Dear Parishioners, +JMJ
Here are some themes – life lessons – that started my Lent in the right direction. The daily readings from the Mass of Thursday after Ash Wednesday included the following lines:
[From Deuteronomy 30:15-21] “See, I have today set before you life and good, death and evil. If you obey the commandments of the Lord, your God, which I am giving you today, loving the Lord, your God, and walking in his ways, and keeping his commandments, statutes and ordinances, you will live….Choose life, then, that you and your descendants may live, by loving the Lord, your God, obeying his voice, and holding fast to him.”
So, from this passage I learn that choosing life means choosing God’s commandments, as a way of loving God and holding fast to Him.
[From Luke 9:23-25] “Then he said to all, “If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. What profit is there for one to gain the whole world yet lose or forfeit himself.”
And, from this passage I learn that saving my life involves losing it for God’s sake. These life themes struck me on that Thursday from the Mass readings. Then I got an e-mail from somebody I have not thought of for years, and his signature included the following line:
“I have found the paradox that if I love until it hurts, then there is no hurt, but only more love.”
– Saint (Mother) Teresa of Calcutta
If agape love is a primary goal in my life – and it is for each of us – then I have learned another life lesson about life in Mother Teresa’s quote. Life should include that love that hurts, and then becomes more love.
Then on that same Thursday after Ash Wednesday, I opened up in my email the Norcia Benedictines update promotional video, about 15 minutes long, where the following is said several times:
“The monk’s task each day is to die to self and worship God….”
Well, it’s really the task of every believer to choose death to self each day, and worship God. What a relief to be reminded of death-to-self. It’s such necessary theme in the spiritual life! Yes, the monks do it in a very particular way, with an intense schedule of liturgical prayer and labor in the community. But I also have to “live” death-to-self every day. And it looks like choosing to love God by following His commandments. And it must involve loving until it hurts and becomes more love. [See above quotes.]
May the Lord Jesus, and the Blessed Virgin Mary help all of us become more alive in this season of Lent!
In cordibus Iesu et Mariae,