Today I will examine my conscience to do some “house cleaning” of my soul. I resolve to treat the goods of this world only as a means towards holiness, stepping stones to communion with God
Then the Pharisees went and plotted to entrap
him in what he said. So they sent their disciples to him, along with the Herodians, saying,
"Teacher, we know that you are sincere, and teach the way of God in accordance with truth, and show
deference to no one; for you do not regard people with partiality. Tell us, then, what you think. Is
it lawful to pay taxes to the Emperor, or not?" But Jesus, aware of their malice, said, "Why are you
putting me to the test, you hypocrites? Show me the coin used for the tax." And they brought him a
denarius. Then he said to them, "Whose head is this, and whose title?" They answered, "The
Emperor's." Then he said to them, "Give therefore to the Emperor the things that are the Emperor's,
and to God the things that are God's."
Introductory Prayer: Lord Jesus, my Creator and Redeemer,
everything good comes from you. You are the one source of peace and happiness. Thank you for
bringing me into existence and insuring I received the inestimable gift of the faith. Thank you for
accompanying me in every moment. I am grateful for your mercy and love and wish to respond more
generously to you in my life.
Lord Jesus Christ, I place
myself before you, uniting myself to you and your plan for my life. Thank you for calling me to
prayer. Speak Lord, for your servant is listening. I believe that you have something to say to me
today. Yesterday I was not ready. Tomorrow will be too late. Speak now to my soul without the noise
of words. Give me the grace to respond faithfully to your holy inspirations.
Lord, may I remember who I am: one who bears the name “Christian.”
1. Signed: .
Probably one of the first things we learned to do in this world was to make the Sign of the Cross.
Whether it was our parents, older brothers or sisters or someone else, when they prayed, making the
familiar gesture of the cross over themselves, we tried to imitate them. Sometimes when we witness
this scenario repeated in toddlers, we are amused by their efforts to move their little hands in the
pattern of the cross. But hHow often do we reflect on what we are doing when we make the Sign of the
Cross? Pope Benedict XVI in his book that preceded his elevation to the papacy,In The Spirit of the
Liturgy, the future Pope Benedict said: says “to seal oneself with the Sign of the Cross is a public
and visible ‘yes’ to him who suffered for us, to him who in the body has made God’s love visible, to
a God who reigns not by destruction but by humility of suffering and love which is stronger than all
the power of the world and wiser than all the calculating intelligence of men.” We are saying that
we believe in the power of the cross and particularly in what it means for our own life – our own
bodies will rise again. We sign ourselves as belonging to the one who has won our redemption by his
blood on the cross, as belonging to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We are signed and we belong to
God. The Sign of the Cross is a daily reminder that we are to give to God what is God’s, that is,
our very selves.
2. Delivered: .Christ prayed at the Last Supper, “They do not belong to the
world, just as I do not belong to the world.... Father, I desire that those also whom you have given
me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory which you have given me because you loved me before
the foundation of the world” (John 17: 16-24). And so it is that we are to be delivered to where we
will see his glory and be with him. We bear an inscription as those baptized into his life, and we
outwardly recall this when we make the Sign of the Cross with water from the fonts in the entrances
to our churches. It is up to us then –-- with the thoughts, words, and actions of our lives –-- to
live this truth coherently, giving to God what is God’s.
3. Detached: . The task of
detachment is much facilitated by the reflection on the ephemeral nature of this world. Pope John
Paul II, reflecting on Psalm 145, writes: “Man therefore finds himself facing a radical choice
between two contrasting possibilities: on the one side is the temptation to ‘trust in princes,’
adopting their criteria inspired by wickedness, selfishness and pride. In fact, this is a slippery
slope, a ruinous road, a ‘crooked path and a devious way,’ (Proverbs 2:15) whose goal is despair.
Indeed, the Psalmist reminds us that man is a frail, mortal being, as the very word ‘adam’ implies;
in Hebrew this word is used to signify earth, matter, dust. Man – the bible constantly states – is
‘like (…) a palace that crumbles [to dust] (Ecclesiastes 12:1-7), a spider’s web that can be torn
apart by the wind (Job 8:14), a strip of grass that is green at dawn but has withered by evening
(Psalms 89:5-6)."’ With this in mind,
we “give to the emperor” what is of this world by relinquishing or simply detaching ourselves from
it. We give what is eternal, namely our souls, over to God because we belong to him.
Christ: Lord, Jesus Christ, I truly take to heart your words that lead to everlasting life.
Ssometimes I am attracted by the things of this world and influenced by those who try to convince me
to trust only in the world’s ways. May I not be hoodwinked by this world but keep my heart set on
the world that will never pass away. Only in your world will I behold your glory and be filled with
your grace forever. Amen.
Resolution: Today I will examine my conscience to do some “house cleaning”
of my soul. I resolve to treat the goods of this world only as a means towards holiness, stepping
stones to communion with God.