Friday, February 22, 2013

Reflection for Saturday, February 23, 2013

Reflection:  We hear our Father speaking stern and loving words to us today in both of the readings.  The Gospel reading closes with:  “So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.”  He doesn’t ask us try, to think about, to consider it, He asks us to “be perfect.”  While our sin and human weakness keep us from true perfection, they should not keep us from striving for perfection in our obedience and observance of God’s commands “with all of our heart and with all of our soul.”  In athletics and in the arts we see this striving for perfection.  While very few children or adults will every truly achieve perfection in whatever talent they pursue, they commit themselves whole-heartedly to that task.  How do they strive for perfection?  They practice, practice, practice.  The same applies to our goal of spiritual perfection.  We can only hope to achieve perfection if we devote ourselves to continually practicing perfection.  When we make an error, we pick ourselves up, we go to confession, and we try harder next time.  Just as we will not achieve perfection in the arts or in athletics unless we devote ourselves to achieving it, we will not achieve perfection, and therefore holiness, unless we completely devote our lives to striving to attain it!

Reflection for younger saints:  Today we read about God calling us to be perfect.  Another word for being perfect in our faith and love of God is holiness.  God is asking us all to follow His commandments and to try to live like Jesus lived so that we can be perfect and holy.

Big Picture:  Strive for perfection

Discussion Starters:
     Younger saints:
  What is God asking us to be in the Gospel reading today?  (Perfect.)  What other word do we use for spiritual perfection?  (Holiness.)  Whose example do we follow to know how to be perfect and holy?  (Jesus and the Saints.  They lived holy lives devoted to God and to following God’s commandments.  If we live like they did, we can be holy too.)
     Older saints:  Take a moment to reflect on a talent in your life that you have devoted great attention to in an attempt to be perfect, or to be close to perfect.  Is it a sport, a musical instrument, choir, or scholastics?  How much time and energy do you devote to trying to improve in this particular activity?  Now, consider how much time you spend in prayer, reading scripture, time in adoration, attending Mass, and learning more about the teachings of the Catholic Church.  Are you striving for perfection and devoting the same amount of time to your goal of holiness as you are to your other goals and desires?  What is the end result if you achieve perfection in your extra-curricular activity?  What is the end result if you achieve perfection in holiness?  (heaven).  Consider where your time may be best spent?

Fun Fact:  Sanctifying grace makes us holy and pleasing to God, makes us children of God, makes us temples of the Holy Spirit, and gives us the right to heaven (St. Joseph’s Baltimore Catechism No. 1, 2008, p. 50).

Saint of the day: 
 Saint Polycarp
     What they are remembered for:  St. Polycarp was a friend of St. Ignatius and was a well-known and honored christian leader of the second century.  St. Polycarp was ordered to be burned alive, but after the flames did not harm him, he was finally killed by a dagger.  His martyrdom was one of the first recorded, reliable accounts of christian martyrdom.  “Stand fast, therefore, in this conduct and follow the example of the Lord, ‘firm and unchangeable in faith, lovers of the brotherhood, loving each other, united in truth,’ helping each other with the mildness of the Lord, despising no man” (Polycarp, Letter to the Philippians).

     Feast day:  February 23
Daily Notes:

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