Day Five. Friday, February 21, 2020
Depart from me, Lord, for I am sinful.
Silence. Find a quiet place in your house, at work or school, or best, in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament. Breathe slowly. Relax. Imagine that your cares and concerns are being placed in a box where they will not be forgotten, where you and God can together seek to solve them at the right time. God’s time. At the beginning, it may be helpful to set a timer. Three minutes of silence is probably a minimum. It could seem long at first, but hopefully becomes more peaceful as you get used to the silence. This time of silence and focus on breathing is like stretching before exercise.
Ask God to come into your heart. Ask Jesus to come into your heart. Seeking Jesus is at the heart of all prayer, even if we do not always realize it.
Today’s Scripture. Luke 5:4-8. After he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water and lower your nets for a catch.” Simon said in reply, “Master, we have worked hard all night and have caught nothing, but at your command I will lower the nets.” When they had done this, they caught a great number of fish and their nets were tearing. They signaled to their partners in the other boat to come to help them. They came and filled both boats so that they were in danger of sinking. When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at the knees of Jesus and said, “Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man.”
Today’s Reflection. I sin. I know it. I need to repent from it. And my sin becomes most obvious to me when I compare it to God. God is absolute goodness. Sin is ugly and evil. This is what happened to Simon Peter. He comes right up against the glory of God in the catch of fish, and he knows he needs to make changes in his life.
But Jesus teaches a very valuable lesson to Simon Peter. It is not that Simon Peter will make the changes. When he says, “Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man,” he thinks that the change is all on him. When Jesus does not depart, Simon Peter learns it is all on Jesus. Jesus is the one who will forgive Simon Peter. It is not more effort on the part of Simon Peter, it is more reliance on the grace, mercy and forgiveness of God.
Lent is a time when we are ultimately reminded of the same thing Simon Peter learned. We think Lent is about us: what will I give up, what will I do, what will I take on during this season of Lent. But really it is about what Jesus has given up for us (his life), what Jesus does (the will of the Father) and what Jesus will take on (our sins).
So when you think about what you will do for Lent, do not make it all about you. What does Jesus want to do for you? What do you need to make yourself more available to a deeper relationship with Jesus? How can you remove the barriers that prevent a relationship with Jesus? How can you bring your sin to Jesus so that he can forgive it? Find a priest and go to confession. And pray deeply to Jesus so that you may think about Lent in terms of how you need to think about what Jesus will do if you let him.
Our Father. Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed by the 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 trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. Amen.
Hail Mary. Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.
Glory Be. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
Today’s Challenge. Try to seek God’s forgiveness today. Take a moment to find a priest for the sacrament of confession.
Intentions. Pray for all those who struggle to believe that God can forgive their sins.
Closing Prayer. Dear Jesus, you came to earth as a human to give us an example of complete trust in God. So often it is my lack of trust in your love for me that causes me to sin. I fail to believe that you can forgive me, that your love is more powerful than my sin. But your death on the Cross has won the victory, and your blood washes away my sins. Help me to open my heart more and more to you so that I can learn what it is that you wish to do for me. You have made me in your image. You constantly pour out your grace so that I can be the person you wish me to be. Help me to believe it and accept it. We pray in Jesus name. Amen.