dying to choose life
"Choose life, then, that you and your descendants may live, by loving the Lord, your God, heeding His voice, and holding fast to Him." —Deuteronomy 30:19-20
On this second day of Lent, the Church reveals to us that this Lent is a matter of life or death. The Lord says: "I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. Choose life" (Dt 30:19). The Lord questions: "What profit does he show who gains the whole world and destroys himself in the process?" (Lk 9:25) The Lord promises: "Whoever would save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for My sake will save it" (Lk 9:24).
We choose life and save our lives by obeying the Lord's commandments (Dt 30:16). To do our own thing is to choose death. We choose life by obeying the Lord to the point that we are repeatedly denying ourselves. We deny ourselves so much that we no longer have lives of our own (Gal 2:20). We have lost our lives for Jesus' sake. We take up our cross each day (Lk 9:23) so that we are finally crucified with Christ (Gal 2:19). Choosing the daily crosses leading to crucifixion is the only way to choose life.
At the end of this Lent, may each of us be able to pray: "The life I live now is not my own; Christ is living in me" (Gal 2:20).
Prayer: Father, may I deny myself radically this Lent. I unite my fasting with Jesus' fasting in the desert.
Promise: "Happy the man who follows not the counsel of the wicked nor walks in the way of sinners, nor sits in the company of the insolent, but delights in the law of the Lord and meditates on His law day and night." —Ps 1:1-2
Praise: St. Polycarp exhorted others to "stand fast, therefore, in this conduct and follow the example of the Lord."
Reference: (For a related teaching, order our leaflet Obedience School or on tape entitled Obeying God on audio AV 62-3 or video V-62.)
Rescript: †Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, July 29, 2011
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