a person who parachutes off a plane, but we won’t understand the experience until we skydive ourselves. We grasp the true meaning of mercy when we forgive others. Our mercy will not be the same as Christ’s: He never sinned, and therefore he forgives us even though we don’t deserve it. If Christ has forgiven us, how can we dare not to forgive others?
Conversation with Christ: Lord, I thank you for teaching me to pray to the Father. I don’t always pray as much as I should. Please help me to pray more and better. Please help me to want with all my heart to give God the first place in my life, preferring his will to mine. Help me to treat others as I would like them to treat me, forgiving them when they offend me.
Resolution: I will dedicate a specific time to prayer each day.
Sunday, February 18, 2018
Saturday, February 17, 2018
Introductory Prayer: Lord Jesus, I believe that you are leading me and that when I go astray it’s because I take my eyes off you and cease to follow you. I know that you will never abandon me. Thank you for your unconditional and restoring love. I place all my trust in you, and I long to love you in return with all my mind, heart soul and strength.
Petition: Lord Jesus, help me to be steadfast in moments of temptation.
1. The Role of Temptation Jesus’ public life begins by a duel with Satan: Before working any miracles, before speaking any parables, before gathering any disciples, the Lord makes clear what his life and mission are to be about: they are to destroy the works of the devil and establish the kingdom of grace. To do this, Jesus confronts Satan’s greatest weapon against the human person: temptation. Satan seduces the human spirit into a life of sin, which involves focusing on oneself. Jesus meets the devil on his own terrain and — in the face of mysterious temptation — remains focused on the Father and his will. Temptation plays an important role in the plan of redemption. It helps us define ourselves: directing our lives either toward God by embracing grace or toward sin by turning in on oneself.
2. Wild Beasts and Angels: We bear within ourselves the potential to become either saints or sinners. No one’s fate is predetermined. Even the angels had to make a free choice of good or evil and, by this choice, forge their personal destinies. The love and dedication of the angels that chose the good made them faithful instruments of God’s will and plan. The vicious self-centeredness of the demons made them into ravenous beasts endlessly looking for someone to devour. Our person and our most intimate, most secret choices are part of this ongoing and cosmic struggle between good and evil. The hour of temptation is the hour of both choice and decision. The stronger the temptation, the stronger the decision must be. A repeated choice for a good decision makes a habit of good. Many good habits build a good character. A good character, open to God’s grace, is holiness.
3. We need to Take a Position: Here and Now Christ’s appearance in Galilee was marked by a call to decision. No one remains indifferent before Jesus Christ; no one hears his message without some sort of subsequent decision. Jesus calls all men and women to his kingdom, and this call constantly brings people to choose either to draw ever closer to him, or to pull further away. The best time to choose is always now, and the best place is always here. If not now, when? If not here, then where?
Conversation with Christ: Lord Jesus, I want always to choose you, but I know that I am weak. Please give me strength in my hour of temptation. Please keep me steady and inflame my heart with love so that I choose you and your ways even though it’s costly. May the temptations I overcome become the stepping-stones to a holy life.
Resolution: I will be attentive today to the subtle ways in which I am tempted to center my life around myself. When these temptations come, I firmly commit to following Christ instead of my own selfish path.