a heart contrite and humble
"My sacrifice, O God, is a contrite spirit; a heart contrite and humbled, O God, You will not spurn." —Psalm 51:19
The prayer of King David begins: "Have mercy on me, O God, in Your goodness" (Ps 51:3). If David, a powerful King, could humble himself before God, what is stopping us from doing the same? The Lord asks this of each of us, and He will not spurn a person who approaches Him with a humble, contrite heart (Ps 51:19). It's not always the other person that needs to open themselves up to God; to that someone else we might be the person who needs to be open to the Lord. God asks me to acknowledge my offense (Ps 51:5) so He can thoroughly wash me from my guilt and cleanse me of my sin (Ps 51:4).
Fasting is a powerful way to quiet the world around us and make your prayer be "heard on high" (Is 58:4). God has given us His "wish list" for our fasting: sharing bread with the hungry, sheltering the homeless, clothing the naked, and not turning our back on our family and friends (see Is 58:7). Humbly asking God for forgiveness opens our hearts to the Lord to heal us. It also opens our eyes to those around us who are hurting and in need.
As St. Teresa of Avila said, we are God's hands and feet. We seem to think what He asks is difficult; His request is simply to approach Him with a humble, contrite heart. He will do the rest (see 1 Thes 5:24).
Prayer: "Have mercy on me, O God, in Your goodness" guide my mind to be open to Your will for me this Lent.
Promise: "The glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard." —Is 58:8
Praise: Sts. Perpetua & Felicity differed from those who killed them: they loved their enemies. Several of their executioners came to believe in Jesus by witnessing their faith as they died.
Reference: (This teaching was submitted by a member of our editorial team.)
Rescript: †Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, August 8, 2013
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