Tuesday of the First Week of Lent, February 23
May the Spirit of God Help Us to Open Our Minds and Our Hearts, Conforming Our Will to His, Always Focusing on What Truly Pleases Our Most Loving Father.
When I first began reflecting upon today’s Scriptures, I began thinking about our own loved ones, and how we as parents, be it mother or father, can have a positive influence upon the faith experiences which our children develop over time through how they observe us practicing our own faith.
I remember speaking about this in a previous meditation, but I would like to revisit this same idea, only based upon today’s Readings.
For those of us who are parents, when our children are young, we watch over them and nurture them with a parent’s love. We protect them, as best we can, from every harm. And as they begin to grow, we teach them the difference between right and wrong; we teach them what is moral and just; we teach them to respect each person’s dignity and self-worth, and we try to set them on a path which leads to true happiness and personal holiness.
But as we well know, we live in a world, in a cultural society which de-emphasizes family values. We live in a social environment which embraces so much that is unholy, so much that is immoral and unjust. Our children are faced with two opposing philosophies – the one which we give them based upon God’s Truth, and the one which society presents, based upon relativism and selfishness – a way of thinking which is contrary to the mind and will of God.
It is no wonder that devoted parents fear for the well-being of their children, for the seduction and the draw of secularism is very strong in our world today – a thinking, a philosophy, a way of life which perverts all that our Christian faith holds dear and true!
Its pull on young minds, which are impressionable and still in the process of maturing, is immense. It is like a strong magnet, pulling them in directions which we, as loving parents, do not wish them to go. We fear that God’s Truth, and the ideals which we have taught and instilled in our children, will be corrupted through lies and deceptions.
Yet, we hear a promise given to us today from God Himself through the prophet Isaiah, “Just as from the heavens the rain and snow come down and do not return there till they have watered the earth, making it fertile and fruitful…So shall my word be that goes forth from my mouth; It shall not return to me void, but shall do my will, achieving the end for which I sent it.”
In a society in which we, as a faithful people, often find ourselves at odds with the culture within which we live, what oftentimes may appear as a desert filled with suffering and hardships, God promises His faithful children that we shall, in the fullness of His time and in accordance with His will, experience joy and happiness.
For our psalmist tells us today, “When the just cry out, the LORD hears them, and from all their distress he rescues them.”
God reaches out to each of us as a Loving Father, a Father who only wants the best for each of His children. Even if they should wander astray, God is always there, reaching out and continuously beckoning His children to return. He waits patiently with a tender Love, just as the father did who ran to embrace the prodigal son when he returned home.
Our God is a God filled with an indescribable Love for each one of His sons and daughters. And, in today’s Gospel, Jesus gives us the courage to call God our Father. And Jesus often used the Aramaic word “Abba” when addressing His Father – a very intimate and personal word which best translates into English with the form “Daddy”, a term of endearment which a child has for his or her father.
In essence, our Lord desires that we come to know and love His Father as He does, a Father who loves His children more than we could ever possibly imagine in this life.
And in today’s Gospel, Our Lord gives us a very clear example of how to talk to God by teaching us the most perfect prayer – a prayer to our Most Intimate and Most Loving Father, to a Father who only wishes to give to His children, whose hearts are opened and receptive, the very best, to a Father who will not be outdone in His generosity to His faithful children.
It is a prayer which combines heartfelt praises and humble petitions. For many of us, from our early childhood we memorized this prayer – a prayer which evokes a personal conversation of love with our Heavenly Father – a prayer which fosters within each of us an intimate bond, a relationship of love with the Eternal and Divine Creator Himself.
When we begin to slow down our daily pace through life, and when we begin to truly reflect upon each phrase of the “Our Father”, the prayer begins to take on a richness unlike any other prayer in our arsenal of prayers – for remember, it was a prayer given to us by the Eternal and Divine Son of God Himself!
It is the prayer which we pray at every Mass and in the Liturgy of the Hours – which is the prayer of the Church. It is a prayer which is repeated in the Rosary and included in many chaplets and novenas.
When truly prayed from the depths of one’s heart, when reflecting upon each praise and petition, it becomes a song of love from us, His children, to our Heavenly Father, who is the God of Love.
God spoke to us through Isaiah saying, “So shall my word be that goes forth from my mouth; It shall not return to me void…” The “Lord’s Prayer” is truly a fulfillment of this promise.
During this Lenten season, let us pray that the Spirit of God may help us to open our minds and our hearts, so that we may conform our will to His, so that our every thought, our every word and deed may be focused not so much on our own wants and desires as society would dictate, but more on what truly pleases our Most Loving Father in Heaven.
And may God mold and form each of us, including all our children and loved ones, into the image that He wishes us to be, so that our relationship with Him may truly be one of love and adoration –
– a relationship which gives Him the glory, praise and honor which is truly His due! †
Please Comment, Like and Share, and Suggest to your Facebook friends – to spread the message of God’s Merciful Love.
Por favor Comente, Le Gusta y Comparta, y Sugiera a tus amigos en Facebook – en difundir el mensaje del Misericordioso Amor de Dios.
Scripture for the Day
- “For just as from the heavens the rain and snow come down and do not return there till they have watered the earth, making it fertile and fruitful, Giving seed to him who sows and bread to him who eats, So shall my word be that goes forth from my mouth; It shall not return to me void, but shall do my will, achieving the end for which I sent it.” (Isaiah 55:10-11)
- “The righteous cry out, the LORD hears and rescues them from all their afflictions.” (Psalm 34:18)
- “In praying, do not babble like the pagans, who think that they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them. Your Father knows what you need before you ask him.” (Matthew 6:7-8)
- “This is how you are to pray: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread…” (Matthew 6:9-11ff)
- “…you received a spirit of adoption, through which we cry, ‘Abba, Father!’ The Spirit itself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ…” (Romans 8:15b-17a)
- “We have come to know and to believe in the love God has for us. God is love, and whoever remains in love remains in God and God in him.” (1 John 4:16)
- “And we have this confidence in him, that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in regard to whatever we ask, we know that what we have asked him for is ours.” (1 John 5:14-15)
- “As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him.” (Psalm 103:13)
- “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who in his great mercy gave us a new birth to a living hope…” (1 Peter 1:3)
- “…LORD, you are our father; we are the clay and you our potter: we are all the work of your hand.” (Isaiah 64:7)
- “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all consolation.” (2 Corinthians 1:3)
Prayer for the Day
“Most Loving and Merciful Father in Heaven,
you have given me a mind to know You,
a will to serve You, and a heart to love You.
“Give me today the grace and strength
to embrace Your Holy will,
and fill my heart and mind with Your Truth and Love,
that all my intentions and actions may be pleasing to You.
“Help me to be kind and forgiving towards my neighborAnonymous
as You have been towards me.
I humbly ask this in Jesus’ Most Holy Name. Amen.”