Catholic Culture Trusted Commentary
Catholic Culture Trusted Commentary
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Lent: February 7th

Thursday After Ash Wednesday

MASS READINGS

February 07, 2008 (Readings on USCCB website)

COLLECT PRAYER

All-powerful Father, You have built Your Church on the rock of Saint Peter's confession of faith. May nothing divide or weaken our unity in faith and love. Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever. Amen.

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Yesterday we began Lent. Today we take up our cross and follow Christ. We are presented with a choice, "Today I have set before you life and prosperity, death and doom. . . Choose life, then, that you and your descendants may live, by loving the Lord, your God, heeding his voice, and holding fast to him."

In her effort to inspire us with courage for the coming battle, the Church puts heroes before our eyes at the very outset of Lent. The first hero is the soldier George, the station saint. He proved himself mightier than the dragon, a thrilling accomplishment. Christ also is challenging the powers of darkness; He must fight the dragon from hell and crush his head. The same holds for the mystical Christ, the Church. Catechumens, penitents, faithful — all must do battle with the dragon. ...Today the fighting proceeds under the flag and leadership of the solider St. George. It is a battle of life or death. Only he who declares total war on the dragon can hope for life in abundance. — The Church's Year of Grace


The Supreme Lover
The Goodness of God means that God gives us what we need for our perfection, not what we want for our pleasure and sometimes for our destruction. As a sculptor, He sometimes applies the chisel to the marble of our imperfect selves and knocks off huge chunks of selfishness that His image may better stand revealed. Like a musician, whenever He finds the strings too loose on the violin of our personality, He tightens them even though it hurts, that we may better reveal our hidden harmonies.

As the Supreme Lover of our soul, He does care how we act and think and speak. What father does not want to be proud of his son? If the father speaks with authority now and then to his son, it is not because he is a dictator, but because he wants him to be a worthy son. Not even progressive parents, who deny discipline and restraint, are indifferent to the progress of their children. So long as there is love, there is necessarily a desire for the perfecting of the beloved.

That is precisely the way God's goodness manifests itself to us. God really loves us and, because He loves us, He is not disinterested. He no more wants you to be unhappy than your own parents want you to be unhappy. God made you not for His happiness, but for yours, and to ask God to be satisfied with most of us as we really are, is to ask that God cease to love.

— Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen