Wednesday of the Fifth Week of Lent



 

“If you remain in my word, you will truly be my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

 

The second of twelve steps for people in recovery reads, “We came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.” The step begins with, “We came….”

Life begins for me when I show up. Perhaps it’s been there for other for a very long time – even billions of years – but it’s only for me when I show up.

As Abraham said, “Here I am.” As Samuel said, “Here I am.” As Isaiah said, “Here I am.”

We came and we stayed. Jesus insists upon it, “If you remain in my word….”

His word is a house where his disciples gather. Staying in his word is more than a one-time born-again moment; it takes dedication, practice and work. The angels may have been saved in that first instant of their existence when they chose God; but the human being, a creature of time, makes that decision only in time, which is measured in years and decades of years.

A teenager who wants to become a professional basketball player spends many hours of free time on the court, practicing dribbling, passes, lay-ups, jump shots and  hook shots -- until the hands, arms, legs and shoulders are re-shaped and retooled specifically for these skills. Wishing upon a star doesn't make it happen; commitment, work, time, sweat, sacrifice and courage might.


Recent studies of brain plasticity show how one’s habits and attitudes can be changed in as little as four months by continual attention and practice. Given another forty years a new way of life becomes second nature.


We become Catholic faith-filled disciples through the practice of prayer, scripture study, attendance at Mass, and the practice of good works. We habitually practice alertness to opportunities to do good and an equal alertness to temptations that might sabotage our efforts. A momentary slip can destroy a lifetime of good works.


We look to our fellow Christians for models of good attitudes, words and deeds. I didn't join the Church to reform them, but that they might reform me!


We watch for opportunities to pray alone and with others. We want to be with the Lord, who is our delight, pleasure and privilege.


We remain in his word to know the truth that sets us free.

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I love to write. This blog helps me to meditate on the Word of God, and I hope to make some contribution to our contemplations of God's Mighty Works.

Ordinarily, I write these reflections two or three weeks in advance of their publication. I do not intend to comment on current events.

I understand many people prefer gender-neutral references to "God." I don't disagree with them but find that language impersonal, unappealing and tasteless. When I refer to "God" I think of the One whom Jesus called "Abba" and "Father", and I would not attempt to improve on Jesus' language.

You're welcome to add a thought or raise a question.