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Tuesday, February 24, 1998

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James 4:1-10
Psalm 55
Mark 9:30-37

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mardi gras or lent?

"Where do the conflicts and disputes among you originate? Is it not your inner cravings that make war within your members?" —James 4:1

Tomorrow, we observe Ash Wednesday and begin the season of Lent. Today, some people observe the custom called Mardi Gras. This is a French expression, meaning "Fat Tuesday." On this day before Lent, some people make provision for the desires of the flesh (see Rm 13:14) and indulge these desires (see 1 Pt 2:11). The results of Mardi Gras as practiced in our times are that people live in darkness (Rm 13:12) and wage war against their own souls (1 Pt 2:11). This inner war due to indulging our inner cravings eventually results in an exterior war marked by conflicts, disputes, murder, envy, quarreling, and fighting (Jas 4:1-2).

Today, we can begin a civil war or prepare to begin Lent. We can submit to God, resist the devil, and cause him to flee (Jas 4:7), or we can submit to our worldly desires, resist God, and be put to flight. We can cleanse our hands and hearts (Jas 4:8) or defile ourselves. We can humbly cry in repentance for our sins or laugh at sin, guilt, and Confession (see Jas 4:9). We can humble ourselves and be exalted, or we can exalt ourselves and be humbled (Jas 4:10). Lent and Mardi Gras don't fit together. Which one do you want?

Prayer:  Father, by Your grace I decide to crucify my "flesh with its passions and desires" (Gal 5:24).

Promise:  "If anyone wishes to rank first, he must remain the last one of all and the servant of all." —Mk 9:35

Praise:  Anna prepares for Lent by going to Confession.

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Robert L. Hagedorn, July 26, 1997

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, July 29, 1997