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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

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St. Polycarp

Isaiah 55:10-11
Psalm 34:4-7, 16-19
Matthew 6:7-15

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the best lent of all

"It shall not return to Me void." —Isaiah 55:11

Lent is less than a week old. Today is our sixth day of fasting (not counting Sunday). Have you had a good start to Lent or are you still celebrating Mardi Gras? Last Wednesday, Ash Wednesday, the Lord commanded us through His word and His Church to give alms, pray, and fast (Mt 6:1ff). Have you obeyed? If you've had a good start to Lent, thank the Lord and pray for perseverance. If you've ignored and disobeyed the Lord, repent and begin Lent now.

This Lent, God's word will do His will for some people and achieve the end for which the Lord sent it (Is 55:11). Yet will you be among those transformed by God's grace this Lent? Will this Lent be the springtime of your life in the Spirit or a continuation of a cold, grim spiritual winter?

We all want to say this Lent will make a difference for ourselves and our world, but we've said that before. Our good intentions seem ruined repeatedly by our human weakness. The good news, however, is that Jesus not only commands us to obey Him this Lent, but also gives us the power to obey. This Lent can be the best Lent of your life. "He Who calls us is trustworthy, therefore He will do it" (1 Thes 5:24).

Prayer:  Father, Your will be done this Lent as it is in heaven (see Mt 6:10).

Promise:  "If you forgive the faults of others, your heavenly Father will forgive you yours. If you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive you." —Mt 6:14-15

Praise:  When asked by his executioners to renounce Jesus, St. Polycarp spoke for Christ by saying, "For 86 years I have been His servant and He has never done me wrong." He accepted his martyrdom as Jesus accepted His cross.

Reference:  (For a related teaching, order our leaflet, Risen Life, or our audio tapes AV 4A-1, AV 4A-3, AV 4B-1, AV 4B-3 or video V-4A, V-4B.)

Rescript:  †Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, August 26, 2009

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