Thursday after Ash Wednesday
This Week’s Intention: As Lent begins, we may be open to God’s invitation to grow in mind and heart, learning to live more fully in his truth and more faithfully in his ways.
Today’s Gospel | Luke 9:22-25
Then he said to all, “If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. What profit is there for one to gain the whole world yet lose or forfeit himself?”
Saint Francis of Assisi once wrote, “Above all the grace and the gifts that Christ gives to his beloved is that of overcoming self.” Throughout his ministry, Christ challenged his disciples with the paradoxical call of losing your life in order to save it, of finding yourself by leaving yourself behind. It was a call he would answer with the totality of his own self on Calvary.
In Christian spirituality, this abandoning of one’s self as an act of faith in divine providence is sometimes referred to as kenosis, to empty ourselves of our imperfect wills so as to be filled by the perfection of God’s. Think of it as a letting go of self-delusion. We set aside our ego-driven, confused definitions of who we are and how to live, and open ourselves to being enlightened by God as to the true path and the purpose that our lives are meant to have.
Lent is an invitation to kenosis. We are asked to reflect on our daily lives and to discover the distance that exists between God’s ways and ours. We are asked to begin the journey of closing that distance, and to leave behind those possessions or desires that would hold us back or pull us away. We are asked to overcome the effects of sin in our lives by living as channels of God’s presence and peace. Lent is a time to, with God’s grace, reclaim our best and truest selves.
Eternal Father, you sent your son to reconcile the world to you. In this time of Lent, we pray that we will learn how better to walk in your son’s footsteps of prayer, compassion, and justice. Help us to live all of our lives seeking to become more and more like Christ each day. May the grace with which he blessed us through his suffering and death become our gift to others through our humble service and love of all, especially those who are most in need. We ask this of you who lives and reigns with your Son and the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever. Amen.
St. John Baptist de La Salle, pray for us.
Live Jesus in our hearts forever.