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Saturday, January 17, 2004

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St. Anthony

1 Samuel 9:1-4, 17-19; 10:1
Psalm 21
Mark 2:13-17

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great sinners become great saints

"As He moved on, He saw Levi the son of Alphaeus at his tax collector's post, and said to him, 'Follow Me.'  Levi got up and became His follower." —Mark 2:14

Levi, also called Matthew, was one of the apostles, an evangelist who compiled the first book of the New Testament, a missionary, and a martyr. Matthew was also a great sinner. Jesus implied that Matthew was spiritually sick (Mk 2:17). Even after Jesus had transformed Matthew's life, Matthew abandoned Jesus on the cross. But Matthew repented, received the Holy Spirit at the first Christian Pentecost, and became a great saint.

Each of us are called to greatness. We are called and privileged to do our unique part in God's plan of salvation. By God's grace and our faith, we can do even greater things than Jesus did (Jn 14:12). As adopted sons and daughters of God, we are "a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people He claims for His own" (1 Pt 2:9). It is an understatement to say we are called to greatness.

Nonetheless, like Matthew, we have sinned before and even after our conversions. By our sins, we have done our part in contributing to Jesus' sufferings on the cross (Catechism, 598). Yet the Lord is calling us to repentance. He wants to give us a new Pentecost in which He will restore us to greatness and lead us to greater greatness. Like Matthew, let us rise from the ruins of sin to the glorious greatness of the sons and daughters of God.

Prayer:  Father, fulfill every detail of Your plan for my life.

Promise:  "You are to govern the Lord's people Israel, and to save them from the grasp of their enemies round about." —1 Sm 10:1

Praise:  St. Anthony sold all his possessions and lived a life which emphasized that the love of God took precedence over all else.

Reference:  (Presentation Ministries' ten-day series of retreats starts at the end of April 2004. For a brochure, call 937-587-5464 or e-mail retreats@presentationministries.com)

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Robert A. Stricker, June 23, 2003

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, June 26, 2003