Purity of Intention Opens Up Heaven

Resolution: Do one or more acts of charity in which you do not gain anything, but serve your neighbor and show your love to Christ.
by Father Paul Hubert, LC | Source: Catholic.net
February 6, 2008
Ash Wednesday

Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18
Jesus said to his disciples: "Take care not to perform righteous deeds in order that people may see them; otherwise, you will have no recompense from your heavenly Father. When you give alms, do not blow a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets to win the praise of others. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right is doing, so that your almsgiving may be secret. And your Father who sees in secret will repay you. When you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, who love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on street corners so that others may see them. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go to your inner room, close the door, and pray to your Father in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will repay you. When you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites. They neglect their appearance, so that they may appear to others to be fasting. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, so that you may not appear to be fasting, except to your Father who is hidden. And your Father who sees what is hidden will repay you."

Introductory Prayer: My faith is small, Lord, but it turns to you. My hope cannot be greater than you, Lord, and so it wants to discover you and your will for my life. My love can be as you want it, Lord, only if it is united to you.

Petition: Lord, help me to act with rectitude of intention in all my thoughts, words and actions.

1. A Proven Friend How many times have people turned away from a friend when that friend ran into difficulties? As Scripture says: “A faithful friend is a sturdy shelter; he who finds one finds a treasure” (Sirach 6:14-15). God knows what is in the heart of man and tests him to make him grow in his friendship. Again, Sirach puts it: “When you gain a friend, first test him, and be not too ready to trust him. For one sort of friend is a friend when it suits him, but he will not be with you in time of distress” (Sirach 6:7-8). Our friendship with God cannot stay only at the level of “what suits me.” If it does, many things will be incomprehensible to us, for God tests us to see if we really love him. God knows better than we do what is lacking in our love, in our being his real friends. God will never be satisfied with less than our perfection in love. He will always try to bring us closer to a total donation of self.

2. What Moves Me to Act? What made Christ come from heaven to this small earth? God does not lack anything that he should desire to get something from man. His motive was pure, disinterested love: We needed his presence in our life, to be freed, to be forgiven and transformed. In a similar way, what moves us to do what God asks is very important. It is the cornerstone of my salvation: Without rectitude of intention – the desire to love God, my friend – there is no treasure to be found, no reward in heaven awaiting us. Help me, Lord, to correct and improve the motivations for my actions. Help me desire only to serve you in my Lenten practices.

3. The Infinite Freedom God Gives To seek material wealth alone, to follow our own plans, and to permit nothing to break into our comfort zone: These things all limit our lives. On the contrary, giving alms, prayer and fasting is living according to the logic of Love: seeking not our own interests, but the interests of God and others. God opens new perspectives, treasures without end, and makes us discover the unsuspected capabilities of our hearts and actions, once they are united to God.

Conversation with Christ: Lord, many times you have shown me the way to live. Many times you have shown me not to look only for my own profit. Help me to be more attentive to the needs of those around me. This Lent, help me to serve you as you would serve us, giving without asking in return.

Resolution: I will do one or more acts of charity in which I do not gain anything, but serve my neighbor and show my love to Christ.


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