The Church of Saint Agnes

1680 Dixie Highway, Fort Wright, KY 41011

The Church of Saint Agnes
1680 Dixie Highway, Fort Wright, KY 41011

Saint Agnes School | Contact Us

2nd Week in Lent

Date: 
Mon, 03/13/2017
Author: 
Rev. Msgr. Donald Enzweiler

“Turn away from your self-centered existence.”
A life oriented totally toward the self is narrow and small.
We must reach beyond the realm of our own minds, our own wants and desires.
One of the things we become attached to in this world is our self, me, I.
We become pre-occupied with “my” comfort, “my” pleasures, “my” dreams, “my” achievements.
We must learn to imitate Jesus who says “I do nothing of myself.
I do the things that please the Father.”
 
Self-centeredness imprisons us.
It dooms us to spiritual death.
The judgment of others, the condemnation of others, is a symptom of self-centeredness.
If we were truly concerned about the salvation of others
we wouldn’t judge them, we wouldn’t condemn them.
We might correct them, challenge them, even chastise them…
but we would do so lovingly, patiently, selflessly.
 
We are called to renounce our self-centeredness
and make the decision, in faith, for a self-sacrificing concern for others.
We are called to die to ourselves.
 
The Spirit of God, the teachings of Jesus Christ, liberate us from ourselves.
We are instructed to put aside selfish striving
and to take up a generous open-handedness with regards to what is beneficial to our neighbor.
We seek forgiveness for sins emerging out of self-centeredness during Lent.  But it’s more than this.
Forgiveness without making proper adjustments to our attitudes and dispositions,
forgiveness without reorientation is to condemn ourselves to repeated inappropriate behavior.
 
Now is a time to reclaim our identity as Christians, as Catholics.
We are people who have been enriched by God, blessed with abundance, gifted undeservedly.
What we have we have received from God. 
His generosity and his love have been poured out upon us.
These gifts have not been given to us for our personal purposes.
In response to God’s generosity we turn to others, wanting to share with others,
without receiving credit or reward.
This in itself is not something we do, it is the work of grace.
It is made possible for us to do this only by way of God’s generosity.
Faith without generosity is a very stilted, immature faith.
 
I am rather cautious with using the term “self-denial”.
For some, this becomes denial of the truth of themselves—the truth of their sinful human tendencies.
To deny the reality of our sinfulness, to deny the reality of our self-centeredness,
to deny the reality of our human weaknesses and our inability to restrain our appetites,
is to blind ourselves to true self-awareness and true self-understanding.
God wants us to know the truth of who we are.
 
Self-denial is not synonymous with ignoring our legitimate human needs.
We are called to die to our selfishness.  We do this through self-sacrifice.
We are to forget our selfish ambitions, selfish indulgences, selfish entitlements
and practice selfless generosity as an expression of our faith.
 
Our prayer today: “O Lord, continue to transform us, to trim away the dead branches so as to make room for new and fruitful growth.  Help us to be ready and willing to share what you have given us as a way of expressing loving kindness to and for others.  Amen!”