THURSDAY AFTER THE FIRST SUNDAY OF LENT
GOSPEL. ST. MATT, xv, 21-28.
(The Prayer and the Faith of the Woman of Canaan. Jesus before the Judgment Seat of Men.)
At that time; Jesus went from thence, and retired into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon. And behold a woman of Canaan, who came out of those coasts, crying out, said to Him: Have mercy on me, O Lord, Thou Son of David; My daughter is grievously tormented by a devil. Who answered her not a word. And His disciples came and be sought Him, saying: Send her away, for she cries after us. And He answering, said: I was not sent but to the sheep that are lost of the house of Israel. But she came and adored Him, saying, Lord, help me. Who answering, said: It is not good to take the bread of the children, and to cast it to the dogs. But she said: Yea, Lord, for the whelps also eat of the crumbs that fall from the table of their master. Then Jesus answering, said to her: O woman, great is thy faith: be it done to thee as thou wilt; and her daughter was cured from that hour.
With what reverence, with what love and confidence, O Christian soul, does the woman of Canaan beg our divine Savior for the cure of her daughter! With what faith and with what constancy does she persevere! And you cease to pray if God does not hear you immediately. Sometimes He wishes only to test and increase your fidelity. He often tarries so that you will prize more highly the favors that you are requesting.
Reflect on the long series of humiliations and sufferings which your Savior underwent out of love for you in His bitter passion, from Mt. Olivet to Golgotha! He could have diminished them, and shortened the time of His suffering. Contemplate Him before the miserable judgment-seat of men. Before Annas and his twenty-eight counselors, Jesus stands silent and with eyes cast down; only before the high-priest does He assert His dignity, and in consequence thereof He receives a shameful blow on the cheek. How he could have dashed to pieces the whole troop with one glance of His divine countenance! But with divine patience and meekness He listens to their wicked verdict : "He is guilty of death."
LET US PRAY.
Look, O Lord, upon the devotion of Thy people, that mortifying their bodies by fasting, their minds may be refreshed by good works.
Pardon, O God, through the patience and longsuffering of Thy divine Son, all the imperfections in our prayers since our childhood, and grant us the spirit of prayer, that we may always perform our devotions with attention, reverence, confidence and perseverance, and that we may always desire to be heard by Thee, through Jesus Christ, our Lord, Amen.