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March 1, 2013
Deliver Us from Every Evil
GENESIS 37:3–4, 12–13A, 17B–28A; MATTHEW 21:33–43, 45–46
Do you have a favorite prayer in the Mass? Mine is right before the sign of peace, when the priest prays, “Deliver us, Lord, from every evil and grant us peace in our days. In your mercy keep us free from sin, and protect us from all anxiety as we wait in joyful hope for the coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ.” These words mean so much to me. To live a life free from sin is a humble and simple ambition, but a noble one. I have seen how sin complicates our lives, confuses our minds, and hardens our hearts. I have seen the devastating effects of sin in my own life, in the lives of the people I love, and in the lives of complete strangers. I want to live a life free from sin, and the prayer to keep us free from sin resonates with the deepest desires of my heart. I love the peace that is the fruit of a clear conscience. The truth is, the happiest times of my life have been when I was actively trying to live free from sin.

“Protect us from all anxiety”—all anxiety, not some anxiety. How much of our lives do we waste worrying? A friend of mine has a quote by Corrie ten Boom on her answering machine that says, “Worry doesn’t empty tomorrow of its suffering; it empties today of its strength.”

I know it is the sin in my life that causes my pain, anguish, impatience, anxiety, irritableness, restlessness, and discontentment. We waste so much time and energy on sin. Imagine how much you and I could accomplish if we didn’t waste so much time and energy on sin!

Do I have a favorite prayer in the Mass? What is it about this prayer that resonates with me?
from Rediscover Lent by Matthew Kelly


Pedro de San José Betancur: Central America claimed its first saint with the canonization of Pedro de San José Betancur by Pope John Paul II in Guatemala City on July 30, 2002. Known as the "St. Francis of the Americas," Pedro de Betancur is the first saint to have worked and died in Guatemala. 
<p>Calling the new saint an “outstanding example” of Christian mercy, the Holy Father noted that St. Pedro practiced mercy “heroically with the lowliest and the most deprived.” Speaking to the estimated 500,000 Guatemalans in attendance, the Holy Father spoke of the social ills that plague the country today and of the need for change. </p><p>“Let us think of the children and young people who are homeless or deprived of an education; of abandoned women with their many needs; of the hordes of social outcasts who live in the cities; of the victims of organized crime, of prostitution or of drugs; of the sick who are neglected and the elderly who live in loneliness,” he said in his homily during the three-hour liturgy. </p><p>Pedro very much wanted to become a priest, but God had other plans for the young man born into a poor family on Tenerife in the Canary Islands. Pedro was a shepherd until age 24, when he began to make his way to Guatemala, hoping to connect with a relative engaged in government service there. By the time he reached Havana, he was out of money. After working there to earn more, he got to Guatemala City the following year. When he arrived he was so destitute that he joined the bread line that the Franciscans had established. </p><p>Soon, Pedro enrolled in the local Jesuit college in hopes of studying for the priesthood. No matter how hard he tried, however, he could not master the material; he withdrew from school. In 1655 he joined the Secular Franciscan Order. Three years later he opened a hospital for the convalescent poor; a shelter for the homeless and a school for the poor soon followed. Not wanting to neglect the rich of Guatemala City, Pedro began walking through their part of town ringing a bell and inviting them to repent. </p><p>Other men came to share in Pedro's work. Out of this group came the Bethlehemite Congregation, which won papal approval after Pedro's death. A Bethlehemite sisters' community, similarly founded after Pedro's death, was inspired by his life of prayer and compassion. </p><p>He is sometimes credited with originating the Christmas Eve <i>posadas</i> procession in which people representing Mary and Joseph seek a night's lodging from their neighbors. The custom soon spread to Mexico and other Central American countries. </p><p>Pedro was canonized in 2002.</p> American Catholic Blog We sometimes try to do everything on our own, forgetting that the Lord wants to help us. Let's never be afraid to admit that we are weak and can't do things on our own. St. Paul gives us a great example: "On my own behalf I will not boast, except of my weaknesses" (2 Corinthians 12:5).


 
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In this season of penance, may we put aside those things that keep us from the Lord.

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Sometimes prayer is the only appropriate action for those who rely on God’s mercy.

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