Devotional Thought of the Day:
19 “No longer will the sun be your light by day Or the moon be your light by night; I, the LORD, will be your eternal light; The light of my glory will shine on you. 20 Your days of grief will come to an end. I, the LORD, will be your eternal light, More lasting than the sun and moon. 21 Your people will all do what is right, And will possess the land forever. I planted them, I made them, To reveal my greatness to all.
Isaiah 60:19-21 (TEV)
It isn’t God who must change but the person. This is the obvious goal of prayer, and that is the reason why prayer is the privileged place of exile where the revelation is given, that is, the passage from what one thinks of God to what he truly is.
It is an exodus of purification where we are led by God through the dark night of the exile on the way to the contemplation of his face.
Then, we finally will be changed and transformed into the likeness of Him.
Often it will be an act of real humility and creaturely honesty to stop what we are doing, to acknowledge our limits, to take time to draw breath and rest—as the creature, man, is designed to do. I am not suggesting that sloth is a good thing, but I do want to suggest that we revise our catalogue of virtues, as it has developed in the Western world, where activity alone is regarded as valid and where the attitudes of beholding, wonder, recollection, and quiet are of no account, or at least are felt to need some justification.
Before we explain the Lord’s Prayer sequentially, we must first counsel and entice the people to prayer, just as Christ and the apostles did.2 First, we are obligated to pray because God has commanded it. Thus, we heard in the commandment, “You shall not take God’s name in vain,” that God’s holy name should be praised, called upon, or prayed to in every need. To call upon it is nothing other than praying
It may help to remember these words of Thomas à Kempis in The Imitation of Christ:
“Of what use is it to discourse learnedly on the Trinity, if you lack humility and therefore displease the Trinity? Lofty words do not make a man just or holy; but a good life makes him dear to God. I would far rather feel contrition than be able to define it. If you knew the whole Bible by heart, and all the teachings of the philosophers, how would this help you without the grace and love of God?”
I am hoping you made it through the incredible quotes above, looking forward to finding out where this incredible joy is found. What the “Re” is… are you ready for it?
Yes, you read that right, there is an incredible joy when the Holy Spirit gifts us with repentance. It is freeing, it lifts burdens, it is that wonderful mysterious transformation that God works in us.
It is why Luther urges us to prayer, reminding that this commanded, not for God’s sake, but for ours. For it is in that transformation that we experience that mercy and love of God that causes the repentance to occur.
Repentance, this transformation, finds us with the ability to bhold, wonder and remember the presence of God leaves us stunned, and sometimes, unable to speak, because the grace of God is so wonderful, because it so sets our hearts at ease, our mind cannot proceed. Repentance leaves us in awe, for the work the Holy Spirit crafts turns causes us to reflect and resemble Jesus , something that is beyond our ability to conceive of..
That is why Pope Francis talks of this change in the way he does. As we go from our thoughts and our visions of what a god should be, and it is revealed to us, who God is. He is the One who loves His people, and repentance is that process where experiencing that love changes everything, for it changes us.
Lord, help us not fear this work of Yours that is repentance. Help us to embrace it, to revel in it, for it is an experience where Your love is so manifested in our lives. When we are struggling with sin, grant the desire ofr repentance. in Jesus name. AMEN!
Pope Francis. (2013). A Year with Pope Francis: Daily Reflections from His Writings. (A. Rossa, Ed.) (p. 258). New York; Mahwah, NJ; Toronto, ON: Paulist Press; Novalis.
Ratzinger, J. (1992). Co-Workers of the Truth: Meditations for Every Day of the Year. (I. Grassl, Ed., M. F. McCarthy & L. Krauth, Trans.) (p. 255). San Francisco: Ignatius Press.
Luther, M. (2007). Luther’s Spirituality. (P. D. W. Krey, B. McGinn, & P. D. S. Krey, Eds., P. D. S. Krey & P. D. W. Krey, Trans.) (p. 198). New York; Mahwah, NJ: Paulist Press.
Willard, D., & Johnson, J. (2015). Hearing god through the year: a 365-day devotional. Westmont, IL: IVP Books.
Devotional Thought of the Day:
“Today is holy to the LORD your God. Do not lament, do not weep!”—for all the people were weeping as they heard the words of the law. 10 He continued: “Go, eat rich foods and drink sweet drinks, and allot portions to those who had nothing prepared; for today is holy to our LORD. Do not be saddened this day, for rejoicing in the LORD is your strength!” 11 And the Levites quieted all the people, saying, “Silence! Today is holy, do not be saddened.” 12 Then all the people began to eat and drink, to distribute portions, and to celebrate with great joy, for they understood the words that had been explained to them. Nehemiah 8:9–12 New American Bible. .
10 Think about what the Holy Spirit says, and let yourself be filled with awe and gratitude: Elegit nos ante mundi constitutionem—he chose us before the foundation of the world, ut essemus sancti in conspectu eius!—that we might be holy in his presence. To be holy isn’t easy, but it isn’t difficult either. To be holy is to be a good Christian, to resemble Christ. The more closely a person resembles Christ, the more Christian he is, the more he belongs to Christ, the holier he is. And what means do we have? The same means the early faithful had, when they saw Jesus directly or caught a glimpse of him in the accounts the Apostles and Evangelists gave of him.
As my church has spent Lent considering what repentance is, one thing becomes clearer and clearer. Lent, while a solemn season, while a penitential season, is one filled with joy because it is filled with hope.
As Ezra read the Torah to the people of God, as the Spirit called to mind their sin, there was a grieving that took place, as people considered generation after generation of sin, as well as their own. And yes, a repentant sin does need an examination of conscience, as we approach our confession. But even that confession is done with expectation, clinging to the promise of God’s faithfulness.
We have to remember that a repentant life is a transformed life, a life where God is working on us, recreating us, cleansing us. This work of God, this masterpiece He is creating, is what repentance granted us is really about.
It is getting used to living in the light, as opposed to floundering in the darkness! It is walking around, free in Christ, free to be with Christ, rather than being chained to sin, anxiety, fear, and resentment.
It is the simplicity that St. Josemaria talks of, of simply living life, confident and aware of the presence of God, revealed in His word, communicated in the sacraments. It is when we catch that glimpse and hold onto it, letting everything else fall aside. It is isn’t easy, as our old nature will fight to stay alive, yet it is as easy as realizing we are Jesus’ friends, the Father’s children, His people. And that realization, especially when we know it isn’t right because we don’t we deserve it, but rather is right because God granted us this repentant life.
Repentance is not an act, any more than conversion is, and more than faith is a declaration of our trust. It is a state of being, it is being “the Repentant”, a joyous walk with a God that loves us, and is willing to forgive, showing mercy, and faithful, unending love!
Cry out, “Lord have mercy!” but do it in faith, and in expectation, for you dwell in His presence! AMEN!
Escriva, Josemaria (2011-01-31). The Forge (Kindle Locations 270-276). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.