THURSDAY AFTER ASH WEDNESDAY
READ: LUKE 9:22-25
Jesus said to his disciples: "The Son of Man must suffer greatly and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed and on the third day be raised." Then he said to all, "If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. What profit is there for one to gain the whole world yet lose or forfeit himself?"
On this second day of Lent, we hear these difficult words: "He must deny himself." But what does this mean? To deny oneself is to give up one's own plans in order to accept God's plan. To deny oneself means to set aside our tendency towards self-focus and to live as Jesus showed us--completely poured out for others. St. John Paul II said this about our Gospel passage today: "The human being has a deep-rooted tendency to 'think only of self', to regard one’s own person as the center of interest and to see oneself as the standard against which to gauge everything. One who chooses to follow Christ, on the other hand, avoids being wrapped up in himself and does not evaluate things according to self interest. He looks on life in terms of gift and gratuitousness, not in terms of conquest and possession. Life in its fullness is only lived in self-giving, and that is the fruit of the grace of Christ: an existence that is free and in communion with God and neighbor (cf. Gaudium et spes, 24)."
What stuck out to you in the passage?
What does this passage tell us about God?
In what areas of your life do you have the tendency to "think only of self"?
"Life in its fullness is only lived in self-giving." How might you be lacking fullness of life because of self-focus?
Reflecting on the life of Jesus, how do you see him giving of himself to others?
In order to follow Jesus more closely, how can you give more of yourself today--to your family, at work, to God-?
How--in your thoughts, actions, words, and plans--can you put others before yourself?
Blessed 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. He is like a tree planted near running water, That yields its fruit in due season, and whose leaves never fade. Whatever he does, prospers. Not so the wicked, not so; they are like chaff which the wind drives away. For the LORD watches over the way of the just, but the way of the wicked vanishes.
What are you going to take away from your time of prayer today?