2 min read
26 Feb

Thanks for joining me, this week we Lectio the Liturgy with the Collect for the Third Sunday of Lent.

O God, author of every mercy and of all goodness, who in fasting, prayer and almsgiving have shown us a remedy for sin, look graciously on this confession of our lowliness, that we, who are bowed down by our conscience, may always be lifted up by your mercy. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever.

The prayer this week gives us a bit different insight into God. It tells us that he is the author of every mercy and of all goodness.

In the Latin form of the prayer, author does not mean writer. Instead, it means that God is the authority.

We often hear the characteristics of God being love and mercy. I even read sometime ago that mercy was God’s middle name.

Goodness, however, is not just a characteristic, it is one of the transcendental. A transcendental is an attribute of God. It is a property of His being. A transcendental exists beyond space, time, and matter. The three transcendentals* of God are truth, beauty, and goodness. When we pay attention and look for them in the physical world, our heart and mind can be drawn to God. The natural can show us what is supernatural.

Truth is defined as the conformity of the mind to reality, what is true as God knows it to be. When someone will make an honest search for truth, they will find God.

Beauty can be perceived with our physical senses and it can also affect us spiritually. Here in Iowa some of the most beautiful sunsets can be seen in the cold winter nights, the air is cold, the sky is clear, and the color of the sky ranges from white to yellow, to pink, to plum, to a very dark violet. As I take in the beauty of that sunset somehow my spirit seems to know that the day was a gift from God and the darkness of night will bring a new sunrise.

Goodness can be described as the perfection of being. Something is good when it fulfills what is appropriate to its nature and purpose. A car that has terrible gas mileage and never starts is not a good car. We may not always look for goodness from others or from God, who is the source of all goodness, but just think of what might happen when to begin to. One place to begin is at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. God’s goodness can be tangible there, if we are looking for it.

We usually think of fasting, prayer, and almsgiving as a penance, but we don’t often dive into the meanings. When we fast, we learn to rely on God and by removing something in our lives, we make room for something else - like more of God. Prayer is required for the Christian life. If you want a deeper relationship with God you need prayer. Almsgiving of our time and of our resources, takes the focus off ourselves and directs it to others and to God.

Next in the prayer, we ask God to look on the confession of our lowliness. God has a history of doing great things through humble, lowly people. Moses had a speech impediment and still lead God’s people to freedom. David, even though he was a king, he was also a sinner, and Mary was an unknown Jewish girl whose greatest desire was for the coming of the Messiah.

We are just like them when we acknowledge that we, too, have nothing to bring to the table except our selves. We give God our  weaknesses, we give God our sins, and through the goodness that He is and the mercy that He offers, we are lifted up.

When Moses began his ministry, did he ever look back to what and who he had been? Possibly, but he didn’t go back there. He only looked back to see what God had done in his life and that gave him the courage to go forward. The same for David, and also for Mary. Make it the same for you. When God lifts you up, he lifted you up for good. Now is the time to thank Him for his truth, beauty, and goodness, and mercy, and move onward and upward to the calling He has for you.

Thanks for praying with me,

*Yes, I am aware that some scholars have written about five transcendental, however, the early writers, such as Aquinas and Plato have identified these three.

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