"Honor it by not following your ways, seeking your own interests, or speaking with malice." —Isaiah 58:13
On Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent, we received ashen crosses on our foreheads. On the second day of Lent, Jesus told us to deny ourselves, if we wished to become His disciples (Lk 9:23). On the next day of Lent, the Lord warned us that we would ruin our fasting, if we carried out our own pursuits (Is 58:3). Today, on the fourth day of Lent, the Lord promises we will receive many blessings from fasting, if we do not follow our own pursuits and seek our own interests on the Sabbath (Is 58:13-14). The Lord begins Lent by telling us repeatedly not to "do our own thing."
Levi, the tax collector, did his own thing. He sold his soul and his Jewish people to make money by collecting taxes for the Jews' victorious and oppressive enemy, the Roman Empire. One day Jesus went into Levi's office and invited him to repent of "doing his own thing" (see Lk 5:27). Levi left behind selfishness and sin to become a disciple and apostle of Jesus.
This Lent, Jesus sees us sitting there "doing our own thing." Jesus invites us to leave behind the slavery, emptiness, and boredom of selfishness. Accept Jesus' invitation to freedom and salvation. Today, walk away from preoccupation with self. Walk away with Jesus.
Prayer: Father, not my will but Yours be done (Mt 26:39).
Promise: "Then you shall delight in the Lord, and I will make you ride on the heights of the earth." —Is 58:14
Praise: Warren never persevered in fasting until a young friend suffered an emotional crisis. In love, Warren accepted the grace to fast for his friend.
Reference: (For a related teaching, order our tape on Redemptive Suffering on audio AV 75-1 or video V-75.)
Nihil Obstat: Reverend Robert L. Hagedorn, August 18, 2001
Imprimatur: †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, August 25, 2001