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Friday, third week of Lent

March 12, 2010

Blessed Friday!

Merciful Father, fill our hearts with Your love
and keep us faithful to the Gospel of Christ.
Give us the grace to rise above our human weakness.
Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
Who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
(Opening Prayer for today’s Mass)

Hosea 14: 2-10 (if we return to God, He will save us)
Psalm 81:6-11, 14, 17 “I am the Lord, your God: hear My voice”
+Mark 12:28-34 (love of God and neighbor are the greatest commandments)

Jesus replied: ‘This is the first [commandment]:
“Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is Lord alone!
Therefore you shall love the Lord your God
with all your heart,
with all your soul,
with all your mind,
and with all your strength” (Mark 12:29-30)

“If you love me, keep My commandments” (John 14:15).

What part of your being is not completely given over to God alone–
and to the keeping of His commandments?
What have you kept for yourself, or given over to someone or something else?

Are you, like Israel, relying on social/political connections to save you?
What about possessions?
“Assyria will not save us, nor shall we have horses to mount” (Hosea 14:4).

Are you counting on your own efforts and abilities for your well-being and security?
“We will say no more ‘our god’ to the work of our hands” (Hosea 14:4).
Do you use your strength to build God’s Kingdom–or your own?

What about your heart? Is your commitment to God and to His law whole-hearted?
Do you follow your heart as if it were a god?

Do you love God with your whole mind?
Do you live as though you know better than God how to run your life?
Do you apply your mind to everything except delving more deeply into His truths?

However we fail to keep this most important of all commandments,
our failure will lead to our collapse. “…you have collapsed through your guilt” (Hosea 14:2).
No one and nothing apart from God can bear the full weight of our need
without buckling beneath us sooner or later (“without Me you can do nothing”, John 15:5).
By choice or by necessity, we will be cast upon Him.
He urges us to come willingly: “Take with you words, and return to the Lord!” (Hosea 14:2), assuring us that we have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
“I will heal their defection, I will love them freely; for My wrath is turned away from them.
I will be like the dew for Israel; he shall blossom like the lily” (Hosea 14:5-6).

That’s what God wants for us. That’s why He commands us, first and foremost,
to root ourselves utterly and entirely in Him, and in nothing else.
When we ground our being wholly in God, then we grow. Then we “blossom like the lily”.
“He who lives in Me and I in him, will produce abundantly” (John 15:5, emphasis added).
Now that’s the good life!

May we prune out of our lives everything that saps our union with the Most High God.

Yours with pruning shears…

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