Wednesday, February 20, 2008


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Prayer and Devotions

Going the Distance for Christ
by Father Todd Arsenault, LC

Resolution: Offer up today’s inconveniences so as to be united to Christ who suffered for you.

February 20, 2008
Wednesday of the second week of Lent

Matthew 20: 17-28
As Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, he took the Twelve disciples aside by themselves, and said to them on the way, "Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be handed over to the chief priests and the scribes, and they will condemn him to death, and hand him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and scourged and crucified, and he will be raised on the third day." Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee approached him with her sons and did him homage, wishing to ask him for something. He said to her, "What do you wish?" She answered him, "Command that these two sons of mine sit, one at your right and the other at your left, in your kingdom." Jesus said in reply, "You do not know what you are asking. Can you drink the cup that I am going to drink?" They said to him, "We can." He replied, "My cup you will indeed drink, but to sit at my right and at my left, this is not mine to give but is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father." When the ten heard this, they became indignant at the two brothers. But Jesus summoned them and said, "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and the great ones make their authority over them felt. But it shall not be so among you. Rather, whoever wishes to be great among you shall be your servant; whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave. Just so, the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many."

Introductory Prayer: I come before you, Lord, a sinner in awe of your great love and mercy. Who am I that you allow me to know you so personally? You have given me yourself, what more could I ask for? I put you at the center of my life. I humbly put all that I am before you and, like the apostles, recognize my littleness before your grandeur. With the help of the Blessed Mother’s intercession, I place this meditation into your hands, trusting that you will give me the graces that I need most.

Petition: Lord, help me to recognize my complete dependence on you for grace to live according to your will. Help me to detach myself more each day from the enslaving clutches of sin and vice in my life.

1. The Life of Sacrifice Jesus is revealing to his disciples that he will have to suffer and die at the hands of sinners, but then be raised on the third day. For the disciples this is a rude awakening. Is this the Messianic King? How can he be King and suffer such a cruel and humiliating death? It seems so out of place. In another scripture St. Peter goes so far as to rebuke the Lord after he says this. However, this is the road that the true Messiah must follow in order to defeat sin and death. Jesus is not saying these things just to impress us, but to invite us to accompany him in faith and out of love so as to enjoy paradise with him forever.

2. Put to the Test James’ and John’s mother asks a special favor of Jesus for her two boys: that they sit one on his right and one on his left in his Kingdom. Jesus puts them to the test by asking them if they are capable of drinking from the same chalice of suffering for the Kingdom. They answer “yes,” but it is an important lesson for us to learn. In order to bear abundant fruit, we must embrace the ‘Via Crucis’ – the Way of the Cross – with Christ, we must be united to his will. It won’t be easy, and quite frequently we will hear the words of Jesus ringing in our ears: “How much do you really love me? Can you drink the cup that I am going to drink?”

3. Dependence on God’s Grace In order to do anything for Christ, we must be men and women of prayer and sacrifice. Only with God’s grace, which comes to us especially in these two ways, can we truly follow and imitate Christ in our lives. It takes a humble soul to embrace Christ’s challenge, but with God’s grace we can be faithful and persevere in this commitment. Dependence on Christ isn’t a sign of weakness; it is a sign of being realistic and of admitting honestly, with all sincerity of heart, that we can’t be saints without his grace and help.

Conversation with Christ: Christ, you joyfully embraced suffering and the cross, thus making them into instruments of my salvation. Help me to lovingly embrace them, with the aid of your grace, so as to unite myself more fully to you and to die to myself. You call me to embrace you fully, without limits. I want this with all my heart. I surrender all my worries and insecurities to you so that you can enable me to live entirely for you.

Resolution: I will offer up today’s inconveniences so as to be united to Christ who suffered for me.

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