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Wednesday, March 17, 2004

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St. Patrick

Deuteronomy 4:1, 5-9
Psalm 147
Matthew 5:17-19

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living now in the last and greatest dimension

"Whoever fulfills and teaches these commandments shall be great in the kingdom of God." —Matthew 5:19

The Lord in the Old Covenant commanded His people to obey 612 commandments. Of course, they were unable to obey them. In the New Covenant, the Lord has much higher standards. We must obey not only the smallest part of the letter of the Law (see Mt 5:18) but also its spirit (2 Cor 3:6). We must obey not only the Ten Commandments but also the Beatitudes. Moreover, Jesus forbids some acts which were previously allowed, such as anger, divorce, swearing oaths, retaliation, and hating enemies (see Mt 5:21ff). If necessary, we are to resist temptations to disobey by plucking out our eyes, cutting off our hands, or even laying down our lives (see Mt 5:29-30).

If you are a "do-it-yourselfer," Jesus' extreme demands are very disturbing. How can you do it? But if you are like Mary and know that life is "letting it be done" (see Lk 1:38) rather than "doing it yourself," then you are excited to be taken by Jesus into a new dimension of grace, miracles, and mystery. The most important aspects of life, including death, are beyond our merely human capacities. We need Jesus to take us into the realm of the supernatural. Why not start now in living the miraculous grace of our Baptism? Let Jesus do the impossible in you.

Prayer:  Father, in this Lent teach me the "radical newness" of Baptism (see Lay Members of Christ's Faithful People, Pope John Paul II, 10).

Promise:  "What great nation is there that has gods so close to it as the Lord, our God, is to us whenever we call upon Him?" —Dt 4:7

Praise:  St. Patrick's commitment to Christ was so extreme that he endured grave hardships, and was willing to suffer imprisonment or even death if that was what God so required.

Reference:  (Presentation Ministries offers a one-day Women's Retreat on April 3, 2004. For information or to register, call 937-587-5464 or e-mail retreats@presentationministries.com)

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Richard Walling, July 18, 2003

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, July 24, 2003