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 ONE - Ash Wednesday
In the desert, Jesus sees dusts everywhere and hears the Word of God telling Him: “Remember, you are dust and to dust you will return” (Genesis 3:19). Now, Jesus is saying the same thing to you.
Whenever you feel self-righteous or holier than someone or you think that you are superior to anyone, just look under your feet. There you will find what you truly are: dust. That, you once were before you came into this life and that, you will soon become when somebody buries you six feet under. “To dust you will return.” Remember it.
Pride is a horrible lie. Mostly it is a lie to yourself. You lie to yourself that you are the owner and master of your life, but you are not. Remember, “to dust you will return.” Return to dust, you will. But you can do something better. Why don’t you return to God with Jesus?
Remember these eternal truths: (1) that you come from God; (2) that you belong to God; and (3) that you are destined for God. This is what Jesus comes to remind us. Return to God, now.
Take a deep breath… Let us pray for all priests to remember who they are.
O Mary, Queen of the Apostles: Make your priests always remember who they are.