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Saturday, second week of Lent

March 10, 2012

Blessed Saturday!

O God, who grant us by glorious healing remedies while still on earth
to be partakers of the things of Heaven,
guide us, we pray, through this present life
and bring us to that light in which You dwell.
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 for today’s Mass)

Readings:
Micah 7:14-15, 18-20 (God is merciful)
Psalm 103: 1-12 “The Lord is kind and merciful”
+Luke 15:1-3, 11-32 (prodigal son)

God rested after creating man,
and not before,
because He had at last created a being
whom He could have the joy of forgiving.
-St. Augustine

In God’s eyes, forgiveness is all about joy.

Sin robs us of joy.

It exiles us.

[he] set off to a distant country
-Luke 15:13

(…literally, “a great emptiness”)

It deprives us.

he found himself in dire need…
“here I am, dying from hunger”
-Luke 15:14, 17

It demeans us.

He hired himself out to one of the local citizens
who sent him to his farm to tend the swine
-Luke 15:15

That’s about as low as a Jew could get.
God had declared pigs unclean (see Leviticus 11:1-8),
and this one regulation had become something of a rallying-point of Jewish identity.
When the conquering Greeks wanted to abolish the Jewish religion
they tried to force people to sacrifice and eat pigs
(which was really the same thing–most sacrifices were eaten at banquets,
see Exodus 29:31-33, Leviticus 7:1-6, 15-19).
Men, women and children died rather than defile themselves with pigs!
(see II Maccabees 6:18-7:41)

God longs to restore us!

Who is there like You, the God who removes guilt
and pardons sin for the remnant of His inheritance;
Who does not persist in anger forever,
but delights rather in clemency.
-Micah 7:18

God delights in forgiving!
Not for His own sake…but for ours.

We must celebrate and rejoice,
because your brother was dead and has come to life again;
he was lost and has been found.
-Luke 15:32

Forgiveness is the answer to the child’s dream
of a miracle by which what is broken is made whole again,
what is soiled is again made clean.
–Dag Hammarskjold

It’s God’s dream…for us.

He is our Father, vigilantly scanning the horizon
for the slightest hint of our return.
His fatted calf is at the ready;
the finest robe, the shoes, the ring
–He’s planned this day, down to the last detail–
ever since the day we walked away.

The party’s on
the moment we return.

God can’t contain His joy!

We are those whom God has the joy of forgiving.
That is God’s prodigious secret,
as it is that of the Christian, the sinner, the true penitent.
-Community of St. Sévérin, “Confession”

So, then, let us simply contemplate the joy of God.
-Community of St. Sévérin, “Confession”

How does it change your perspective on Confession to realize that it brings God joy?
Is it something you have to take on faith?
How can you share in God’s joy in forgiving?

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