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 would it take to build a house? A plan. A carpenter would know. Jesus knows. This plan demands the hard work of counting the cost. It demands a rigorous accounting for the cost of labor, materials and time. Time and timing are of utmost importance.
What would it take to build a family? Not only a plan, but a life-time of personal commitment from both the husband and the wife. It demands the rigorous work of counting the cost as well: the cost of sacrifice one’s own time, need and personal dreams for the sake of the spouse and each of the children. This, He’d know as well for soon He will build a family for Himself. It is His Bride, the Holy Church.
What would it take to build a kingdom or a human empire? Not just a plan, but an ambitious plan to acquire power at all costs, including the cost of human lives. This means preparation for war.
Now what would it take for the Lord to build His Kingdom? An eternal plan. Not a plan to take lives or to acquire power but rather to salvage the undesirable and to save the unloved. It is an eternal plan for war against sin.
This eternal plan of salvation comes with a steep price. What Adam and Eve have lost due to their disobedience to the Lord’s command is God’s abiding presence. Is there a way back? Yes, only justice.
Due justice demands due restitution. “Unicuique suum – to each his own due” is the law of justice. His heavenly Father, the Lord God of Moses demands: “But if injury ensues, you shall give life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, stripe for stripe” (Exodus 21:23-25). An offense against God demands a reparation fit for God. Yet no one could render what is due to God, except God Himself.
Lord Jesus, how would You build Your Kingdom? How would You render what is due to Your heavenly Father? What do you have that will satisfy Divine Justice? Only Divine Mercy. (Pope Francis breaks down the word “misericordia” in Latin as “miser or miserable” + “cord or heart” + “dare or give” as “mercy” to mean “giving the miserable heart”).
Lord Jesus, only Your Sacred Heart has the capability to render what’s due to God and the capacity to rebuild our human nature. The steep cost You must pay for our salvation and the foundation of Your Kingdom is your own lifeblood. Will You give us Your Heart? Will You give us your lifeblood, Jesus?
One day soon, we will hear You say: “TAKE THIS AND DRINK FROM IT. FOR THIS IS THE CHALICE OF MY BLOOD, THE BLOOD OF THE NEW AND EVERLASTING COVENANT, WHICH WILL BE POURED OUT FOR YOU AND FOR MANY FOR THE FORGIVENESS OF SINS. DO THIS IN MEMORY OF ME” (Matthew 26:28).
Act of Repentance
Take a deep breath…, say, “O Precious Blood.” Breathe out…, say, “I adore You.” Repeat this seven times. Do this for today. The Precious Blood of Jesus will cleanse your soul and give you peace.
Let us pray for priests to pour out their life in adoration to the Precious Blood of Jesus.
O Mary, Queen of the Apostles: Remind all your priests to adore the Precious Blood of Your Son and pour out their life on Him.