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.
“Why do you attack me?” you ask the Devil. “Why are you afraid of me?” you ask the sun. “Why do you want to take my life?” you ask hunger and thirst. “Do you know why?” you ask all creation.
“It’s only because you are afraid. You are afraid of the Truth. The Truth is that My Heavenly Father has eternally declared to the whole of His creation that “I am His Beloved Son.” You do not understand what it means, that’s why you are afraid of me. One day you will call me “a blasphemer” and take my life.
“You say, “God is all-powerful: that He knows everything and nothing is impossible for Him; that no one can come near Him or see Him and live. You all fear Him. But none of you could understand that God, My Heavenly Father, is Love; and He loves me. None of you could believe that My Father also loves you. Yes, including “you,” Devil; otherwise, you would not be here.
“None of you could fathom the Truth of My Father’s Love. It is the source of all your existence, your being and your life. Without His Love all of you would stop existing. But still you are trembling in fear.
“Do you know what fear is? It is the mistrust and distrust in the Truth of My Heavenly Father, Who is Love. You reject His Truth and His Love; that is why you are in the darkness of fear.
“My Heaven Father has given you a choice: believe in Me, the Truth of His Love, or remain in the darkness of fear. And that is Hell.
“It is your fear that creates Hell. It is fear that creates violence and war. It is fear that robs and ruins your life.
“Think again. Count the cost. What will you lose when you put your trust in Me, the Truth of My Father’s Love? What will you gain if you have the whole world at your command but you have no Truth? What will benefit you if you have all you want but you do not know Love?” You may have all, but without the Love of My Father, you have no soul. So count the cost. That is what it means to think.
“To think is to count the cost. Whatever you take out of life, you will lose something else. It will cost you. So count the cost. The greatest cost is the loss of God and His Love. Think again.”
Take a deep breath…, and say, “Jesus.” Then exhale…., say, “I trust in You.”
Do this for today and you will feel the presence and peace of Jesus.
Let us pray for priests to count the cost of losing Jesus so that they put all their trust in Him.
O Mary, Queen of the Apostles: Remind all your priests of what cost Jesus had to pay for their soul; and make them put all their trust in Him.