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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

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Ash Wednesday

Joel 2:12-18
2 Corinthians 5:20—6:2
Psalm 51
Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18

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the fast track to joy

"Give me back the joy of Your salvation." —Psalm 51:14

Today, hundreds of millions of Catholics throughout the world unite together in a forty-day period of repentance, fasting, and reparation. The Church calls an assembly, proclaims a fast, and preaches a return to God (Jl 2:13-16). She focuses all her power into synchronized prayer and fasting, the first and most effective weapons against the power of evil (Gospel of Life, Pope John Paul II, 100). If millions of Catholics fasted seriously this Lent in united holiness, Satan's kingdom of darkness would be rocked to its core. Uncounted demons would be driven out (Mt 17:21, NAB).

Imagine a scenario where Satan's strongholds have been cleaned out and restored to the lordship of Jesus (2 Cor 10:4-5). "Planned Parenthood" would become "Holy Family Parenthood." The entertainment industry would only create movies rated "H" for Holy. Manufacturers of artificial contraceptives would close down for lack of business. Poverty and injustice would be eliminated because millions of people repented and refused to tolerate them anymore. Today would indeed be a day of joy, "the day of salvation!" (2 Cor 6:2)

God says: "Return to Me with your whole heart, with fasting, and weeping, and mourning" (Jl 2:12). This begets sorrow, but "sorrow for God's sake produces a repentance without regrets, leading to salvation" (2 Cor 7:10). When sorrow leads us to salvation, we pray for the Lord to give us back the joy of our salvation (Ps 51:14), a joy that no one can take from us (Jn 16:22).

Prayer:  "Have mercy on me, O God,...Thoroughly wash me from my guilt, and of my sin cleanse me" (Ps 51:3-4).

Promise:  "Your Father Who sees in secret will repay you." —Mt 6:4

Praise:  Praise the Holy Spirit, Who leads us into the desert with the Son to find the Father.

Reference:  (This teaching was submitted by a member of our editorial team.)

Rescript:  †Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, August 11, 2008

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