Fat Tuesday: Mardi Gras is French for “Fat Tuesday,” referring to the practice of the last night of eating richer, fatty foods before the ritual fasting of the Lenten season, which starts tomorrow; known as “Ash Wednesday.”
Today is a reflection about sin. How sin occurs, and the effects of sin. We are getting ready for Lent.
Quote or Joke of the Day:
Inside every older person is a younger person wondering, ‘What the heck happened?’
Blessed is the man who perseveres in temptation, for when he has been proved, he will receive the crown of life that He promised to those who love him. No one experiencing temptation should say, “I am being tempted by God”; for God is not subject to temptation to evil, and He himself tempts no one. Rather, each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. (NAB James 1:12-14)
There are some interesting words in this verse from the first reading in today’s Mass. Temptation is a Greek translation for a word that is used here for the “trials” in James 1:2 [Consider it all joy, my brothers, when you encounter various trials]. In ancient Palestine, crowns or wreaths of flowers were worn at festive occasions as signs of joy and honor. Wreaths were also given as a reward to great statesmen, soldiers, athletes. Finally, “Life,” in this verse means eternal life.
It is contrary to what we know of God, for God to be the author of human temptation and sin. In the commission of a sin, one is first influenced by passion; then consent is given; which in turn causes the sinful act to occur. Mortal sin ultimately encompasses the entire person, and hinders our relationship with God. Mortal sin separates us from God, and it incurs the ultimate penalty of eternal death from Christ.
Jesus is telling us that we are tempted to evil by the nature of orignal sin; and we have free will to accept or deny that opportunity to sin. God will never test us by tempting us to sin. On the contrary, God is with us at all times, except when we sin. When sin happens, (in my mind) He is standing behind us, sad and crying. If we are freely open to the suggestions and temptations of sin, (i.e., drug use, alcoholism, pornography, stealing, cheating, etc.), we are literally turning our backs to God, and waving Him away from us, like we do to someone we don’t want near us.
Thank God (again, literally) that He does not hold a grudge. The moment we want to welcome God back into our lives (through the Sacrament of Reconciliation), God is right there next to us as our best friend forever! we have to make the first move away from God, and we again have to make the first move to return to His grace.
“Lord, as children would say in phone texts to each, I want us to be “BFF”. I want you to be next to me always. Please help keep me from the harms, and temptations of sin. Please forgive me when I do fall. Amen.”
Pax et Bonum
Dan Halley, SFO
Catholic Saint of the Day: St. Daniel
Died in 309, He and four companions, Elias, Isaias, Jeremy and Samuel were Egyptians who visited Christians condemned to work in the mines of Cilicia during Maximus persecution, to comfort them. Apprehended at the gates of Caesarea, Palestine, they were brought before the governor, Firmilian and accused of being Christinas. They were all tortured and then beheaded. When Porphyry, a servant of St. Pamphilus demanded that the bodies be buried, he was tortured and then burned to death when it was found he was a Christian. Seleucus witnessed his death and applauded his constancy in the face of his terrible death; whereupon he was arrested by the soldiers involved in the execution, borught before the governor and was beheaded at Firmilian’s order. Feast day Feb. 16.
(From http://www.catholic.org/saints/ website)
Secular Franciscan Order (SFO) Rule #16:
Let them esteem work both as a gift and as a sharing in the creation, redemption, and service of the human community.