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Tuesday, March 21, 2006

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Daniel 3:25, 34-43
Psalm 25
Matthew 18:21-35

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fire and ice

"In the fire Azariah stood up and prayed aloud." —Daniel 3:25

Lent is the imitation of Jesus' forty days in the desert (Mt 4:1ff). It is a desert experience in which we undergo "a trial by fire" (1 Pt 4:12). In the midst of the flames, we are tempted to grumble against the Lord or blame other people for our trials. We must overcome these temptations and stand up in the fire to pray as Azariah did (Dn 3:25). By faith, we must face the harsh realities of our lives, repent of our sins, and commit ourselves to follow the Lord "unreservedly...with our whole heart" (Dn 3:40-41).

The fire of Lent should result in the commitment of Easter. We must not let trials turn us away from the Lord but rather to Him. "We know that affliction makes for endurance, and endurance for tested virtue, and tested virtue for hope. And this hope will not leave us disappointed, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts" (Rm 5:3-5).

Therefore, "count it pure joy when you are involved in every sort of trial. Realize that when your faith is tested this makes for endurance. Let endurance come to its perfection so that you may be fully mature and lacking in nothing" (Jas 1:2-4). We thank the Lord for the heat and fire of the desert. It is only through this that we can rise from the cold of the grave.

Prayer:  Father, may I stand up in the fire and praise

Promise:  You. "Good and upright is the Lord; thus He shows sinners the way." —Ps 25:8

Praise:  Michelle often repeats God's promise that mercy triumphs over judgment (Jas 2:13) to remind herself that to be merciful is to receive mercy.

Rescript:  †Most Reverend Daniel E. Pilarczyk, Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, August 16, 2005

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