Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Reflections for the 5th Week in Ordinary Time and the Week of Ash Wednesday, Part 2

Thursday – A Choice 

“I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse.” Every day we face a choice. Life or death. The blessing or the curse. Obedience or sin. Love or apathy. God's path or our own way. Following Christ or following the crowd. The eternal perspective or the worldly mindset. 

Lent is a good time to reflect on our choices. Which direction are we heading? Are we willing to let go of the world and gain Heaven? Will we save our lives in the short term only to lose them for eternity? 

Moses offers us some good advice as we face our daily decisions during this Lent and always: “Choose life, then, that you and your descendants may live, by loving the Lord, your God, heeding His voice, and holding fast to Him.” 

Friday – Contrition and Humility 

God will not turn away from a heart that is contrite and humble. So the Psalmist assures us in today's Responsorial Psalm. But what does it mean for our hearts to be contrite and humble before God? 

The Hebrew words for humble and contrite here are shābar and dākāh. They both have overtones of brokenness. The former signifies being broken into pieces. A humble heart is a broken heart, a heart that sees itself for what it really is: bowed down under the weight of sin and totally dependent on God for everything it has and everything it is. Humility means being in touch with reality. 

The latter word, dākāh, is even stronger. It indicates being totally crushed. A contrite heart recognizes the horror of its sinful state and longs for God's mercy. It realizes that it cannot go on without God's healing love, and it throws itself at God's feet. 

And God responds. He will not turn away from a contrite and humble heart. Instead, He raises up that heart, forgives it, heals it, cleanses it, restores it, and wraps it in His loving arms. 

Saturday – A Watered Garden 

Lord, make me a watered garden. Pour out the living water of Your Holy Spirit into my soul to refresh me, heal me, cleanse me, and strengthen me. 

With Your grace, let me grow the roses of love, the lilies of purity, the gardenias of joy, the carnations of cheerfulness, the irises of faith and hope, the lilacs of humility, the chrysanthemums of truth, the hyacinths of sincerity, the wisteria of steadfastness, and daisies of innocence. 

Allow me, Lord, to reflect Your beauty to the world, that fresh greenness of life that You provide in such abundance, the light that radiates down from Heaven. 

Lord, make me Your watered garden, a place where You can rest and an image of Your love. Amen.

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