Day Nine. Tuesday, February 25, 2020
We will deny Jesus.
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. Matthew 26:31-35. Then Jesus said to them, “This night all of you will have your faith in me shaken, for it is written: ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be dispersed’; but after I have been raised up, I shall go before you to Galilee.” Peter said to him in reply, “Though all may have their faith in you shaken, mine will never be.” Jesus said to him, “Amen, I say to you, this very night before the cock crows, you will deny me three times.” Peter said to him, “Even though I should have to die with you, I will not deny you.” And all the disciples spoke likewise.
Today’s Reflection. Our faith is easy, until of course, it isn’t. It is like when I think of all of the things I will do the next morning. I can get up early, with lots of energy, and get so much accomplished. That would work if I were a morning person. But I am not. So despite all of my best intentions, I often do none of the things I intended.
Maybe that is why I have such a soft spot for Peter in my heart. He means well. I believe when he says he will suffer with Jesus, even die with him, he means it at that time. But when the time comes, he cannot bring himself to follow through. We know that despite his good intentions, Peter will deny Jesus.
Why is this? Because Peter spends all his energy on what he will do. He does not surrender to what Jesus can do. He will. We know that. He will surrender to Jesus, after three times affirming his love for Jesus and receiving the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. He shows he has learned this when he acknowledges that all he has is Jesus. He has no silver or gold, but he has Jesus, and that he can share.
Since we are on the cusp of beginning Lent, this is the place where we end. We need to spend time figuring out what we need to do to open ourselves to letting God do more. We will fail. We will sin. We will deny Jesus. But he will love us still. He will offer us forgiveness when we are contrite, he will once again remind us, as he did Peter, that we love him.
We need to decrease so that Jesus may increase. That is the purpose of Lent. That is why we “give something up” or “take something on.” It is so that Jesus may increase in our lives. It is so that we might be in a stronger relationship with 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. Discover today what it is God calls you to do this Lent to pray, fast and give alms.
Intentions. May the Lord Jesus help all to know the power of his love and to open themselves to that love. Amen.
Closing Prayer. Lord Jesus, as we prepare to celebrate the season of Lent, help us to acknowledge our sins, and to seek the ways we need to grow closer to you. Help us to love you more, help us to seek out your forgiveness, and help us to love you and our neighbor. Help us to let you increase in our hearts. Give us the apostolic zeal to share the Good News with all we meet. Give us the courage to share our faith with others, to invite them into a relationship with you. We pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Ready or not, Lent starts tomorrow. Hopefully you have tilled your soil so that you may celebrate Lent in a way that helps you to embrace the love that God has for you, and to find a way to live in that love. Maybe you have found one specific way you wish God to help you in making more holy. Perhaps you have identified people in your life who need to receive your love in a more specific way. It may even be the case that you know persons who long to hear from you what God in his goodness has done.
Lent calls everyone to pray, to fast, and to give alms. The soil of your heart is ready. God is ready. Let’s have a great Lent and go closer to Jesus who saves. Amen.