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Wednesday, first week of Lent

February 29, 2012

Blessed Ember Wednesday!

Look kindly, Lord, we pray,
on the devotion of Your people,
that those who by self-denial are restrained in body
may by the fruit of good works be renewed in mind.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, forever and ever. Amen.
(Opening Prayer from Mass)

Jonah 3:1-10 (God forgave the Ninevites, who repented on hearing Jonah preach)
Psalm 51:3-19 “A broken, humbled heart, O God, you will not spurn”
+Luke 11:29-32 (Jesus is greater than Jonah–so repent!)

You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.

…but what a relief it is if he does
especially when it’s a matter of life and death!

The divine analog might read,

“You can warn a man of the wages of his sin
but you can’t make him repent.”

That is a matter of life and death–for all eternity!

That’s the position God’s in.
He doesn’t want us to suffer the natural consequences of our sin
but He can’t force us to give it up.
That would be to take away our free will, and He won’t do that.

He’s dying to forgive.
He poured out everything He had to save us from ourselves—
even for those He knew would refuse His gift and damn themselves anyway.
It broke His Heart.

That’s why He was so thrilled when the evil Ninevites repented–
and why He held them up as an example to the people of all ages.
It was such a tremendous relief to Him to spare them! (see Jonah 4)

That’s why we can pray with confidence,

a broken, humbled heart, O God, You will not spurn
-Psalm 51:19

Do you know what it feels like to try to warn someone away from danger,
only to have them reject your attempts and suffer the consequences?
Can you picture God feeling that way over certain areas in your life?
Are you willing to give Him the relief of forgiving and rescuing you?

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