DAILY CATHOLIC   TUESDAY   March 16, 1999   vol. 10, no. 52

CATHOLIC PewPOINT

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The past tense of lend is Lent!

          Here we are, a day after the Ides of March and on the downward side of Lent heading toward the Passion and Death of Jesus and His glorious Resurrection, the apex of our faith journey liturgically. The phrase "Neither a lender nor a borrower be" hits home during this time of year when we are reminded of our nothingness. Think back to the beginning of this liturgical season when the priest placed the ashes on our head. It was a reminder of the commonly known fact that we are all here on this earth on loan. We can't call our life our own because we don't own our bodies. Hopefully abortion sympathists will take note of that fact! In fact, we don't own anything, nada! So how can we lend something or pay back something borrowed if we don't own anything? Without God we can't! It's that simple. We owe it to ourselves to realize that we don't own anything but we do owe plenty. Our biggest debt is to the Man Who has paid for our eternal existence - Jesus Christ.

          So how then do we repay the Son of God if we don't own anything? One way is to build up dividends in His "Bank" - in the great Deposit of Faith which is the sum of public revelation and tradition entrusted to Holy Mother Church. All we need is a willingness to do God's Will. He does the rest because He owns us. He created us, and therefore possession is His. Though His adversaries - the fallen angels - try to possess us insidiously by enticing us with possessions that are not ours. Consider what happened to Adam and Eve who sought something which was not theirs. God's possessions can never be ours if we are to be true investors of Heavenly dividends. But if we keep our souls safely in the safe deposit box of sanctifying grace, we cannot be canceled or bounced. Oh, satan will write as many bad checks as he can, mess with our spiritual credit rating, and even offer us unrealistic savings. But the only saving to be done is by the Almighty Banker, Jesus Christ, Our Lord and Savior.

          That brings us back to our original thought of Lent. The ashes three weeks ago reminded us of our nothingness and the words pronounced "Remember, man, thou art dust and unto dust thous shalt return" are a reminder of our needed bankruptcy to things of this world and that everything but God is fleeting. As the great Lender, God gives us more time to make reparation and even designates a special grace period each year for this life-long process. That period, of course, is Lent...a time to practice what we preach, what the Mother of God has been advocating through her Medjugorje Messages for nearly 18 years and what Our Lady has conveyed from Rue de Bac on over the past two centuries; what the Church has been imparting for nearly 2000 years. By complying with all Heaven is asking we will only strengthen our reserve in filling the coffers of our eternal account.

          One of the things that is feasible is to lend an ear to all Jesus says through His One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church and then offer all our inconveniences, all the setbacks, all the headaches and heartaches to Jesus during this time of Lent. It is a time when Spring teases us only to hide behind another cold-front, but we can be warmed with the consolation that all we offer during Lent will be the virtues and good that spurred Our Lord on when, in the Garden of Gethsemane He wept bitterly. His tears of blood were for all those sins over the centuries that would pain Him immeasurably, another lash, another scourge. It would have been enough to prompt Him to chuck the whole effort because of the evident apathy and antipathy against Him, but He persevered, aided by the good that we all do which He could see there in that Garden of Olives while His apostles slept. He asks us to stay awake and pray with Him for just an hour. But how many of us can't even do that once a week at Mass? Never mind if the homily prompts drowsiness, remember it's Lent. Offer it up. Truth be known we should spend at least an hour a day with Him; at Daily Mass if possible and in prayer with the devotions handed down to us in the Rosary, the Chaplet of Divine Mercy and other prayers such as the Morning Offering, the Angelus, etc. It's all part and parcel of Lent; it's all part and parcel of our faith journey which tends to slow down about this time every Lent. In the rear-view mirror we can see Ash Wednesday in the distant past and Easter Sunday still three weeks plus away. The buds are starting to bloom but the blossoms are still hiding. Anticipation is in the air and we grow impatient waiting for the Easter Tridiuum which will usher in the glorious Resurrection. It is symbolic of the chastisements and purification that must come before Our Lady's Immaculate Heart triumphs ushering in the glorious Age of Peace - the Reign of the Sacred Heart - the New Pentecost - the Second Advent.

          So, for the next three weeks we will be tested to persevere, to toe the line even when Spring fever teases us to disgard our responsibilities and penances and go for the brass ring that, in truth, corrodes. But there's a price to pay for anything worth having and Heaven is definitely worth having. Consider that God provides the spiritual funds to help us repay our debt to Him. All we have to do is spend wisely. Possessions are not ours to have; remember we don't own anything. All we have is on loan from God. These borrowed attributes we can translate into great dividends if we can leave everything at the foot of the cross and do that with no strings attached. If we can do that we'll be readily assured that before our ashes are swept into the wind, the great Provider will carefully sweep us into His embrace and preserve us from eternal harm in the spotless, dust-free vaults of Heaven. But this can happen only if we give all to Him, and learn to borrow with care and prudence, putting the virtues into action. That is the reason for Lent. If we can practice this, we won't need to look back to get past the tense times in our lives. The future is ours to determine by how we live with the present He has given us - our presence in the present. He is the great Lender Who exacts a payment of obedience from His borrowers. That's called our new lease on life - everlasting life which Christ paid for with His life. So, we have to refute the great bard William Shakespeare and rephrase his line "Either a borrower or a lender be." The future is ours to determine how we live with the present He has given us - our presence in the present. We can look ahead to our Heavenly windfall; we can look back in gratitude for Our Lord's sacrifice for though we live in the present, it was Christ's actions in the past that makes our future possible. That's another reason why it's important to remember that the past tense of lend is Lent!

Michael Cain, editor


March 16, 1999      volume 10, no. 52
Today's Catholic PewPoint Editorial

DAILY CATHOLIC

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