Just remind your children every day that you love them, that you believe in them. There is great power in the love of a parent. They do not need things to be happy. . . . They need to know your heart.
-from Lent with Saint Teresa of Calcutta
"Happiness can only be achieved by looking inward and learning to enjoy whatever life has, and this requires transforming greed into gratitude." — St. John Chrysostom
✞MEDITATION OF THE DAY✞
"I would, then, that I could convince spiritual persons that this road to God consists not in a multiplicity of meditations nor in ways or methods of such, nor in consolations, although these things may in their own way be necessary to beginners; but that it consists only in the one thing that is needful, which is the ability to deny oneself truly, according to that which is without and to that which is within, giving oneself up to suffering for Christ's sake . . . For progress comes not save through the imitation of Christ, Who is the Way, the Truth and the Life, and no man comes to the Father but by Him." — St. John of the Cross, p. 91 AN EXCERPT FROM Ascent of Mt Carmel
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ST. JOHN OF GOD
St. John of God (1445-1550) was born in Portugal to poor and devout Christian parents. How he came to be separated from them and homeless at the age of 8 is uncertain, but he eventually found work as a shepherd until the age of 22. At that time he enlisted as a soldier in the Roman Emperor's army to escape an offer of marriage to the shepherd's daughter. There he led a wild and dissolute life; fond memories of his parents is all that kept the spark of faith alive in his heart. At the age of 40 he left the army and reformed himself, beginning with a penitential pilgrimage to St. James of Compostella (The Way of St. James) in Spain. Appalled at his sinful and wasted life, he was determined to spend his remaining days in good works. He was affirmed in this direction by a vision of the Infant Jesus and a sermon of St. John of Avila, who was to become his spiritual director. He later dedicated his life in service of the poor, homeless, and sick, especially the mentally ill, by starting a hospital and homeless shelter. Many people were attracted to him and his work, and he organized his followers into the Order of Hospitallers. They were approved by the Holy See as the Brothers Hospitallers of St. John of God, which still exists to this day. St. John of God is the patron saint of many causes, especially of hospitals, hospital workers, nurses, the sick, and the dying. His feast day is March 8. See More About This Saint >
The word of the LORD came to Jonah a second time: "Set out for the great city of Nineveh, and announce to it the message that I will tell you." So Jonah made ready and went to Nineveh, according to the LORD's bidding. Now Nineveh was an enormously large city; it took three days to go through it. Jonah began his journey through the city, and had gone but a single day's walk announcing, "Forty days more and Nineveh shall be destroyed," when the people of Nineveh believed God; they proclaimed a fast and all of them, great and small, put on sackcloth.
When the news reached the king of Nineveh, he rose from his throne, laid aside his robe, covered himself with sackcloth, and sat in the ashes. Then he had this proclaimed throughout Nineveh, by decree of the king and his nobles: "Neither man nor beast, neither cattle nor sheep, shall taste anything; they shall not eat, nor shall they drink water. Man and beast shall be covered with sackcloth and call loudly to God; every man shall turn from his evil way and from the violence he has in hand. Who knows, God may relent and forgive, and withhold his blazing wrath, so that we shall not perish." When God saw by their actions how they turned from their evil way, he repented of the evil that he had threatened to do to them; he did not carry it out.
Responsorial Psalm Ps 51:3-4, 12-13, 18-19 R. (19b) A heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn. Have mercy on me, O God, in your goodness; in the greatness of your compassion wipe out my offense. Thoroughly wash me from my guilt and of my sin cleanse me. R. A heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn. A clean heart create for me, O God, and a steadfast spirit renew within me. Cast me not out from your presence, and your Holy Spirit take not from me. R. A heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn. For you are not pleased with sacrifices; should I offer a burnt offering, you would not accept it. My sacrifice, O God, is a contrite spirit; a heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn. R. A heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn.
Verse Before the Gospel Jl 2:12-13 Even now, says the LORD, return to me with your whole heart for I am gracious and merciful.
Gospel Lk 11:29-32
While still more people gathered in the crowd, Jesus said to them, "This generation is an evil generation; it seeks a sign, but no sign will be given it, except the sign of Jonah. Just as Jonah became a sign to the Ninevites, so will the Son of Man be to this generation. At the judgment the queen of the south will rise with the men of this generation and she will condemn them, because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and there is something greater than Solomon here. At the judgment the men of Nineveh will arise with this generation and condemn it, because at the preaching of Jonah they repented, and there is something greater than Jonah here."
