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REPENTANCE


 

 

 

SEASON TO LEARN HUMILITY

        The season of Lent is the season of humiliation or attaining the virtues of humility.  Christ fasted to show us the necessity of fasting.  We fast to subdue the flesh that has rebelled against God in paradise. 

        We must do nothing except with Him in our eye.  It is through Him alone that we have power to do anything good.  So, unless we do it for Him, it is not good.  Our obedience comes from him; towards Him it must look. No work is good without the grace of obedience.   

        Christ made fasting a means of grace.  Fasting is only acceptable when it is done for His sake.  We must fast in imitation of Christ, otherwise, we are Jews or pagans but not Christians.

        He retired from the world and confirmed this duty upon us.  He did it before His own ministry.  He also did it before He chose His apostles; "He went to the mountain to pray and continued all night in prayer before God."

        Praying the whole night is a self-chastisement of the same kind as fasting.  Christ often went to pray at night for our imitation. . .if we would be perfect like Him. 

        St. Paul mentioned his suffering "in watchings, in fastings."  St. Peter fasted in Joppa in the house of one Simon.  Moses and Elijah fasted.  Daniel for three full weeks ate no bread nor wine, neither did he anoint himself at all. 

        Christ's fasting was introductory to the temptation of the devil.  Before He was tempted, He fasted.  His fasting is not a preparation for the conflict; it is the cause of the conflict. 

        Fasting opens the world of good and evil upon us; it introduces us into battle with the powers of evil. 

        Fasting is our first step in approaching God -- an approach to the powers of heaven.  Yes, and to the powers of hell.  By fasting, we confess that we are sinners and doing penance for sins.  We are falling down in humility but with God's sword in hand, fighting a generous warfare and from whom devils tremble at and flee. 

        Christ had three temptations and thrice He conquered them.  Later, He would say:  This kind can come forth by nothing but by prayer and fasting.  Fasting and prayer give the soul power over unseen word.  It gives Christians high and royal power above and over his fellows. 

        Lent is telling us that we shall obtain our spiritual goal, not by a day of humiliation or a day of prayer but, by a life persevering in prayer. 

        Angels will be sent to us who truly seek God.  Daniel, Elijah and Cornellius were visited by angels while they were fasting and praying .  "He will give His angels charge over you to keep you in all Thy ways." 

        He who fasts and prays is with God and the devil knows who is master.  The devil has power only over those in sin.  His object is to surprise man to sin.  He has no other way to overcome him. 

        So let us not be ignorant of the devil's devices and watch, fast and pray.  Let us pray to know God's Will, to teach us our faults, to remove from us whatever will offend Him and to lead us to way everlasting.  Let us learn how to repent, to confess and amend. 

John Cardinal Newman 

         

 

 

 

 

  (09-16-10)

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