Thursday of the Fourth Week of Lent
Jesus said to the Jews: “If I testify on my own behalf, my testimony cannot be verified. But there is another who testifies on my behalf, and I know that the testimony he gives on my behalf is true. You sent emissaries to John, and he testified to the truth. I do not accept testimony from a human being, but I say this so that you may be saved. He was a burning and shining lamp, and for a while you were content to rejoice in his light. But I have testimony greater than John’s. The works that the Father gave me to accomplish, these works that I perform testify on my behalf that the Father has sent me. Moreover, the Father who sent me has testified on my behalf. But you have never heard his voice nor seen his form, and you do not have his word remaining in you, because you do not believe in the one whom he has sent. You search the Scriptures, because you think you have eternal life through them; even they testify on my behalf. But you do not want to come to me to have life. I do not accept human praise; moreover, I know that you do not have the love of God in you. I came in the name of my Father, but you do not accept me; yet if another comes in his own name, you will accept him. How can you believe, when you accept praise from one another and do not seek the praise that comes from the only God? Do not think that I will accuse you before the Father: the one who will accuse you is Moses, in whom you have placed your hope. For if you had believed Moses, you would have believed me, because he wrote about me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe my words?”
Introductory Prayer: Jesus, the gift of faith permits me to soar higher. I believe in you! I lend myself to this intricate duty of faith, and with a hopeful trust, I leap toward your infinite love. I love you, Lord. I have come to spend this time with you just because I want to be with you.
Petition: Lord, help me to live with purity of intention.
1. Seeking Human Praise: Jesus said, “I do not accept human praise.” Why? His Father deserves all the credit for anything that exists because, after all, he created everything. Knowing and accepting this is indeed a quick path to holiness. Jesus is God, but he leaves us a splendid example of how man should search for God’s glory and not his own. When we look for our own “fan club,” we are really stripping God of the glory that he alone deserves. When we seek praise from men and work hard to be accepted by them, we are standing before a guillotine that severs a head from its body. However, by purifying our intentions and glorifying God alone through all our actions and thoughts, eternal life is merited for us and for many souls.
2. The Proper Motives for Our Deeds: Self-seeking doesn’t work. True, selfless love does. There are some advantages to living a life that seeks only God’s glory. The benefit achieved is order. We learn to maintain the proper hierarchy in our values and to keep things in their place. When parents need to punish a wayward child, their question is: “Are we punishing him because he has done something wrong and needs to be taught a lesson?” Or do they allow their anger to get the best of them, and the punishment then becomes a release valve for their fury? Likewise, in our use of the material goods we have at our disposal, do we use them out of pure love of God or only for our comfort?
3. True Peace of Heart: When children do something wrong, they usually act nervously when their wrongdoing is uncovered. However, when they are mistakenly blamed, they show a convincing innocence, and the accuser retracts in time to avoid harm. The same could be said about purity of intention. If a soul labors only for God’s glory, then a certain guarantee of fulfillment necessarily accompanies his destiny. No matter how many obstacles and misunderstandings might besiege him, the soul who follows God’s will enjoys peace.
Conversation with Christ: Lord Jesus, you teach me in the Gospel to add a supernatural dimension to all my enterprises and efforts. This mortal existence on earth is a mere drop in the ocean compared to eternity that will quickly engulf me. Help me to do all for your greater glory.
Resolution: In my conversations today, I will not brag about myself. I will try to focus the conversation on the interests of others.