God saw by their actions how they turned from their evil way. (Jonah 3:10)
If you want proof that actions speak louder than words, you don't have to look any further than the story of Jonah. God had sent Jonah to preach God's judgment against the people of Nineveh. Upon hearing Jonah's words, the king declared a fast of repentance for himself and all his subjects. And seeing their response, God forgave the people and spared their city. He did it because the Ninevites didn't just say they were sorry; they took action to show their intention to change.
This story gives us some insights into the Sacrament of Reconciliation, especially the value of "doing penance." The Church teaches that the sacrament is not complete until we have shown the Lord that we intend to change—through an act of penance. It isn't that God doubts our contrition. Rather, he knows that true contrition shows itself in our attempt to make amends and avoid situations that lead us to sin. Our actions outside the confessional speak louder—and more eloquently—than our words inside.
Does this mean that in addition to confessing our sins, we still have to work in order to receive forgiveness? Yes and no. A better way to say it is that we need to respond when the Holy Spirit calls us to change. At its heart, both conviction of sin and the desire for God's forgiveness are the Spirit's work. But that conviction is more like an invitation than a wave of a magic wand. We still need to own up to our sin, confess it to the Lord, and show him that we want to change.
So yes, it's up to us to confess our sins and do penance. It's up to us to change our actions so that they correspond to our words. But it's also up to God to change our hearts and to give us grace to help us make these changes.
The good news is that God loves to do this! He wants to bring us into new life. He wants to give us a share in his power and his grace to start over. That's a great deal!
"Holy Spirit, pierce my heart so that my repentance bears fruit in action."
Psalm 51:3-4, 12-13, 18-19 Luke 11:29-32
my2cents: The Lord said to Jonah: ""Set out for the great city of Nineveh, and announce to it the message that I will tell you." The great city, He says. He believes they can change, even though Jonah didn't. Jonah wanted to see it destroyed, pulverized for all the evil they were doing in that city, all that debauchery, all that disobedience, Jonah wanted nothing to do with God's message to them...of a chance to be saved. And God is merciful with Jonah too, sparing his life when thrown into the sea and swallowed up by the creatures of the sea and spit out like a new Adam on the beach, he set out like a new man in obedience, preaching "Repent!" and in one day the huge city repented. Everyone in the story repented...and you? What about me? Have I anything to repent from? Have you no sins? Because we can think of things in the abstract, but the reality is, God is talking to you...and to me.
Let us pray "A heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn. Have mercy on me, O God, in your goodness; in the greatness of your compassion wipe out my offense. Thoroughly wash me from my guilt and of my sin cleanse me." Pride hides sin. How so? Lies. That what separates us from God. So many false ways of living. So many ways to depart from our Lord. So many...gods, as one reflection put it today, things that lure us and trap us, gods like "economy, science, technology, consumerism, diversion, beauty, fads, art, pleasure and power". And the best one of these is diversion, because it is simply put, to divert from God. When Jonah said repent, their lives changed, and their lives were spared. But Jesus has something even more important to save...souls.
Our Lord says ""This generation is an evil generation; it seeks a sign, but no sign will be given it, except the sign of Jonah." The new Adam has arrived and He is all about our Spiritual life, our eternity hinges on every Word He speaks and every word we consume from Him. If you want a sign, look to the crucifix, the cross where He was nailed to. The sign will speak to you. Repent. Repent and sin no more. Repent, I Am waiting. My heart is poured out for you, every last drop of blood, for you. I love you. How many times has God said "I love you" and how many times have I responded? And don't just say it with words but by actions. Love is an action in eternity. Love is not an idea. Love is God in Action. God did not send His Son to sit around, He was in Action, in love. Jesus didn't leave to sit down, but to send the Holy Spirit and to this day, the Holy Spirit of God is in action. How in the world do you think these words have come into your life? It is the Holy Spirit in action. I believe in the God, The Son and the Holy Spirit. I believe in this action that aims for a re-action. A heart reaching out to another heart. Make lent special by making God special. Repent and believe and sin no more.
Throw in an extra fast today. Don't drink that drink you like. Don't gossip, but raise up that person. Don't eat that food or sweet you like. Offer something to someone, even a smile, or a hug, or an "I Love You". Repent means everything. Deny here and offer there. Lose one's life to save it. In the ancient world, "oikonomia" means basically "household management" the laws, and we are speaking in theology about God's house and laws, and in His view, it is about what is at hand...His Kingdom...Salvation And it has come upon your household this day