However, take care and be earnestly on your guard not to forget the things which your own eyes have seen, nor let them slip from your memory as long as you live…
Day Nineteen of Lent: Wednesday of the Third Week of Lent – Deuteronomy 4
“However, take care and be earnestly on your guard not to forget the things which your own eyes have seen, nor let them slip from your memory as long as you live…” – Deut 4:9.
Today’s Lenten Reflection
Our memory is a fascinating thing. For better or for worse, we can push down memories of the past especially those which have caused us great pain. Similarly, we can conjure up happy memories during the holidays, when we smell certain smells or hear a certain song. Seemingly out of nowhere, we can find ourselves back on the playground in elementary school.
In today’s Gospel message, the first apostles are commanded to remember and preserve what they had heard and witnessed while traveling with and learning from Jesus. Similarly, it is crucial for us to continue to learn and then reflect upon the knowledge and Tradition handed down to us from the apostles and earliest Christians. We are told to never forget, be on guard, and spread the Gospel message farther. In light of this, are there any divine Laws that you have conveniently chosen to forget about? Traditions left by the earliest Saints, desert Fathers or Doctors of the Church? Christianity is not a buffet-style event. The dogmas and doctrine of our faith are not left for us to pick and choose which ones we like or don’t like; what feels good or doesn’t.
This is precisely why we are exhorted by God to take care and be earnestly on guard; to not forget the things that our earliest ancestors had witnessed or taught nor let them slip from memory. Jesus would not have commanded this unless He knew we would be tempted to do just that. Remember that we are not of this world. To the contrary, we are called to be with Christ – at all cost – even when we don’t like or understand something that is commanded of us. What then must we do to fulfill what He is asking of us today?
Day 19 Lenten Meditation
For many of us, the Ten Commandments are a challenging lesson we learn as children. Trying to implement them as adults is equally as challenging. When it comes to the Commandments, we are often tempted to breeze past them or even forget about them altogether. But the Commandments are just as important today as they were in the days of the Israelites. In fact, Jesus told us that He came to fulfill and add to the Law … not do away with it.
While the Commandments point out literal laws, they hold less literal applications also. For example, we may not have literally killed someone, but have we raged with anger towards someone? Have we said anything that “killed” someone’s spirit? Have we “stolen” anyone’s peace or joy by our words or refused to pay back a family member, friend or franchise? The point is, buried within each Commandment is a valuable lesson applicable to our everyday lives now. While pondering them, be reminded and comforted of the fact that the Ten Commandments are here for our benefit; guardrails that enable us to walk in the ways of the Lord, grow in virtue and increase in holiness.
At some point today, sit with your memories. Sift through the things you have chosen to forget about in order to make life easier for you but may not be what God wants for you. Are there any areas in which you could do better? Prayerfully read over the Ten Commandments and find one or two that speaks to your soul. Which ones are most difficult for you? Pray for God’s grace to fulfill it in accordance with His divine will.
Additional Reading for this Week
God of all faithfulness, we know we don’t always live the Law that You have set down for us. Today we recommit ourselves to living our lives according to the template You have provided; to Your will. Heavenly Father, let us also be reminded of how much You care for us. How You have so lovingly numbered every hair on our head. Let us never stray far from the conviction of Your Word and precepts, and the overall sense of Your Fatherly embrace. It is in Your good and holy Name we pray, amen.
Today’s suggested Penance
Clean up someone else’s mess or do a chore for someone else. Don’t say anything about it, just do it. God knows.
“The Christian is like the ripening corn; the riper he grows the more lowly he bends his head” – Thomas Guthrie.