40 ACTS OF REPENTANCE WITH PRIESTS - DAY 20
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.
What is the point of giving up something unless you want to get something better? What is the point of going on a hunger strike?
Already 20 days have passed, the pang of hunger pounds ever stronger and the pricking of thirst pierces ever fiercer. Why are you doing this to yourself, Jesus? What do you really want? Nothing but God.
The question is this, can you live on nothing but God? Can you depend on no one but God alone? Jesus says, “Yes.” His Mother concurs. They both prove it with their lives.
They both have nothing but God. They want nothing but God. In order to have God, they empty themselves, so God could possess them and be their all.
This is how God builds up and renews everything. Jesus re-creates and rebuilds humanity by giving up His own life, not only for His faith in God the Father but for His faithful followers and all sinners. To build up He must give up.
Act of Repentance
Breathe in slowly…, say, “Jesus.” Breathe out…., “I surrender all.” Do this seven times. Practice this act of repentance today. It will make you feel light.
Let us pray for priests to surrender all to Jesus and give their life for the faithful.
O Mary, Queen of the Apostles: Help your priests to give up their life for Jesus and His followers.