Jude 1:20-21
February 27, 2024
February 27, 2024
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Day Twelve of Lent – A Shared Suffering

Day Twelve of Lent
A Shared Suffering

When Herod realized that he had been deceived by the magi, he became furious. He ordered the massacre of all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had ascertained from the magi. Matthew 2:16

Mother Mary was well aware of the fury of Herod. She was aware of the fact that countless innocent children suffered death on account of her own Son. She and Saint Joseph had fled to Egypt to protect Jesus, and when Herod found out, he issued orders for a massacre of all those precious children.

The evil that some are capable of is shocking and overwhelming. How could Herod do such a thing and how could he do so on accountof Mary’s own Son, Jesus? This massacre was the first clear sign to her that her life and that of her Son would be marked with suffering and pain.

But the martyrdom of those holy children should not leave us with shock and sorrow alone. We must look beyond their suffering and see their witness. They suffered on account of the Son of God. They were martyrs in the truest sense.

The suffering of those innocent children should teach us that the full embrace of suffering is a holy calling. This is especially the case when we are innocent in our suffering. So often, when we encounter the malice of another, we tend to revolt, get angry and rebel as we profess the injustice inflicted upon us. But this is not what these innocent martyrs did.

Many years later, as Mother Mary stood before the Cross of her Son, she would have been aware of His full and willing embrace of martyrdom. What He was saved from many years before was now coming to fruition. She would have pondered the deaths of those innocent children so long ago as she pondered the freely embraced sacrifice of her Son on the Cross.

Reflect, today, upon the difficult truth that you are called to give witness to Christ. You are called to give witness by embracing every form of unjust suffering you endure in life. You are called to embrace it freely, without anger and without opposition. Seek to understand the form of martyrdom that our Lord is calling you to embrace. As you do, rejoice that you are counted worthy to share in such a glorious witness.


Dearest Mother, your strength is glorious. You witnessed so much brutality in your life, yet you never wavered in faith. Your martyrdom was a martyrdom in spirit and it was the result of your unwavering love.

Help me, dear Mother, to never give in to anger or despair as I see the evil of the world around me. Help me to remain steadfast in faith and in hope, trusting always in your motherly intercession.

Dear Lord, You allowed the innocent to suffer on account of Your own presence in the world. When You allow me to suffer, give me the strength and grace I need to accept these martyrdoms with confidence and hope. May I follow Your own glorious example and that of those holy innocents.

40 Days Journey with Our Lord
Day Twelve: Perseverance

“Forty” is a significant number with clear symbolic meaning. Jesus’ forty days in the desert remind us of the forty days that Moses spent on Mount Sinai when he saw God “face to face” and received the Ten Commandments, the basis for the covenant of the Old Law. The Old Law was but a prefiguration of the New Law of truth and grace that Jesus came to institute. Thus, during these forty days, Jesus becomes the New Moses on Mount Sinai, preparing to present to God’s people the fulfillment of the Ten Commandments, and giving them the grace needed to be faithful.

These forty days in the desert also remind us of the forty years that the Israelites wandered through the desert on their journey to the Promised Land. Recall that the Promised Land was to be one “flowing with milk and honey,” (Exodus 3:8) a paradise on earth.

During their forty-year journey in the desert, God provided for their needs. He gave them water, manna in the morning, and quail in the evening. This bread and flesh on which they lived symbolized the new sustenance that Jesus would give in the Holy Eucharist. The forty years of wandering in the desert also symbolize the journey of our entire lives toward Heaven. Earthly life is one of “wandering,” being provided for by God, and anticipating the great reward of our perseverance.

Since Jesus’ forty days in the desert was a new living out of the Israelites’ time in the desert, we should also see it as a symbol of our journeys through life. This life we live is one of struggle, deprivation of the glories that God promises to bestow upon us, and a time during which we must always keep our eyes on the goal of our journey: Heaven.

As soon as the Israelites completed their journey, they were rewarded with the Promised Land. As soon as Jesus completed His forty days in the desert, He emerged saying, “This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand” (Mark 1:15). Those who conclude their journeys through the desert of this life with fidelity to the will of God, and are purged from every sin and attachment to sin, will receive the promised superabundant life of Heaven.

As you ponder the meaning of “forty,” see it as God calling you to persevere. Do not quit the journey before the finish line. Persevere and have hope that “the time of fulfillment” awaits. For now, we remain on our journeys and must press on to the end. We must endure the hardships of the desert of this life, relying upon God’s providence, being fed by the new manna and quail in the Eucharist, and remaining sustained by the spring of Living Water given to us at Baptism. During this journey, we must remain faithful to the Old Law, now elevated and fulfilled by the New Law of Jesus’ teachings and the gift of grace, as our commitment to the new Covenant God has offered to us. If we are faithful to the journey, God will be faithful in bestowing the reward.


My persevering Lord, You remained faithful to Your mission of fasting and praying for forty days. You pressed on to the end of that time and endured much. When You emerged, You announced that the time of fulfillment had arrived. Please give me Your strength and grace to persevere through the desert of this life. Give me hope for all that awaits in the glories of Heaven. Jesus, I trust in You.

Mother Mary, pray for me. Jesus, I trust in You.

Source: mycatholiclife

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