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Monday, October 4, 1999

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St. Francis of Assisi

Jonah 1:1—2:1, 11
Jonah 2:2-5, 8
Luke 10:25-37

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living a hell of a life?

Jonah "paid the fare, and went aboard to journey with them to Tarshish, away from the Lord." —Jonah 1:3

Jonah refused to go to the Ninevites and tell them to repent (Jon 1:2ff). When he refused to do God's will, he could not stay where he was; instead, he felt compelled to flee (Jon 1:3). In his flight, Jonah caused a "furious tempest" (Jon 1:4). Next, he was thrown into the sea and swallowed by a large fish, in whose belly he remained for "three days and three nights" (Jon 1:15—2:1). Then Jonah was regurgitated onto the shore (Jon 2:11).

If we say "no" to living with God, we begin living hell. We separate ourselves from God and turn our lives into "a violent wind" and "furious tempest" (Jon 1:4). If we refuse to do God's will, we will feel as if we are drowning and swallowed alive by circumstances beyond our control. In our sin, we live in a cavernous darkness, and like a dog we return to our vomit (see 2 Pt 2:22) until we are thrown up.

"The Lord, indeed, knows how to...continue the punishment of the wicked up to the day of judgment" (2 Pt 2:9). A life of selfishness, disobedience, and sin has its pleasures but also its horrors — not only after death but also before death. Live the only good life. Give your self to Jesus, "the Way, and the Truth, and the Life" (Jn 14:6).

Prayer:  Father, may I repent and do penance as St. Francis of Assisi did.

Promise:  "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself." —Lk 10:27

Praise:  Twice a week, St. Francis visited a local leper colony, bringing them hope and the message of Jesus.

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Ralph J. Lawrence, April 10, 1999

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, April 16, 1999