Thursday after Ash Wednesday – 15 February 2018
Deuteronomy 30: 15-30 – See, I set before you life or death, blessing or curse.
Luke 9: 22-25 – ‘if anyone wants to be a follower of mine, let him renounce himself and take up his cross every day and follow me’.
The readings today put the choice for God or against God in stark and dramatic terms. Choose God and follow His ways and you will be happy and live. Choose against God and you will destroy yourself. The Gospel echoes this in the warning that one can win the world but in the process, lose oneself.
We often hear of good and gifted people who were led to compromise their following of Christ. Something hooked them – whether wealth, prestige, sex or power and gradually led them to start making choices which increasingly led them away from their truest selves. When there are things in our lives which we don’t want others we respect to know about, that is often a clue that something is off-key!
Today we are invited to reflect on our choices. The decision to follow Christ and take up our cross each day is a challenging one and one which is gradually consolidated or undermined every day in each of our choices.
When I think over the last week of my life, does it reflect what I would hope someone would be able to say about me at my funeral?
Is there some area of my life which I feel compelled to keep a secret?
What one good daily action could I choose which could deepen my relationship with God and could manifest that “taking up my cross” each day? (excerpt Fr Nicholas King S.J. ‘The Long Journey to the Resurrection’)
O Holy Spirit of God,
take me as Your disciple;
Bind my hands,
that they may do no evil;
cover my eyes,
that they may see it no more;
sanctify my heart,
that evil may not dwell within me.
Be You my God;
be You my guide.
Wherever You lead me I will go;
whatever You forbid me I will renounce;
whatever You command me, in Your strength, I will do.
Lead me, then,
unto the fullness of Your truth.
Cardinal Henry Edward Manning (1806-1892)
”Prayer a Day for Lent”