Saturday of the First Week of Lent
“For greater things you were born.” (Ven. Mother Luisita)
SATURDAY, February 27th Mt. 5: 43-48 “Love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your heavenly Father.”
Today’s Gospel Reading…
Jesus said to his disciples:
You have heard that it was said, You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your heavenly Father, for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good, and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust.
For if you love those who love you, what recompense will you have? Do not the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brothers and sisters only, what is unusual about that? Do not the pagans do the same? So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.
- Jesus shows us the way to become perfect, the path to holiness that distinguishes us as children of God: “Love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you.” This is the path of the saints in imitation of Jesus, whose first words from the cross were, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” (Lk.23:34)
SAINT THERESE OF LISIEUX entered the cloister of Carmel at age 15. In the extravagance of her love for Jesus she wanted to do the most heroic deeds for Him! Be a missionary preaching the Gospel. Die a martyr’s death for Him. It was in prayer that the Holy Spirit showed her that her vocation was Love! (The importance of our daily Holy Hour!)
“I understood that Love alone makes its members act, that if this Love were to be extinguished, the Apostles would no longer preach the Gospel, the Martyrs would refuse to shed their blood. I understood that Love embraces all vocations; that Love is all things, that it embraces all times and all places, in a word, that it is eternal!”
“I am a child. It is not riches or glory that this child asks for. She knows but one desire: to love you, Jesus. Glorious deeds are forbidden her; she cannot preach the Gospel or shed her blood. But how shall she show her love, since love proves itself by deeds? Well! the little child will strew flowers, she will surround the royal throne with their fragrance.”
“Yes, my Beloved, I wish to spend my life thus. I have no other means of proving my love except by strewing flowers, that is to say, letting no little sacrifice pass, no look, no word, profiting by the littlest actions, and doing them out of Love.”
“I wish to suffer out of Love and to rejoice out of Love; thus I shall strew flowers before your throne, and in strewing my flowers I will sing, even if my roses must be gathered from among thorns; and the longer and sharper the thorns, the sweeter shall be my song.”
- The proof that she lived this out is reflected in the comment of one of the nuns upon Therese’s death. The nun who caused Therese the most suffering, and whom she struggled to love by many kind acts, said: “I think Therese loved me most.” And because love is shown in deeds, this nun spoke the truth!
- In our prayer today, let us reflect on how we can show our love for Jesus in our thoughts, words and actions in our daily lives. Jesus tells us clearly. Yes! Love your enemies. Yes! Love those who persecute you and speak falsely against you. Yes! Love those who are closest to you and really know how to hurt you! Yes! Love the sinner who knows Christ, and the sinner who doesn’t know Christ. For Jesus loved us while we were yet sinners, even to death on a cross!
- The spirit is willing, but the flesh recoils! Merciful and forgiving love goes against our fallen nature… against our feelings… against our pride!
- Therefore, in our love for Jesus and for the sake of His sorrowful Passion, may we have hearts of mercy and forgiveness for those we live with and those we encounter each day, whether we feel like it or not. This is not hypocrisy, it is heroic virtue, heroic Love – the stuff holiness is made of!
- It is acknowledging that we are all sinners before God! We are all in need of His mercy and we are all recipients of His mercy! Therefore, we we show our love for Jesus by perform charitable deeds and pray for others, especially those who persecute us, to show our love for Jesus. As our hearts become more like His Heart, they soften towards others, and we begin to love them as Jesus loved them from the cross: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” (Lk. 23:34)
SAINT FAUSTINA KOWALSKA… desired to enter into the heart of the Blessed Trinity with this prayer from her Diary: DIVINE MERCY IN MY SOUL. Let us resolve to pray this prayer every day and beg Our Lord to remove our hearts of stone and replace them with hearts of flesh. Therein lies our salvation!
PRAYER TO BE MERCIFUL (Diary of Divine Mercy #163)
O Most Holy Trinity! As many times as I breathe, as many times as my heart beats, as many times as my blood pulsates through my body, so many thousand times do I want to glorify Your mercy.
I want to be completely transformed into Your mercy and to be Your living reflection, O Lord. May the greatest of all divine attributes, that of Your unfathomable mercy, pass through my heart and soul to my neighbor.
Help me, O Lord, that my eyes may be merciful, so that I may never suspect or judge from appearances, but look for what is beautiful in my neighbors’ souls and come to their rescue.
Help me, O Lord, that my ears may be merciful, so that I may give heed to my neighbors’ needs and not be indifferent to their pains and moanings.
Help me, O Lord, that my tongue may be merciful, so that I should never speak negatively of my neighbor, but have a word of comfort and forgiveness for all.
Help me, O Lord, that my hands may be merciful and filled with good deeds, so that I may do only good to my neighbors and take upon myself the more difficult and toilsome tasks.
Help me, O Lord, that my feet may be merciful, so that I may hurry to assist my neighbor, overcoming my own fatigue and weariness. My true rest is in the service of my neighbor.
Help me, O Lord, that my heart may be merciful so that I myself may feel all the sufferings of my neighbor. I will refuse my heart to no one. I will be sincere even with those who, I know, will abuse my kindness. And I will lock myself up in the most merciful Heart of Jesus. I will bear my own suffering in silence. May Your mercy, O Lord, rest upon me.
You Yourself command me to exercise the three degrees of mercy. The first: the act of mercy, of whatever kind. The second: the word of mercy – if I cannot carry out a work of mercy, I will assist by my words. The third: prayer – if I cannot show mercy by deeds or words, I can always do so by prayer. My prayer reaches out even where I cannot reach out physically.
O my Jesus, transform me into Yourself, for You can do all things
Copyright 2021 Oblates of the Virgin Mary
St. Peter Chanel Church, Hawaiian Gardens, CA