Ash Wednesday is the first day of Lent and occurs forty-six days (forty days not counting Sundays) before Easter. For Catholics, today is a time of fasting and abstinence.
Reflection today is about God’s action to our sinning! Very thought-provoking!
Quote or Joke of the Day:
A four year old boy and his mom were attending the Ash Wednesday services. The boy observed what was going on and asked his mom, “Mommy, can I get a tatoo also?”
The law entered in, so that transgression might increase but, where sin increased, grace overflowed all the more (NAB Rm 5:20)
How can sin exist in the shadow of laws? How can there be more graces, the more there is the evil of sin? I believe these are very perplexing questions, with extremely simple answers. Sin make its entrance with the law of Moses alongside. How? Mosaic law was a means of multiplying offenses, by supplying a “knowledge of sin.”
Paul understood this since he was a very devout and well-trained Jew, as well as a high level Roman citizen. Paul, more than most, had a keen understanding of both the Mosaic laws, and the Roman civil laws. With his vast knowledge, Paul declared, in this verse, that grace always outmatches the productivity of sin.
How is this possible. From nature we learn that two opposite poles always exist: the negative and positive poles of the earth or battery; the beauty and nourishment of a violent summer thunderstorm; the life that is created and grows from the result of a forest fire, etc. We need to realize that from a sinful temptation, a positive result is also present.
The child saved from an abortion at the last minute, could grow to become the scientist that finds a cure for cancer, or even just a football player that wins the Heisman trophy. The child that dies may save the lives for several other people, through organ donations. And finally (as in my case), being subjected to severe and debilitating pain and SOB has brought me closer to God, and an understanding of God’s mercy. There are many, many other examples, but I will leave us with just these three.
As I think about our governments support for abortion, euthanasia, and death penalty laws; and the encouragement of some in government to increase and strengthen these laws, I can’t help but think of this verse from a lawyer of the time of Jesus: Paul. I hope we eventually learn from our mistakes, and correct them. I would love to know how today’s transgressions of God’s nature will eventually lead to God’s grace, but I trust that God will eventually lead us to His grace, if we allow.
“Lord, thank you for showing me to look for the positive in any situation. To me, it shows that you are always present, even in the bad times, if I want you to be with me. There is nothing I cannot do, if you are my partner in life. Amen.”
Pax et Bonum
Dan Halley, SFO
Franciscan Saint of the Day: Bl. Luke Belludi
, Franciscan friar. B. 1200; d. 1285. In 1220, St. Anthony was preaching conversion to the inhabitants of Padua when a young nobleman, Luke Belludi, came up to him and humbly asked to receive the habit of the followers of St. Francis. Anthony liked the talented, well-educated Luke and personally recommended him to St. Francis, who then received him into the Franciscan Order.BELLUDIBl. LUKE
Luke, then only 20, was to be Anthony’s companion in his travels and in his preaching, tending to him in his last days and taking Anthony’s place upon his death. He was appointed guardian of the Friars Minor in the city of Padua. In 1239 the city fell into the hands of its enemies. Nobles were put to death, the mayor and council were banished, the great university of Padua gradually closed and the church dedicated to St. Anthony was left unfinished. Luke himself was expelled from the city but secretly returned. At night he and the new guardian would visit the tomb of St. Anthony in the unfinished shrine to pray for his help. One night a voice came from the tomb assuring them that the city would soon be delivered from its evil tyrant.
After the fulfillment of the prophetic message, Luke was elected provincial minister and furthered the completion of the great basilica in honor of Anthony, his teacher. He founded many convents of the order and had, as Anthony, the gift of miracles. Upon his death he was laid to rest in the basilica that he had helped finish and has had a continual veneration up to the present time.
(Source: Believed to be from AmericanCatholic.org)
(From http://www.franciscan-sfo.org website)
Secular Franciscan Order (SFO) Rule #17:
In their family they should cultivate the Franciscan spirit of peace, fidelity, and respect for life, striving to make of it a sign of a world already renewed in Christ. By living the grace of matrimony, husbands and wives in particular should bear witness in the world to the love of Christ for His Church. They should joyfully accompany their children on their human and spiritual journey by providing a simple and open Christian education and being attentive to the vocation of each child.