Devotional Thought of the Day:
19 And I will give them singleness of heart and put a new spirit within them. I will take away their stony, stubborn heart and give them a tender, responsive heart, 20 so they will obey my decrees and regulations. Then they will truly be my people, and I will be their God. Ezekiel 11:19-20 (NLT)
933 Jesus, may my poor heart be filled from the ocean of your Love, with such big waves that can cleanse me and expel from me all my wretchedness. Pour those most pure and ardent waters of your Heart into mine, until my desires for loving you are fully satisfied and I can no longer hold back my response to your divine ardour. My heart shall surely break then, dying for Love, and pour out that Love of yours which, in irresistible and most fertile, life-giving torrents, will reach other hearts that will beat through contact with these living waters, with the pulsating force of Faith and Charity. (1)
At all times and in every race God has given welcome to whosoever fears Him and does what is right. God, however, does not make men holy and save them merely as individuals, without bond or link between one another. Rather has it pleased Him to bring men together as one people, a people which acknowledges Him in truth and serves Him in holiness. He therefore chose the race of Israel as a people unto Himself. (2)
For many of us, this is the last day before the beginning of Lent.
I’ve already seen people posting on FaceBook and Twitter the things they are going to give up. The usual list appears, chocolate, sugar, alcohol, they’ll read the Bible where they used to watch their favorite television shows, they’ll give up going to the movies, using the money to help those in homeless shelters. Even some have dared say they will give up FB, or Instagram, ( maybe this explains snapchat invitations rising?
People are willing to give up things that do them damage, to attempt to control the cravings that so easily entice them, To enter into a time of discipline, to make sacrifices. Those that have been at it for a while also know they need to replace these things with better habits. If they do not the temptation will rise, and failure will happen like it did with our New Year’s resolutions.
I have a suggestion if you are still looking for something. Even if you have already decided on something, consider this as well. It will be tough; it will be challenging. It will cost you something you are not that willing to give up.
Give up your isolation, your individuality. Give up your defensive walls that have been so carefully erected and protect your pride and self-esteem. Get involved in people’s lives! Let them into your life. Even those with whom you struggle to get along. Talk to them, invite them to sit next to you at church, or go and sit near them. Find ways to let them into your life, and love them.
This isn’t easy, yet for those who trust in Jesus, it is His nature. It will take faith, not in your strength, not in the hope they will change, but in trusting in Jesus promise. Remembering God is with you, right there in those moments, you can depend on His promise, that all will work for good. He knows your love, He chose you, He will take care of you.
It is God’s design, it is how we are to live, not just loving God but loving His people, and all the people whom He would call His own. The words from Vatican II struck me this morning, as did St. Josemaria Escriva’s. The nature of being transformed by God’s love gives us a new heart, a heart from which His love pours out, to those around us.
So go and get involved in that Bible Study, even encourage someone to join you. Take a step of faith and take on a new ministry at church. Buy that homeless guy lunch; talk to that lady sitting by herself at the table next to you as you eat dinner with your family at a restaurant. (Even invite her to join you!)
Trust in God’s love! Know He is with you! See Him in each of those you meet! Then this sacrifice of you, will not seem like a sacrifice at all. It will be a great joy!
(1) Escriva, Josemaria (2011-01-31). The Forge (Kindle Locations 3294-3298). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.
(1) Catholic Church. (2011). Dogmatic Constitution on the Church: Lumen Gentium. In Vatican II Documents. Vatican City: Libreria Editrice Vaticana.