Daily Devotional for Lent 2019 | First Week of Lent

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First Week of Lent: Ready for a New Conversion

“’He that dwells in the aid of the Most High, shall abide under the protection of the God of heaven.’ This is the risky security of the Christian. We must be convinced that God hears us, that he is concerned about us. If we are, we will feel completely at peace. But living with God is indeed a risky business, for he will not share things: he wants everything. And if we move toward him, it means we must be ready for a new conversion, to take new bearings, to listen more attentively to his inspirations — those holy desires that he provokes in every soul — and to put them into practice.

“Since our first conscious decision really to follow the teaching of Christ, we have no doubt made good progress along the way of faithfulness to his word. And yet isn’t it true that there is still much to be done? Isn’t it true, particularly, that there is still so much pride in us? We need, most probably, to change again, to be more loyal and humble, so that we become less selfish and let Christ grow in us, for ‘He must become more and more, I must become less and less.’

“We cannot stay still. We must keep going ahead toward the goal St Paul marks out: ‘It is not I who live, it is Christ that lives in me.’ This is a high and very noble ambition, this identification with Christ, this holiness. But there is no other way if we are to be consistent with the divine life God has sown in our souls in baptism. To advance we must progress in holiness. Shying away from holiness implies refusing our Christian life its natural growth. The fire of God’s love needs to be fed. It must grow each day, gathering strength in our soul; and a fire is maintained by burning more things. If we don’t feed it, it may die.

“Remember what St Augustine said: ‘If you say “enough,” you are lost. Go further, keep going. Don’t stay in the same place, don’t go back, don’t go off the road.’ Lent should suggest to us these basic questions: Am I advancing in my faithfulness to Christ, in my desire for holiness, in a generous apostolate in my daily life, in my ordinary work among my colleagues?

“Each one of us, silently, should answer these questions, and he will see that he needs to change again if Christ is to live in him, if Jesus’ image is to be reflected clearly in his behavior. ‘If any man has a mind to come my way, let him renounce self, and take up his cross daily and follow me.’ Christ is saying this again, to us, whispering it in our ears: the cross each day. As St Jerome puts it: ‘Not only in time of persecution or when we have the chance of martyrdom, but in all circumstances, in everything we do and think, in everything we say, let us deny what we used to be and let us confess what we now are, reborn as we have been in Christ.’

“It’s an echo of St Paul’s words: ‘Once you were all darkness. Now, in the Lord, you are all daylight. You must live as children of the light. Where light has its effect, men walk in all goodness, holiness and truth, seeking those things which please God.’

“Conversion is the task of a moment; sanctification is the work of a lifetime. The divine seed of charity, which God has sown in our souls, wants to grow, to express itself in action, to yield results which continually coincide with what God wants. Therefore, we must be ready to begin again, to find again — in new situations — the light and the stimulus of our first conversion. And that is why we must prepare with a deep examination of conscience, asking our Lord for his help, so that we’ll know him and ourselves better. If we want to be converted again, there’s no other way.”

St. Josemaria Escriva
Christ is Passing By, no. 58

The St. Josemaria Institute Daily Devotional for Lent 2019
Brief Lenten readings to help you spend 10 – 15 prayerful minutes with our Lord

  • Slowly read the Gospel of the day and the point for meditation from the devotional (links below).
  • Reflect on what you’ve read: What strikes you? What do you see, hear, and feel? What is God asking of you?
  • Listen attentively to what God is saying to you.
  • Be renewed and begin again, following these new inspiration and desires that God provokes in your soul.

First Sunday of Lent

Today’s Readings:

“One does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes forth from the mouth of God.” (Mt 4:4b)

As the first week of Lent begins, ask God to renew and increase your faith because: “It’s a pity to see how frequently many Christians have it on their lips and yet how sparingly they put it into their actions. You would think it a virtue to be preached only, and not one to be practiced” (The Way, no. 579).

Monday of the First Week of Lent

Today’s Readings:

“Behold, now is a very acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” (2 Cor 6:2b)

When you make your resolution to serve God in those who hunger and thirst, remember: “There are some who pass through life as through a tunnel: they fail to realize the splendor and the security and the warmth of the sun of faith” (The Way, no. 575).

Tuesday of the First Week of Lent

Today’s Readings:

“One does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes forth from the mouth of God.” (Mt 4:4b)

Today, after slowly praying and reflecting on the words of the Our Father, make “an act of complete correspondence to the will of God: Is that what you want, Lord? Then it’s what I want also!” (The Way, no. 762).

Wednesday of the First Week of Lent

Today’s Readings:

“Even now, says the Lord, return to me with your whole heart for I am gracious and merciful.” (Jl 2:12-13)

If you are truly seeking our Lord and signs of His calling in your life, just remember: “’Go, preach the gospel… I will be with you.’ Jesus has said this, and he has said it to you” (The Way, no. 904).

Thursday of the First Week of Lent

Today’s Readings:

“A clean heart create for me, O God; give me back the joy of your salvation.” (Ps 51: 12a,14a)

Ask God the Father, especially during this Lent, to help you in your daily efforts to be little. Because “the great daring is always that of children. Who cries for the moon? Who won’t stop at danger to get what he wants? Put in such a child a great deal of God’s grace, the desire to do God’s will, a great love for Jesus and all the human knowledge he is capable of acquiring, and you’ll have a likeness of the apostles of today just as God undoubtedly wants them” (The Way, no. 857).

Friday of the First Week of Lent

Today’s Readings:

“Cast away from you all the crimes you have committed, says the Lord, and make for yourselves a new heart and a new spirit.” (Ez 18:31)

As you accompany our Lord today along the Way of the Cross, ask him for the grace to: “Force yourself, if necessary, always to forgive those who offend you, from the very first moment. For the greatest injury or offense you can suffer from them is nothing compared to what God has forgiven you” (The Way, no. 452).

Saturday of the First Week of Lent

Today’s Readings:

“Behold, now is a very acceptable time; behold now is the day of salvation.” (2 Cor 6:2b)

In your daily effort to be perfect, just as your Heavenly Father is perfect (Mt 5:48), turn to Mary and “say to her: Mother of mine…may your love bind me to your Son’s cross; may I not lack the faith, nor the courage, nor the daring, to carry out the will of our Jesus” (The Way, no. 497).

Continue to the Devotional for the Second Week of Lent…

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