Hear the prayer of your servants,
-Sirach 36< size="-1">
Creighton University Online Ministries
Weekly Guide for Daily Prayer
Eighth Week of Ordinary Time: Feb. 26 - Mar. 4, 2017
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Eighth Week of Ordinary Time/
Daily Prayer This Week
This brief half week before Lent begins can be a great time for us to reflect upon the journey that each of us is on. We are on the road with Jesus and we sometimes seem to be partially blind. We hear him describe for us how much he wants us to be intimately involved in his self-giving love for others, yet our everyday concerns are too often self-absorbed. And, for the big decisions and small choices we continually face, we seek wisdom, clarity, the path that is just, honorable, even heroic. The readings for this week really can help us shape the desires we talk with our Lord about in the background of our daily journey each day.
We can start by asking for the grace not to be possessed by our possessions. A simple look around will help us get in touch with how attached we are to things that limit our availability to more completely follow Jesus. Even when we know how rewarding it is to follow our Lord, we are tempted to turn it into a temptation. Who doesn't ask, “Who is the greatest?” We need grace this week to be renewed in our conviction that our mission is as servants, placing ourselves at the needs of others before our own. It is difficult to know what we are unable to see. We can ask Jesus to heal our blindness and to allow us to follow him on the road, especially when it leads us to Jerusalem - taking up our crosses, out of grateful love.
Sometimes, the most ordinary of weeks can carry the deepest graces. The “work” we do to “place ourselves” in grace-filled situations is all about focus. It starts in the morning, in getting ourselves to a place in which we can name a need, a desire, which might not be very obvious, even though it is sitting in the center of our hearts. It takes a little practice to get good at this self-examination and humble openness to grace. After a while, it is so fulfilling, because it is so real.
One part of the joy of this journey is coming to realize, to experience personally, that the God I deeply desire to find, wants infinitely more to be in a loving relationship with me. In every Ordinary Time life, there are “good days” and “bad days,” but in this type of daily prayer, none of our days are ever alone.
Then, Lent begins.
For these first four days it will be a great help to set aside some time, even if it means getting up a half an hour earlier each morning, to read about what Lent can mean and to let that soak into our hearts. The key is not to be somber or severe in any way, but to know that this is a time of great grace so that we can be attentive to it. The first thing to remember is that these 40 days are a gift to us. We are not trying to save ourselves by our Lenten practices. God has already saved us. We are only trying to let God get our attention and to give grace a chance to work in us.
These days are critically important for choosing to establish some Lenten patterns. Depending upon our age or health, we will want to do some fasting and abstinence, in regard to food. But, each of us can choose what else we can fast and abstain from during Lent.
What practices of mine get in the way of my being open to hearing God's Word and responding freely? That's what needs transforming. Giving up needing to be right, fasting from my impatience, totally abstaining from escapist fantasies will open our hearts to God's grace. None of that takes extra time. It just takes desire. Adding new acts of kindness, gratitude and love each day for family and friends will open our hearts to the greater acts of charity and generosity for the poor.
Finally, Lent is the perfect time to choose to grow in gratitude. Every night, before going to bed, let us be faithful to giving thanks to the Lord who has given us so many blessings and offers us new graces each and every day.
There are many resources at Praying Lent.
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