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The Law and the Prophets
Thursday of the First Week of Lent
Jesus said to his disciples: “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. Which one of you would hand his son a stone when he asks for a loaf of bread, or a snake when he asks for a fish? If you then, who are wicked, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good things to those who ask him. Do to others whatever you would have them do to you. This is the law and the prophets.”
Opening Prayer: Lord, how often I forget to ask for what I need. You are always there to help me, yet I rush into my day forgetting that I need your grace, your strength, your wisdom, and your provision. Please fill me with the grace I need to see you in everything so I won’t forget to include you in anything.
- Promises: “Everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened” (Matthew 7:8). Although these words of Christ seem so simple and straightforward, to receive the promised reward we must live as Christ did, and align our will with his. Christ lived a life of self-denial even before he carried the physical cross. He bore a heavy load by living his life for others. We are also called to deny ourselves and take up our cross daily to follow him (Luke 9:23). Luke includes the word “daily” in his Gospel. We can’t pick up the cross or deny ourselves when it is convenient. We are to do this daily. St. Therese of Lisieux taught us how to do this in her Little Way. She counsels that we are to do our daily tasks with great love, thereby meeting and carrying the cross in the midst of our ordinary life.
- Good Gifts: Do we unwittingly ask the Lord for stones and snakes and then grumble because he hasn’t answered our prayer as we wanted? Our vision is often very limited. Eternity is not in the forefront of our minds. We may pray for help with the bills but neglect a God-given opportunity to practice prudence. We may ask God for physical healing, unaware that our illness is “curing” us spiritually. It is not wrong to ask God for help with whatever we think we need. God wants us to include him in everything that’s on our minds. Yet, it is important to remember that God gives good gifts, gifts of lasting value. He wills for our good and desires eternal union with us. God is concerned with our ultimate salvation.
- The Golden Rule: “Do to others whatever you would have them do to you” (Matthew 7:12). Christ trusted the Father. He was not afraid of being left out, of being left behind, or not having his fill of good things. When we trust God, the Golden Rule feels attainable. Knowing that we are loved, we are able to deny ourselves and live for others. Jesus preached the Golden Rule and he lived it with divine perfection. We are called to do likewise, by relying on the Lord’s grace and strength.
Conversing with Christ: Lord, you are the giver of all good things. Sometimes I get caught up in this world, becoming attached to its goods and forgetting that you give gifts of infinite value. Lord, please help me to seek what is truly valuable. I desire to belong completely to you. Please, continue to draw me near.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will meditate on your character, reminding myself of your goodness, faithfulness, generosity, and infinite love and mercy.
For Further Reflection: To further reflect on the character of God, read Psalms 103, 117, and 145.
Stephanie Nguyen lives in Wichita, Kansas, with her husband Vince and six children, ranging in age from four to twenty-four. Stephanie holds a master’s degree in Theology from Newman University. She facilitates Bible study for women in her parish, and oversees a formation group at her children’s school for girls in kindergarten through third grade.