19 February 2018 – Monday of the First Week of Lent
Leviticus 19:1-2, 11-18, Psalms 19:8-10, 15, Matthew 25:31-46
Levitus 19:1-2 – And the Lord said to Moses, “Say to all the congregation of the people of Israel, You shall be holy; for I the Lord your God am holy.
Matthew 25:34-36 – Then the King will say to those at his right hand, ‘Come, O blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’
We are definitely off now. Lent has really begun.
It begins with a programme for us, proposed by God Himself!
Deeper holiness, more evident godliness is the aim of Lent for us and for whole Church.
Ultimately, the litmus test of our faith is in how we respond to those in need: the hungry, the lonely, the stranger, the sick and the prisoner. We could add to this list – those who are survivors of abuse, refugees looking for a place of safety and many who so despair in finding work.
God identifies with all these so powerfully. What we do or neglect to do for those in need is our response to God.
Sometimes we may feel a sense of ‘compassion fatigue’ – the whole world seems to be such a huge mess and there is so much need all around us. How, where do we begin? It may just feel easier to close our eyes to it. And too, we may experience fear for our own safety.
But despite these obstacles, God is challenging us. Often there are simple things that can make a big difference – a smile, a word of conversation and encouragement, soup delivered to a family in need, a visit to an elderly neighbour. If we try it, because God is God, we shall find that we receive far more than we give! Be not afraid, for I am with you! “The Lord will overshadow you and you will find refuge under his wings” (Communion Antiphon for today).
Can I slow down enough today to be fully present to someone in need – even just with a smile and a little chat?
What is my biggest obstacle in reaching out to others?
What grace do I most need from God?
(Excerpt Fr Nicholas King SJ – The Lenten Journey to Easter & The Long Journey to the Resurrection)
Prayer to do the Will of God
By St Francis of Assisi
Almighty, eternal, just and merciful God,
grant us in our misery, the grace to do for You alone
what we know You want us to do
and always to desire, what pleases You.
Thus, inwardly cleansed, interiorly enlightened
and inflamed by the fire of the Holy Spirit,
may we be able to follow in the footprints of
Your beloved Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.
And, by Your grace alone, may we make our way to You,
Most High, Who live and rule in perfect Trinity and simple Unity
and are glorified God all-powerful, forever and ever.
(From “A Letter to the Entire Order”)