O God, whose glory it is always to have mercy: Be gracious to all who have gone astray from your ways, and bring them again with penitent hearts and steadfast faith to embrace and hold fast the unchangeable truth of your Word, Jesus Christ your Son; who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Let’s just say that I’m glad February is over. It’s time to wipe the slate clean. February started off with great promise, but then the cold and snow kicked in. It left me almost 60 miles short of my goal. I am going to have to work hard next month just to get in 100 miles for the month – which will still leave me short. I did try to run today, but the cold got the better of me. Today I am really claiming my life verse for March.
but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us. – Philippians 3:13b-14a
“Take a look at your heart. Everything you see in it that might sadden God, remove. God wants to come to you. Listen to Christ your Lord: “My Father and I will come to him and make our home with him” (John 14:23). That is God’s promise. If I were to tell you I was coming to stay with you, you would clean your house.
Now it is God who wants to come into your heart. Do you not hasten to purify it? How could he dwell with avarice? …God has commanded you to clothe the naked. But avarice induces you to strip the one who is clothed…I am looking at your heart. What do you have in it? Have you filled your coffers but thrown away your conscience? …Purify your heart.”
Augustine of Hippo (354-430) in Sermons 261.4 (PL 38,1203-4) as recounted in “Passions Transfigured, Thoughts Transcended” in The Roots of Christian Mysticism by Olivier Clément, 2.4.
While I have featured Matt Maher’s “Your Grace Is Enough” before, I thought I would do it again. This is an acoustic version that I like more than the band version.
Almighty God, whose blessed Son was led by the Spirit to be tempted by Satan; Come quickly to help us who are assaulted by many temptations; and, as you know the weaknesses of each of us, let each one find you mighty to save; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
1 O Lord, I give my life to you.
2 I trust in you, my God!
Do not let me be disgraced,
or let my enemies rejoice in my defeat.
3 No one who trusts in you will ever be disgraced,
but disgrace comes to those who try to deceive others.
4 Show me the right path, O Lord;
point out the road for me to follow.
5 Lead me by your truth and teach me,
for you are the God who saves me.
All day long I put my hope in you.
6 Remember, O Lord, your compassion and unfailing love,
which you have shown from long ages past.
7 Do not remember the rebellious sins of my youth.
Remember me in the light of your unfailing love,
for you are merciful, O Lord.
8 The Lord is good and does what is right;
he shows the proper path to those who go astray.
9 He leads the humble in doing right,
teaching them his way.
10 The Lord leads with unfailing love and faithfulness
all who keep his covenant and obey his demands.
What a great prayer for the First Sunday in Lent. Let us use this season – as we prepare for the resurrection of Jesus – to be taught the ways of Jesus.