February 24, 2012
Friday after Ash Wednesday
Listen to the podcast version here.
The disciples of John approached Jesus
and said, "Why do we and the Pharisees fast much,
but your disciples do not fast?" Jesus answered them, "Can
the wedding guests mourn as long as the bridegroom is
with them? The days will come when the bridegroom is
taken away from them, and then they will fast."
Introductory Prayer: Lord, you
know how much I need you and depend on you
for everything. You know my weakness and my faults. I
put all my confidence in your love and mercy. I
wish to trust in your power, your promise, and your
grace every day. Today I intend, with your help, to
follow you along the way of the cross with love
and generosity so as to draw close to you.
Petition: Lord, let
me learn to embrace sacrifice as the way of reparation
1. These Are the Days: Jesus said the time would
come when his disciples would fast. Now that the Lord
has returned in glory to the Father, it is up
to us to continue the work of salvation, “what is
lacking in Christ´s afflictions for the sake of his body,
that is, the church” (Colossians 1:24), as St. Paul says.
We join our sacrifice to that of Jesus in order
to imitate him and bring grace to ourselves and to
others. Every Christian life must incorporate a healthy spirit of
sacrifice and self-denial.
2. Feel the Hunger: The hunger we
experience when we fast is a symbol of the deeper
spiritual hunger we should feel for God and for heaven.
This world often makes us all too comfortable, and we
easily forget that this is not our true home. We
are pilgrims traveling through a foreign land, far from our
final resting place. Fasting reminds us of the longing a
traveler has to reach his destination safely and finally to
rejoice in being home for good. The true Christian looks
forward with hope toward heaven, where he will rest with
God forever in true happiness. He knows that all the
good things this world offers are only shadows of the
wonderful things God has planned for those who love him
(cf. Romans 8:28).
3. Hunger for Souls: From the cross, Jesus said, “I
thirst.” That thirst was for all people to be reconciled
to the Father. It was a thirst for souls to
return to the love of God and find their way
to the heavenly Kingdom. Voluntary sacrifice and self-denial, if we
offer it for the conversion of the hearts of others,
brings them the grace they need to change and turn
back to God. No one can convert himself, and no
one in serious sin can merit his way to the
grace of God. We need to intercede by means of
our personal prayer and sacrifice to gain others the supernatural
grace they need to overcome their obstacles. The greatest act
of charity we can perform and the greatest joy we
can experience is to bring a soul back to the
Lord. How many souls are waiting for our prayer and
Christ: Lord, make me generous and joyful in sacrifice, knowing
that sacrifice unites me closer to you and wins the
grace of conversion for so many souls you love and
for whom you died.
Resolution: I will choose one person I know who
needs God’s grace and offer all my sacrifices today for