• Father Michael J. Truong Luan Nguyen C.Ss. R.

40 ACTS OF REPENTANCE WITH PRIESTS - DAY 7


Introduction

Lent is here. It begins with our Lord Jesus Christ submitting himself under the prophetic call to repentance from his cousin, John, the Baptist, and allowing himself to be submerged in the water of the Jordan river for the ritual baptism, a commitment to convert and render his life to God.

We see the heavens opening up, the Holy Spirit descending upon him in the form of a dove; and we hear the gentle voice of God, the Father, declaring: “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well-pleased” (Matthew 3:17). 

God the Father loves Jesus and declares to all creation of His love for His only-begotten Son. In so doing God the Father also declares His love for you. God loves you and He loves you first; that’s why He sent Jesus to you. So “We love because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19).

Love is the motif and the motivation for all that Jesus does for us. He loves God, the Father, and thus enters into this world to live, suffer and die for us. He reveals to us not only through His stories and examples, but also by His life and death, the love of God the Father reserved for us from all eternity.

The very first act of love Jesus wants to show us is fasting. He enters into the desert with the Holy Spirit for forty days and forty nights to confront His own human weaknesses and the Devil. He  endures hunger and thirst, the lonely life in the howling desert and the assaults of the Devil. He fasts, He prays and He trusts in the Word of His Father. This is to show us how to repent and render to God what belongs to Him.

Following Jesus’ footsteps we are called to embark in this pilgrimage of forty days of Lent. With Jesus we listen to the loving voice of God, the Father; we do penance and deny ourselves. The following meditations are 40 straight-forward acts of repentance to help you look back and re-examine your own life with Jesus.

Let us take this pilgrimage of repentance to pray for our Catholic Church, especially for our priests.

O Mary, Queen of the Apostles:  Walk with us on this pilgrimage.

Let us pray.

Grant us, O Lord, to begin our Christian warfare with holy fasts; that as we are about to do battle with the spirits of evil we may be defended by the aid of self-denial and the protecting gaze of our Blessed Virgin Mother Mary. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

DAY SEVEN

Perform righteous deeds

Here’s what Jesus wants: “Take care not to perform righteous deeds in order that people may see them” (Matthew 6:1). 

Jesus takes for granted that we are already “performing righteous deeds.” Still, He wants us to do them in such a way that will please God, the heavenly Father. This is why He says: “Take care not to perform…” them as for a show.

Jesus chooses His words carefully. He does not say, “do good deeds,” but rather “perform righteous deeds.” First of all, to perform something means that you do it with care; and you do it to serve someone, for either their use or their enjoyment. Secondly, what makes a deed righteous is that it is not just about doing the right thing, but doing the morally right thing for the right cause. Lastly, how should you perform them? Not to show off but to perform your own duty on God’s behalf. You do them with God and for God, so “Your Father who sees you in secret will repay you” (Matthew 6:4, 6).

Notice what Jesus just points out: that every time you dutifully perform righteous deeds, God the Father sees you and repays you. What is the point of performing righteous deeds? Is it to receive rewards from God the Father? Absolutely. Let’s be honest. We want rewards from God our Father. It is an honor to receive blessings from Him. Nonetheless, what we truly want is not only the rewards, but the acknowledgment that we are His children: “Your Father sees you…” (Matthew 6:4,6). When you can see someone, you acknowledge their existence. When you are aware that God the Father is seeing you, you know that He is present and He cares for you. The question is this, are you aware that God the Father is seeing you now? 

Ask yourself also: “Do I want to see Him? Do I want to acknowledge Him as my Heavenly Father?” If you do, then “perform righteous deeds.” 

What are they? What are the “morally right things” that we are supposed to be doing, as Jesus said? They are PRAYING, FASTING and GIVING ALMS. Notice that “fasting and almsgiving,” you must do them for yourself and on your own, but “praying,” we can do them either in private or together. Let’s do them today. 

Let us pray. 

Heavenly Father, we know that You see us now through the Holy Face of Your Son, Jesus Christ. We pray that You make Your priests righteous and help them preach what they practice and practice what they preach. 

O Mary, Queen of the Apostles: Remind your priests of their duty to pray, fast and give alms. 

#7 #40ACTSOFREPENTANCEWITHPRIESTS #FATHERMichael #PerformRighteousdeeds #GodtheFather

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