Saturday, February 28, 2015
Friday, February 27, 2015
Thursday, February 26, 2015
Wednesday, February 25, 2015
Tuesday, February 24, 2015
Monday, February 23, 2015
The Jesus said to his disciples: "In praying, do not babble like the pagans, who think that they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them. Your Father knows what you need before you ask him. This is how you are to pray: 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. If you forgive men their transgressions, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you do not forgive men, neither will your Father forgive your transgressions."
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 22, 2015
Saturday, February 21, 2015
Friday, February 20, 2015
Thursday, February 19, 2015
Wednesday, February 18, 2015
Tuesday, February 17, 2015
Jesus said to his disciples: “Take care not to perform righteous deeds in order that people may see them; otherwise, you will have no recompense from your heavenly Father. When you give alms, do not blow a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets to win the praise of others. Amen, I say to you they have received their reward. But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your almsgiving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will repay you. When you pray, do not be like the hypocrites who love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on street corners so that others may see them. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go into your inner room, close the door, and pray to your Father in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will repay you. When you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, they neglect their appearance so that they may appear to be fasting. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward. But 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. And your Father who sees what is hidden will repay you.”
Introductory Prayer: Lord, you know how much I need you and depend on you. You know my weakness and my faults. I put all my confidence in your love and mercy in my daily actions. I hope to learn to trust more in your power, your promise, and your grace. Lord, I wish to start this season of Lent with a sincere desire to grow in love, preparing myself worthily to celebrate the mysteries of your passion, death and resurrection.
Petition: Lord, help me learn to change what needs to change in my life.
1. Prayer, Fasting, Almsgiving: As we begin the Lenten season, we are reminded of the need to make reparation for our sins and be reconciled with God. Any attempt to build a spiritual life that neglects the pillars of prayer, fasting and almsgiving is building on sand. Prayer purifies our intentions and relates all we do to God. Fasting detaches us from our comfort and from ourselves. Almsgiving reflects our brotherhood with the poor of Jesus’ family and reminds us that our true wealth is not in things, but in the love of God. We all need to do a reality check on our spiritual lives to make sure we are committed to prayer, fasting and almsgiving.
2. Lose the Show: Jesus is severe in criticizing the hypocrites who parade their works before others to get attention. Such parades are of no use in pleasing God or making up for our sins; they only add to our sinfulness. He encourages us to pray in private, to fast and give alms in secret, without calling the attention of others to what we are doing. In this way we can be sure we are doing all for love of God and not for love of self. Those who make an outward show of piety or generosity “have already received their reward” in this world, and they store up no treasure in heaven. Let us work silently and discreetly, with no other intention but pleasing God alone.
3. Joyful Sacrifice: Nothing brings us closer to Christ than walking alongside him and doing the things he did for love of God the Father. During Lent, God invites us to purify our hearts and minds and to turn our intentions back to him. Christ’s public ministry was lived each day in loving obedience to the Father’s will. Our Lenten program should reflect that same simple, yet demanding, obedience and love. What can I do for God today? What sacrifice can I offer that will be pleasing to him? Once I decide on it, I will carry it out with no one else knowing.
Conversation with Christ: Jesus, give me the grace to begin this Lent with great enthusiasm and love. Help me live it with joy, knowing that I am living it in your presence to please you and you alone.
Resolution: I will make a Lenten program of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving.
Monday, February 16, 2015
The The Pharisees came and began to argue with him, asking him for a sign from heaven, to test him. And he sighed deeply in his spirit and said, "Why does this generation ask for a sign? Truly I tell you, no sign will be given to this generation." And he left them, and getting into the boat again, he went across to the other side.
Introductory Prayer: Lord, I can be so cold to your salvific presence as I hurry about living the moment and becoming so sufficient unto myself. There is little wonder that I find it hard to bring myself to prayer—to use faith to know you, divine love to live in you, and theological hope to trust in you. I approach you now, wanting only to be a more faithful disciple of your Kingdom.
Petition: Lord, grant a faith that will console your heart.
1. Sending Christ Away: G. K. Chesterton once asserted, “The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and left untried.” Jesus truly loves us and would never refuse a humble soul the true goods he needs for fulfillment and salvation. If our wants, like those of the Pharisees, end up leaving God silent and our spiritual life cold, it may be a call for us to purify our hearts of the remaining dregs of our self-centeredness. We should carefully avoid the attitudes and words that repel Christ. Christ will not let himself be loved for who he is not, and he will not indulge the desires we have for who we are not. We can want our happiness to be many things, but Christ wants us to accept that his will is the heart of our fulfillment.
2. Prayer Is My Daily Breath of Air for the Soul: Jesus converses with our souls in a language that flows from supernatural attitudes of faith, hope and love. He will remain silent, however, if we drag him down to the small, narrow framework of our reason and calculations—wanting to “figure it out for ourselves” before we will act. Jesus does not want to be Superman, who comes into our lives only when things are really bad and all is lost. Rather, Christ intervenes because he wants a life of communion and grace day after day, sharing his life with each and every soul. He wants our living in fidelity and childlike trust to be like breathing the air.
3. The Signs That Bring Christ to Us: Christ did give us sure signs of his daily presence in our lives. The first is the sign of the cross. Only faith will unlock its mystery and bring us to the encounter between our sin and God’s mercy. Sin is at the heart of the worst that can go wrong with our life; the sign of the Crucified One is its cure. Faith will permit us, as it did the good thief, to see Christ’s love at the center of the universe and the world being drawn towards it as if into a vortex. Another sign he left us is the Eucharist. It is the most powerful sign because it contains the author of the sign himself. Christ humbles himself to stay with us at all costs. Under the appearance of bread and wine, he reveals what he wants to be for our souls; Under the veil of the sacrament, we learn to encounter Christ personally as pure love. “On the night he was betrayed he showed the depth of his love…” Let these signs be the “love language” by which we talk to Christ in the way he wants to be known, loved and adored.
Conversation with Christ: Christ, let my prideful demands melt away before a mature encounter with your divine love. Keep my immaturity from impeding the expansion of your Kingdom; rather, let me humbly accept my need to change the way I relate to your true plan for my life.
Resolution: I will spend some time today acknowledging and thanking Jesus for the signs he has given me to know, love and serve him better in my life.