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Thursday, February 18, 2010

Lenten Reflection--"Choosing Life"

Thursday after Ash Wednesday

Dt 30:15-20
Ps 1:1-2, 3, 4 and 6
Lk 9:22-25

"Choose Life... that your descendants might live..."

This is the "sound-bite" of the readings that so succinctly captures the essence of what I want to talk about today, "choosing life", specifically life in the LORD. Lent is all about choosing live a life rooted in God so that not only we, but all of our progeny, have a chance at choosing eternal life. In other words, when we choose life in God, we help others to as well, especially our children, whom we possess so much influence over.

So how do you "choose life"? I believe the readings outline this perfectly, but the most beautifully simple statement comes in the first reading right after our "topic sentence"-- "by loving the LORD, your God, heeding his voice, and holding fast to him." Basically, it all comes down to the Theological Virtues of Faith, Hope, and Love!

Everyone's Favorite Virtues

The Theological Virtues are basically good habits that come directly from God, so why wouldn't they be our favorites?

Faith is the first Theological Virtue, that from which the other two sprout. It is simply the ability to believe, specifically in God and His. Without belief in God we cannot have life in Him. While this virtue is not explicitly stated in the readings today, it permeates the entire idea, as hope and love are not possible without this virtue. How do we believe? It can come in many facets, but is primarily as assent of the Intellect, the Will, and the Spirit. In some capacity we reason to believe, we choose to believe, and we desire to believe.

Hope-- Hope is the second Theological Virtue, stemming from our belief in God and leading towards love of Him. It is the virtue by which we trust in the promises which God has made to us. True Hope is certain, for the promises God made he will surely not break. The first reading states that we should "hold fast" to the Lord, which is a beautiful characterization of what hope should be... an anchor of sorts. The Psalm however is where this virtue is mostly discussed within the readings. Psalm 1 states "Blessed are those who hope in the Lord"--how perfectly this shows the result of Hope!

Love-- Love is the third Theological Virtue, blooming from the fruit of Faith and Hope. It is the Virtue by which we will the good of others, and when applied to God, encompasses obedience and worship. This is what the third reading deals with--how to love. Love deals primarily with Sacrifice, for to will the good of others, we sometimes must put aside our own needs. This is what Jesus meant when he told us to "Deny yourself and take up your cross", and that we must be willing to lose our life in order to save it--in other words, we must give it to God. Without sacrifice, we cannot love, and we cannot choose life... for it is our very faith and hope in God and His promises that allows us to endure such suffering.

The Challenge

This lent, let us Choose life--let us strive to live our the Virtues of Faith, Hope, and Love as we sacrifice and do penance. For it is only through such virtue that Eternal Life is chosen.

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