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Thursday, February 26, 2009

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Deuteronomy 30:15-20
Psalm 1
Luke 9:22-25

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self-denial and love

"Whoever wishes to be My follower must deny his very self, take up his cross each day, and follow in My steps." —Luke 9:23

Jesus says those who wish to follow Him must first deny their very selves. The world, however, tells us we should avoid self-denial at all costs. It proclaims that the purpose of life is to maximize our pleasure and minimize our pain. Yet Jesus says living a pleasure-seeking lifestyle is the worst mistake we can make. "Whoever would save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for My sake will save it. What profit does he show who gains the whole world and destroys himself in the process?" (Lk 9:24-25)

If we give up on feeling good, doing our own thing, and having fun, we will discover the true meaning of life. The Lord said: "I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. Choose life" (Dt 30:19). Jesus, not self, is the Meaning of life. We choose life by denying ourselves pleasure and by living in love. We should die for love rather than live for pleasure.

This Lent, the Lord is giving us the opportunity to seek Him first (Mt 6:33) and be crucified to the world (Gal 6:14). Through almsgiving, prayer, and fasting, we can come to the "surpassing knowledge" of Jesus Christ (Phil 3:8). We will then reappraise as loss those things we once considered gain (Phil 3:7). We will rate all as loss and forfeit everything so Christ may be our Wealth (Phil 3:8).

Prayer:  Father, reorder my life according to Your will, no matter how many changes You must make.

Promise:  "Choose life, then, that you and your descendants may live." —Dt 30:19-20

Praise:  Mary and Steven deprived themselves of numerous material goods in order to give their sons a richer legacy: their faith.

Rescript:  †Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, August 11, 2008

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