Too Late for Change?

Luke 16:19-31 Thursday of the Second Week of Lent I will pray for someone who is difficult for me to love, and I will be kind to a stranger.
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Luke 16: 19-31

Introductory Prayer:
Lord, although I cannot see you with my eyes, I believe you are present to me now, in my innermost being, and that you know me far better than I know myself. I also know that you love me much more than I love my own self. Thank you for loving and watching over me, though I don't deserve your love. In return, I offer you my sorrow for my sins and my hopes to love you more each day.

Petition:
Lord, help me to be generous and serve the needs of my neighbor.

1. Self-centeredness Is Useless and Sinful:
The rich man lived in isolated luxury, absorbed with the latest in fashion and the finest in dining. He did not hurt anyone: He didn't run Lazarus off his property. He didn't mind Lazarus hanging around his table for the leftovers. He didn't criticize him for not getting a job to earn a living. Then what was the rich man's sin? He didn't treat Lazarus as a person. To the rich man, Lazarus was simply a part of the landscape. How many people do I come in contact with, perhaps repeatedly, who are nothing more to me than part of the landscape?

2. Suffering Helps Us Grow:
Our words compassion and sympathy come from Latin and Greek roots that mean to suffer with. Our personal suffering makes us more humane and opens us up to the plight of others. Our vision becomes more perceptive of other's hardships, and our hearts become quicker to respond compassionately. Yet suffering can be a double-edged sword. It can also push us into envy, hatred, bitterness and isolation if we are proud, or if we forget that God permits trials to purify our love. How have I responded to suffering in my life? Has it made me more compassionate or more bitter and self-centered?

3. There Is More to Life Than Riches:
Suffering also makes us more zealous for souls, more apostolic. Unfortunately for his brothers, the rich man's zeal was a zeal come lately. Because he spent all his energy and fortune in avoiding suffering, he was totally absorbed in self. The meaning of his life was completely temporal, and in the end he had nothing to show for it. One of our greatest sufferings in purgatory will be the realization that we could have done so much more for the salvation of souls.

Conversation with Christ:
Lord, I have had a chance to look more seriously at myself in this meditation and to examine if my heart is set on you, if you are my treasure. Perhaps in some areas I still cling to the treasures of this world. But now I want to get rid of them completely. I know that my heart can be set on only one thing and that it will radiate with whatever fills it. Fill me with yourself, so that I may radiate you. Anything that is not you cripples my efforts to give you to others. Rid me of my selfishness. Make me your apostle.

Resolution:
I will pray for someone who is difficult for me to love, and I will be kind to a stranger.


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