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Friday, March 20, 1998

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Hosea 14:2-10
Psalm 81
Mark 12:28-34

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guilty parties

"Return, O Israel, to the Lord, your God; you have collapsed through your guilt." —Hosea 14:2

Because there are such things as good and bad, because we all sin, and because we all have consciences (even if they may be malformed and suppressed), we all have guilt to some degree. We can minimize guilt by either accepting God's grace to live a good life or by suppressing our consciences and hoping we die before reality reactivates them. However, some guilt is part of being a human being.

We can benefit from guilt rather than run away from it. We can benefit from it when it comes from a good conscience. For our consciences to be good, they must be formed by God's revelation of the truth through the Church and her Bible. A good conscience will make us feel guilty when we have sinned. A badly formed conscience will make us feel guilty when we have not sinned but are confused. A good conscience will make us feel guilty as soon as we have sinned. This should lead us to repentance and guilt-free, restored innocence. A bad conscience will delay our feelings of guilt for days or even years. Then our sins will be multiplied. We will hurt ourselves and others more and more seriously. Finally, if we don't die first, our guilt will explode and condemn us. Fast guilt warns us to prevent more serious sin and more damage. Slow guilt condemns us. May our consciences be good and our guilt true and fast.

Prayer:  Father, this Lent send Your Spirit to form my conscience. If I sin, may I feel guilty immediately.

Promise:  " 'Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is Lord alone! Therefore you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.' This is the second, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' " —Mk 12:29-31

Praise:  Sister Monica gave a Bible study booklet to a prisoner. He was so touched that he spent the next week studying the Scriptures and wouldn't even watch the TV.

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Robert L. Hagedorn, July 26, 1997

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, July 29, 1997