Friday, February 19, 2016

Mary TV Daily Reflection 2/19/2016

    (c)Mateo Ivankovic 2016

February 19, 2016
Dear Family of Mary!
"Dear children! Today I bless you with my motherly blessing and I invite you all to conversion. I wish that each of you decide for a change of life and that each of you works more in the Church not through words and thoughts but through example, so that your life may be a joyful testimony for Jesus. You cannot say that you are converted, because your life must become a daily conversion. In order to understand what you have to do, little children, pray and God will give you what you completely have to do, and where you have to change. I am with you and place you all under my mantle. Thank you for having responded to my call."  February 25, 1993

In our Lenten journey, we cannot forget the call to conversion. Each one of us must convert, each day of our lives. Our conversion will consist of turning away from sin and turning toward God and the good. It is the conscious reorienting of our actions towards God and away from self and selfishness. It is the renunciation of sin.
Our Lady tells us that "to understand what you have to do, little children, pray and God will give you what you completely have to do and where you have to change." God shows us our faults and failings, our sins, gently, little by little, day by day, if we pray to Him sincerely. He wants us to know what is wrong with us, but He doesn't want to discourage us. And so He has given us Confession! In His great compassion, He has given us His representatives, who will walk us through our conversion, step by step, if we ask for help, and forgiveness.
Confession is the sacrament of conversion! I have quoted before from a wonderful book by Fr. Alfred Wilson, C. P., called "Pardon and Peace". I want to share what he says about daily conversion, about the desire to turn from sin, and how we must be practical and honest in that process. It is comforting and challenging at the same time. But if we want to convert, we must start somewhere.
It is neither wise nor humble to persuade ourselves that we shall never sin again. In the supreme and most sacred hours of life we must reckon with the possibility that we shall sin again. For this possibility always exists. It exists for all men in regard to venial sins; it exists also in regard to vice. If such persons, when making a good resolution, honestly and sincerely admits: "I shall most likely fall again," they act more prudently than those who, by a sort of self-deception, persuade themselves that they will never sin again. It is a mistake to shut one's eyes to the realities of life. Therefore, when we have firmly resolved to sin no more, let us boldly say to ourselves (I speak here of venial sins only): "I shall sin again."
A humble realist will not promise or expect greater success...Have our not been confessing practically the same sins for the last year...ten years...twenty years?
We could learn wisdom from an Italian boy, Livio Galeota, who died at the age of five. When he was preparing for his first Holy Communion, he wrote down the following resolutions:
I will be a little better than before.
I will hardly ever get angry.
I will do my English a little better.
I will hardly ever do underhand things.
I will hardly ever be rude.
I will hardly ever do mean things to my brothers.
I will hardly ever do spiteful things to my brothers and sisters.
I will almost always do my English lesson well.
Of course the wise little boy meant to try always to avoid these faults, but he did not expect to succeed, and with the genuine transparent honesty of a child, would not promise more than he felt able to fulfill. Would that we had some of the wisdom of that child!
St. Thomas has recorded the same childlike wisdom. "To repent of venial sins,' he says, "it is necessary that the penitent purposes to avoid each particular sin, but not all, because this would exceed our ability in this life. He must, however, resolve to make an effort to reduce his sins; else he will run the risk of sliding backwards, because he gives up the desire to go forward." (Pardon and Peace, 179-181)
I share this sober look at what we are capable of doing in our efforts to convert, because I think that it will encourage us all not to give up, but not to be surprised that we fail! All God is asking is that we give it a good try, and keep coming back for forgiveness and grace in the Sacrament of Confession. Our Lady tells us, "You cannot say that you are converted, because your life must become a daily conversion." She knows that we are going to fail, even every day, in our efforts to turn from sin. But she wants us to know that our daily conversion, our daily efforts to reject sin, will get us where we want to go, slow though it might be. We will draw ever closer to Our Lord if we do not give up! And she is with us to help us.
I hope you don't mind the pep talk! Isn't Lent wonderful!!!
In Jesus, Mary and Joseph!
Cathy Nolan
©Mary TV 2016
 Pardon and Peace
PS. "Pardon and Peace. Alfred Wilson, C.P. 1946 (This book is hard to find these days. It was last published by Roman Catholic Books.PO Box 2286, Fort Collins, CO 80522)

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