20 February 2018 – Tuesday of the First Week of Lent
Isaiah 55:10-11, Psalms 34:4-7, 16-19, Matthew 6:7-15
Isaiah 55:10-11 – “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and return not thither but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes forth from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty but it shall accomplish that which I purpose and prosper in the thing for which I sent it.
Matthew 6:7-15 – “And in praying do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do; for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. Pray then like this:
Our Father who art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come.
Thy will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread;
And forgive us our debts,
As we also have forgiven our debtors;
And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil.
For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father also will forgive you; but if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”
Today we learn another of Lent’s purposes, perhaps the best of all. The Opening Prayer instructs us “Father, look on us, your children. Through the discipline of Lent, help us to grow in our desire for you.” If at Easter, our desire for God is more intense, more demanding, we shall know that our Lent this year, has been a success!
But what nourishes desire for God more than His own word? The more we know about Him, the greater will be our eagerness to possess and be possessed by Him, who is love in person. The desire for God is unlike any other desire. It is its own reward, its own fulfilment but that’s not all. We are satiated but we still yearn for more. Infinite abysses in human hearts demand infinite satisfaction, which is a task that only endless eternity can really gratify. To behold the Face of God!
The prophet Isaiah today provides us with a glorious description of what will happen to us when God’s word becomes our daily nourishment. He compares the word of God to the rain and snow that refresh the land, make it fertile and give life to the seeds planted there. In the same way, God wants His word to refresh our hearts and fertilise the seeds of desire for Him that we so need.
But the best is yet to come. In the Gospel, Jesus tells us that what matters is not the quantity of our responses to God’s words to us, it is the quality. It is not what we say or think when we pray but HOW we say or think what is in our hearts.
Remember how we prayed in the Opening Prayer, ‘Father, look on us your children…..’ He looks at us and we look at Him, with Jesus’ own prayer on our lips and in our hearts! “Our Father, who art in Heaven ……”
It has been said that the Lord’s Prayer is the summary of the Gospel. It is Jesus’ own prayer, so it has to be the perfect prayer. It comes from His heart, it is His personal response to all that the Father is and says to Him.
“In every age, O Lord, you have been our refuge. From all eternity, you are God.” (Entrance Antiphon) Fr E Lawrence OSB _ Daily Meditations for Lent
There is a sermon that is always being preached, not by the tongue of man but by the myriad voices of God’s vast universe. Day and night, without ceasing, in every land, among all peoples, in the universal language of nature – the language that is foreign to none of the children of men – God is preaching His sermon. He is whispering it upon every breeze, booming it with every thunderclap, flashing it upon the clouds with the lightnings. His message is trailing its way in a blaze of fire across the sky “from the rising of the sun to the going down thereof.” All nature is a panorama created to illustrate the sermon of God, painted in colours gay and sombre by turn to catch the fickle eye of man, the spectator. All the universe is one vast stage for the enacting of the drama that God has written. All human history is a pageant, a never-ending procession passing before the bewildered eyes of mankind and upon every banner in that pageant is written the motto that God would have us read. And yet this obvious lesson is one we never learn. The sermon is one to which we will not listen. The pageant passes in review but we gaze as in a stupor, seeing but not understanding. For the sermon, the lesson, the play, the pageant, the spectacle, is “Life and Death.” Father James M Gillis – A Thought a Day for Lent