For it is from within, from the heart, that evil intentions emerge.
March 17-23, 2014
Objective of the week:
To listen to the call for conversion
To experience the conversion made by God from within.
As we continue to live this Lent as his chosen people called to walk in his ways, we experience that the more we follow him leading us into the desert, the more we hear his call of conversion from within. What is this conversion? What conversion is he calling us to? His voice within us calls us to a conversion from the heart. He already placed in our hearts his covenant of love. He will take from us our stony hearts and give us natural hearts – a heart of flesh, sensitive to the needs of our brothers and sisters. A heart that is capable to love as he loved and to recognize how great our love brings to others.
Lent also is a journey following the lead of Jesus through the desert and how he is purifying the deepest intentions of our hearts for from within comes out many of our evil intentions and actions.
It is a constant call to face and accept the truth from within and allow Jesus to bring conversion to our lives and to the worldly realities. These are situations that oftentimes we think as unbearable and truly crush our heart and our total being. Let the love of God change us, mold us, and cleanse us as we ought to be. His Mercy never ends, he renews it every day for us His beloved people. If we hear his voice, harden not our hearts and thank him for the grace that he bestowed upon us, a grace that he alone can give.
The call for conversion
Wash yourselves clean!
Put away your misdeeds from before my eyes; cease doing evil; learn to do good. Make justice your aim: redress the wronged, hear the orphan’s plea, defend the widow. Come now, let us set things right says the LORD: Though your sins be like scarlet, they may become white as snow; Though they be red like crimson,
they may become white as wool. If you are willing, and obey, you shall eat the good things of the land; But if you refuse and resist, you shall be eaten by the sword: for the mouth of the LORD has spoken! (Isaiah 1:16-20)
Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. “Stop judging and you will not be judged. Stop condemning and you will not be condemned. Forgive and you will be forgiven. Give and gifts will be given to you; a good measure, packed together, shaken down, and overflowing, will be poured into your lap. For the measure with which you measure will in return be measured out to you.”
Recognize that we are meant to live in the pasture that God has prepared for us and HE never changes his plans on us, even though we are so focused on our plans that are oftentimes opposite to what God desires for us. Go back to your inner senses and discover God’s plan for your life and be washed and cleansed by HIS Mercy.
Do you hear Gods call for conversion?
He has placed his love in our hearts
But this is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after those days—oracle of the LORD. I will place my law within them, and write it upon their hearts; I will be their God, and they shall be my people. They will no longer teach their friends and relatives, “Know the LORD!” Everyone, from least to greatest, shall know me—oracle of the LORD—for I will forgive their iniquity and no longer remember their sin.
Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ through whom we have gained access [by faith] to this grace in which we stand, and we boast in hope of the glory of God. And hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us. For Christ, while we were still helpless, yet died at the appointed time for the ungodly. Indeed, only with difficulty does one die for a just person, though perhaps for a good person one might even find courage to die. But God proves his love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us.
(Romans 5:1-2, 5-8)
We are sometimes belittle ourselves because of what we did wrong or because others would think that we are incapable of doing right and we are stacked, trapped and we find it difficult to move on. Activate the greatest gift God has given you, he has placed it in your heart when you were still in your mother’s womb. Nourish this gift of love in your life through Jesus Christ and live anew every day.
Is the love that God has placed in your heart growing?
Heart of stone to a heart of flesh
I will take you away from among the nations, gather you from all the lands, and bring you back to your own soil. I will sprinkle clean water over you to make you clean; from all your impurities and from all your idols I will cleanse you. I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put my spirit within you so that you walk in my statutes, observe my ordinances, and keep them. You will live in the land I gave to your ancestors; you will be my people, and I will be your God.
Turning our back from God should not be an option. The more we go far from God, the more we become insensitive of the essentials in the eyes of God and we develop a stony heart, a heart that is consumed by the world and we get lost from what we are truly seeking. But God is faithful and will never give up on you, no matter how hard your heart has become, he will always find a way to make it soft again. God has put something in you that you can never take away, your identity as his child - loving and forgiving.
Is your heart stony or forgiving?
Purifying the deepest intentions
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You cleanse the outside of cup and dish, but inside they are full of plunder and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee, cleanse first the inside of the cup, so that the outside also may be clean. “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You are like whitewashed tombs, which appear beautiful on the outside, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and every kind of filth. Even so, on the outside you appear righteous, but inside you are filled with hypocrisy and evildoing.
Be aware of what is going on with your life now and journey within your hearts and know thy desire and intentions. It is best to seek and commune with God and be purified internally with the Help of the Holy Spirit. What will appear externally will manifest on what is going on internally. Don’t be deceived or don’t deceive yourself, and let no evil intentions emerge in your heart. Set your hearts on what is pleasing and acceptable to God and live freely and peacefully each day.
What hinders you to have genuine intentions?
Facing and accepting the truth within
So he came to a town of Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of land that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was there. Jesus, tired from his journey, sat down there at the well. It was about noon. A woman of Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” His disciples had gone into the town to buy food. The Samaritan woman said to him, “How can you, a Jew, ask me, a Samaritan woman, for a drink?”(For Jews use nothing in common with Samaritans.) Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God and who is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.” [The woman] said to him, “Sir, you do not even have a bucket and the cistern is deep; where then can you get this living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us this cistern and drank from it himself with his children and his flocks?” Jesus answered and said to her, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again; but whoever drinks the water I shall give will never thirst; the water I shall give will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I may not be thirsty or have to keep coming here to draw water.” Jesus said to her, “Go call your husband and come back.” The woman answered and said to him, “I do not have a husband.” Jesus answered her, “You are right in saying, ‘I do not have a husband.’ For you have had five husbands, and the one you have now is not your husband. What you have said is true.
We will never know unless we drink the spring of water welling up to eternal life that Jesus is giving us. We find ourselves vulnerable when we share the darkest secrets we had and it would be a shame that we would never want to imagine. However, if we allow Jesus to touch those parts of our life, we gradually become open and allow the grace of God to flow through our hearts and then we will discover how abundant and sufficient the grace of God is working within us.
What is the Truth within you that Jesus is inviting you to face and accept in order to be free?
Conversion of the worldly realities
Then he said, “A man had two sons, and the younger son said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of your estate that should come to me.’ So the father divided the property between them. After a few days, the younger son collected all his belongings and set off to a distant country where he squandered his inheritance on a life of dissipation. When he had freely spent everything, a severe famine struck that country, and he found himself in dire need. So he hired himself out to one of the local citizens who sent him to his farm to tend the swine. And he longed to eat his fill of the pods on which the swine fed, but nobody gave him any. Coming to his senses he thought, ‘How many of my father’s hired workers have more than enough food to eat, but here am I, dying from hunger. I shall get up and go to my father and I shall say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you.
Testimony of several lives of people manifest that worldly aspirations has never been the desire of our heart, and we are not designed for the world alone. The prodigal son went back to his father after realizing that it is the right thing to do. Pope Francis has been teaching us to live according to how we should live in faith. The richest people share what they have through foundations, and their hearts were filled with Joy. Saints share all what they have, live faithfully and beautifully their lives while they were still in the world acknowledging God everyday of their life.
What is God calling you to give up in order for you to Live?
3rd Sunday of Lent
First Reading – Exodus 17:3-7
Psalm – Psalm 95:1-2, 6-7, 8-9
Second reading – Romans 5:1-2, 5-8
Gospel – John 4:5-42
Weekly Prayer Guidelines
Read this week's guidelines to help you deepen in the Word of God for today.