The following reflection is courtesy of Don Schwager (c) 2015, whose website is located at DailyScripture.net
Do you believe that God’s word has power to change and transform your life today? Isaiah says that God’s word is like the rain and melting snow which makes the barren ground spring to life and become abundantly fertile (Isaiah 55:10-11). God’s word has power to penetrate our dry barren hearts and make them springs of new life. If we let God’s word take root in our heart it will transform us into the likeness of God himself and empower us to walk in his way of love and holiness. God wants his word to guide and shape the way we think, act, and pray. Ambrose (339-397 AD), an early church father and bishop of Milan, wrote that the reason we should devote time for reading Scripture is to hear Christ speak to us. “Are you not occupied with Christ? Why do you not talk with him? By reading the Scriptures, we listen to Christ.”
We can approach God confidently because he is waiting with arms wide open to receive his prodigal sons and daughters. That is why Jesus gave his disciples the perfect prayer that dares to call God, Our Father. This prayer teaches us how to ask God for the things we really need, the things that matter not only for the present but for eternity as well. We can approach God our Father with confidence and boldness because the Lord Jesus has opened the way to heaven for us through his death and resurrection. When we ask God for help, he fortunately does not give us what we deserve. Instead, God responds with grace, mercy, and loving-kindness. He is good and forgiving towards us, and he expects us to treat our neighbor the same. God has poured his love into our hearts through the gift of the Holy Spirit who has been given to us (Romans 5:5). And that love is like a refining fire – it purifies and burns away all prejudice, hatred, resentment, vengeance, and bitterness until there is nothing left but goodness and forgiveness towards those who cause us grief or harm.
Consider what John Cassian (360-435 AD), an early church father who lived for several years with the monks in Bethlehem and Egypt before founding a monastery in southern Gaul, wrote about the Lord’s Prayer and the necessity of forgiving one another from the heart:
“The mercy of God is beyond description. While he is offering us a model prayer he is teaching us a way of life whereby we can be pleasing in his sight. But that is not all. In this same prayer he gives us an easy method for attracting an indulgent and merciful judgment on our lives. He gives us the possibility of ourselves mitigating the sentence hanging over us and of compelling him to pardon us. What else could he do in the face of our generosity when we ask him to forgive us as we have forgiven our neighbor? If we are faithful in this prayer, each of us will ask forgiveness for our own failings after we have forgiven the sins of those who have sinned against us, not only those who have sinned against our Master. There is, in fact, in some of us a very bad habit. We treat our sins against God, however appalling, with gentle indulgence – but when by contrast it is a matter of sins against us ourselves, albeit very tiny ones, we exact reparation with ruthless severity. Anyone who has not forgiven from the bottom of the heart the brother or sister who has done him wrong will only obtain from this prayer his own condemnation, rather than any mercy.”
Do you treat others as you think they deserve to be treated, or do you treat them as the Lord has treated you – with mercy, steadfast love, and kindness?
“Father in heaven, you have given me a mind to know you, a will to serve you, and a heart to love you. Give me today the grace and strength to embrace your holy will and fill my heart and mind with your truth and love that all my intentions and actions may be pleasing to you. Help me to be kind and forgiving towards my neighbor as you have been towards me.”
The following reflection is courtesy of PresentationMinistries.com (c) 2015. Their website is located at PresentationMinistries.com
THE WORD FOR LENT
“So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me void, but shall do My will, achieving the end for which I sent it.” Isaiah 55:11
God’s Word does not return void but achieves the end for which it is sent. Because God’s Word is always “living and effective” (Heb 4:12), it is “more precious than thousands of gold and silver pieces” (Ps 119:72). Therefore, we should read and share God’s Word daily (Acts 17:11), for ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ (Catechism, 133, St. Jerome).
This Lent, may God’s Word find a home in your life. “Humbly welcome the word that has taken root in you, with its power to save you” (Jas 1:21). Like Jesus, use God’s Word to resist the temptations of Satan (Lk 4:4, 8, 12). Abide in God’s Word (Jn 8:31). Soak in it, and let yourselves be purified “in the bath of water by the power of the word” (Eph 5:26). Delight in the Word of the Lord and meditate on it day and night (see Ps 1:2). “Keep this book of the law on your lips. Recite it by day and by night, that you may observe carefully all that is written in it; then you will successfully attain your goal” (Jos 1:8). This Lent, prepare for Easter by taking a long walk with Jesus as He interprets for you “every passage of Scripture which [refers] to Him” (Lk 24:27). A Lent in God’s Word is a Lent in God’s will a Lent of a lifetime.
Prayer: Father, this Lent may Your Word burn in me and purify me (Lk 24:32). Promise: “Give us today our daily bread, and forgive us the wrong we have done as we forgive those who wrong us.” Mt 6:11-12 Praise:Several pre-teens and teenagers join with a group of adults to faithfully prepare One Bread, One Body for mailout. The book you are currently reading may have been provided to you through the love of a teenager. (Easter is approaching. To abide in the Word, order our leaflet, Through the New Testament in Easter.)
Rescript: In accord with the Code of Canon Law, I hereby grant my permission to publish One Bread, One Body covering the period from February 1, 2015 through March 31, 2015.
Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, August 25, 2014.
The rescript is a declaration that a book or pamphlet is considered to be free of doctrinal or moral error. It is not implied that those who have granted ecclesial permission agree with the contents, opinions, or statements