Awareness of God's Gift

Challenge: Do not compare yourself with others today, but seek the highest degree of generosity and response to God’s grace.
by Father Robert Presutti, LC | Source:

March 4, 2009
Wednesday of the First Week of Lent

Luke 11:29-32
While still more people gathered in the crowd, Jesus said to them, "This generation is an evil generation; it seeks a sign, but no sign will be given it, except the sign of Jonah. Just as Jonah became a sign to the Ninevites, so will the Son of Man be to this generation. At the judgment the queen of the south will rise with the men of this generation and she will condemn them, because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and there is something greater than Solomon here. At the judgment the men of Nineveh will arise with this generation and condemn it, because at the preaching of Jonah they repented, and there is something greater than Jonah here.”

Introductory Prayer: Lord Jesus, I believe in you because you are the truth itself and you reveal to me more and more the meaning and purpose of my life. I trust in you because every day you are there waiting for me, knocking at my door, always ready to forgive, always ready to draw me close to you in prayer and the sacraments. I love you because you gave your entire self for me on the Cross and taught me what it means to fulfill myself in love.

Petition: Holy Spirit, help me be attentive to the many daily signs of your presence and love.

1. Never Quite Satisfied
Jesus has already given sight to the blind, healed many paralytics, raised the dead and cast out demons. Yet there are those who are still not convinced. They ask for yet another sign. Their real problem lies not in insufficient signs, but in hearts unwilling to accept the truth. When there is resistance or inconformity with God’s will, it is not really signs we need or should seek, but a change of heart and a willingness to accept what Christ is already telling and showing us. Looking for signs often arises not because God is hidden, but because we want to hear something else. The cause could be fear, selfishness or a lack of spiritual depth. The result is always dissatisfaction, insecurity and defensiveness. And the solution is always the same: Purify my heart, change my criteria, and let go of what I secretly want to hear. Let Christ reign supreme and accept him on his terms.

2. The Sign of Jonah
Nineveh converted at the preaching of Jonah, did penance, and averted their destruction. Jonah’s message resounded profoundly throughout the great city, and everyone, from lowest citizen to the king himself, did penance and changed their ways. Jonah’s preaching was a sign of God’s judgment and their impending destruction, but also of God’s mercy and the abundant opportunities he affords for change and salvation. God does not desire the death of the sinner, but that the sinner change and be saved. Jonah and the Ninevites show that sin in itself is never an obstacle to the path of God. God can forgive and make the sinner a saint. The problem lies rather in attachment to sin and in the resistance to change and belief.
3. The Queen of the South and the Citizens of Nineveh
I have received innumerable graces from God and incomparable blessings. What fruits of repentance and change have I allowed this grace to produce? Who knows if those I look down on would not be farther along on the path of holiness had they received the blessings and opportunities God has given me. Many others have done more with less. Humility, compunction and gratitude with God are more in order than that hidden pride, self-sufficiency and conceit I at times feel. I need to strive to show the fruits of repentance every day.

Conversation with Christ: Lord Jesus, thank you for your warning and your wake-up call. Help me have heartfelt humility, recognizing my need for change. Help me not to look so much at how good I am, as at how much I can improve. Teach me the humility of truth.

Resolution: I will not compare myself with others today, but seek the highest degree of generosity and correspondence with God’s grace.

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