40 ACTS OF REPENTANCE WITH PRIESTS - DAY 5


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 FIVE

Deny yourself

Here’s the bottom line for anyone who claims to be a Christian, in particular for all Catholic priests. “If anyone wishes to come after me,” said Jesus to his disciples, “he must deny himself take up his cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9:23).

Today the Lord is challenging you to re-examine your own belief. Do you claim to be a Christian? Do the people living and working within your circles know that you are a Christian? Do you let them know in no uncertain terms that you are a Christian? Do you behave as a true Christian, not only at Church but in private as well as in public? Do you truly hold all the teachings of the Catholic Church to be true? When someone attacks the Catholic Church and her teachings in matters of faith, such as the Real Presence, the Sacrament of Confession and the veneration of the saints or in matters of morality, such as the immorality of abortion, contraception, the homosexual lifestyle and gay marriage, pre-marital cohabitation, i.e., fornication, divorce and remarriage, the selling of aborted babies for stem-cell research, euthanasia and infanticide, in such instances do you raise objection to their attack and defend your faith? Do you defend your faith by practicing what you profess?

In order to be true to yourself as you claim to be a Catholic Christian, you must know with certainty what the teachings of the Church on matters of faith and morals are and understand them with clarity in order to defend them. To defend these teachings of the Church means you must deny yourself. That means you may lose the friends you used to have or your reputation of being kind or even your life. This is the Cross you must carry in order to be a true disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ and be worthy of the name, Christian.

Take a deep breath… Let us pray for all priests to be true to their belief and faithful to their vocation.

O Mary, Queen of the Apostles: Make your priest true to their faith and vocation.


#FrMichael #40ACTSOFREPENTANCEWITHPRIESTS

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