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Home Sections The Daily B.R.E.A.D. February 25, 2009 - Ash Wednesday Meditation (Worshipping YourSelf?)
February 25, 2009 - Ash Wednesday Meditation (Worshipping YourSelf?) PDF Print E-mail
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Sections - The Daily B.R.E.A.D.
Monday, 23 February 2009 22:14
When we act "religious" for the sake of those around us, we are in fact worshipping ourselves. Often, this self-serving attitude leads us to develop a pride that separates us from the Father. It is here that we are usually reminded of our brokenness and need for renewal.
 

 

Ash Wednesday

Jl 2:12-18
Ps 51:3-4, 5-6ab, 12-13, 14 and 17
2 Cor 5:20-6:2

Mt 6:1-6, 16-18  (1) "Beware of practicing your piety before men in order to be seen by them; for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in  heaven. (2) "Thus, when you give alms, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by men. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. (3) But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, (4) so that your alms may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you. (5) "And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by men. Truly, I say to you, they have received  their reward. (6) But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward  you. (16) "And when you fast, do not look dismal, like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by men. Truly, I  say to you, they have received their reward. (17) But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, 18 that your fasting may not be seen by men but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

Old Testament Reading: Joel 2:12-18

(12) "Yet even now," says the Lord, "return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; (13) and rend your hearts and not your garments." Return to the Lord, your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love, and repents of evil.


Meditation by Eddie Sato (Creighton)

How often do we find ourselves turning away from God? Given the nature of our human hearts, we seem to constantly be oscillating between God's will and our own selfish desires. Just as St. Paul struggled, so are we caught in a never ending battle between God's law and the law of sin. Praise be to God, then, for His infinite and redemptive mercy! As the readings remind us today, God is gracious and patient though we are unfaithful and combative. He is constantly forgiving us and waiting for our contrite hearts to return to Him. How can this be? Growing up we are taught that "it's three strikes and you're out!" or even worse, "there are no second chances." Why, then, would God be willing to take us back over and over again?

As Paul reminds us in the second reading, God gave us the ministry of reconciliation by first reconciling Himself to the world through Christ. We have been called to be "ambassadors for Christ" and, as such, must work unceasingly to reconcile all people to God; this is His ultimate desire. However, before we can even begin to accomplish this task, Paul urges us to reconcile ourselves to God. It is with renewed commitment and a steadfast spirit that we are able to carry out the will and work of God. However, as the Gospel reading tells us, it is in the secret of our hearts that we return to God. This most intimate act of contrition must never be violated by seeking to bring glory to ourselves. When we pray and fast, or do anything for that matter, our actions should always bring glory to God, for it is He who moves in us to do these things. When we act "religious" for the sake of those around us, we are in fact worshipping ourselves. Often, this self-serving attitude leads us to develop a pride that separates us from the Father. It is here that we are usually reminded of our brokenness and need for renewal. As always, God is forever merciful, but it is in the innermost sanctuary of our hearts that He stands waiting to receive us. Be still and know that He is the God of endless mercy and reconciliation.
 

Supplementary Reading
Positively Shocking Love by  Sheila Schuller Coleman

"Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever." - 1 Chronicles 16:34
 

I loved sitting on Dad's lap after dinner when he sank into his favorite easy chair. One night I noticed a light bulb was missing from the adjacent pole lamp used for reading. Out of curiosity I stuck my finger into the empty socket.

Dad yelped and jumped up, nearly dumping me onto the floor.

"Sheila, why did you do that?" Dad asked sternly.

"I didn't know it would hurt," I confessed.

My curiosity hurt both of us. The electric current flowed from the socket through my finger to my dad.

How often has your curiosity hurt not only you, but also your earthly father and even your Heavenly Father? In truth, when you hurt, God hurts. It is impossible to make a hurtful mistake without hurting others.

God's love is shocking in power and endurance. Nothing can separate you from your Heavenly Father. That is positively shocking!
 

* * *

Have you ever struggled with "separation anxiety"? Remember this: Nothing can separate you from the love of your Heavenly Father. Take time today to thank him for the wonderful constancy of his love.

* * *
 

 

This excerpt was taken from the
"Power for Life Daily Devotional



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Last Updated on Tuesday, 24 February 2009 07:53
 

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