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February 14

FOCUS:  Lent provides an opportunity to imitate Christ by turning our lives and hearts back toward God, our Creator.


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What better way to start Lent then to receive ashes on our forehead and learn from our Mass readings what God asks of us during this Lenten season.

Why did Jesus single out prayer, fasting, and almsgiving for his disciples?  The Jews considered these three as the cardinal works of the religious life.  These were seen as the key signs of a pious (godly) person, the three great pillars on which the good life was based.  Jesus pointed to the heart of the matter.  Why do you pray, fast, and give alms?  To draw attention to yourself so that others may notice and think highly of you?  Or to give glory to God?  The Lord warns his disciples of self-seeking glory - the preoccupation with looking good and seeking praise from others.  True piety is something more than feeling good or looking holy.  True piety is loving devotion to God.  It is an attitude of awe, reverence, worship, and obedience.  It is a gift and working of the Holy Spirit that enables us to devote our lives to God with a holy desire to please him in all things (Isaiah 11:1-2).

What is the sure reward which Jesus points out to his disciples?  It is communion with God our Father. In him alone we find the fulness of life, happiness, and truth.  The Lord wants to renew us each day and give us new hearts of love and compassion.  Do you want to grow in your love for God and for your neighbor?  Seek him expectantly in prayer, with fasting, and in generous giving to those in need.

The Lord Jesus gives us spiritual food and supernatural strength (faith, hope, and love) to seek his face and to prepare ourselves for spiritual combat and testing.  We, too, must follow in the way of the cross to share in the victory of Christ's death and resurrection.  As you begin this holy season of testing and preparation, ask the Lord Jesus for a fresh outpouring of his Holy Spirit so that you may grow in faith, hope, and love and embrace his will more fully in your life.

Today’s Question for Prayer and Reflection

What acts of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving will you do quietly this Lent that will bring you closer to communion with the Father?

Source for today’s reflection:

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