Meditation and Questions for Reflection or Group Discussion
(Genesis 12:1-4; Psalm 33:4-5, 18-20,22; 2 Timothy 1:8-10; Matthew 17:1-9)
The Call to Holiness, God’s Design for Our Lives
He saved us and called us to a holy life. (2 Timothy 1:9)
St. Paul tells us that we have been called to a holy life. But if you sat in rush-hour traffic when you were already late for work; if you had a dispute with your spouse or boss; if you gave in to the same old temptation yet again—you might consider that holy life to be far, far away.
It isn’t! Go back, and read that verse again. Paul says that God has called you to a holy life. He called you not because of what you can do, not because of what you have done, and not because of what you will do, but “according to his own design.” It’s his design. It’s his call.
God has a plan for you. So often, we reduce that plan to the things we have to do, like spending time in prayer, confessing sin, sharing our faith, or serving at our parish. Of course, these are all good things, and we should seek God’s guidance in them. But they are all small parts of God’s greatest plan: to fill us with his divine life and usher us into the glory of heaven!
We know that the call to holiness can be challenging at times. But it’s not always supposed to be hard. Sometimes it means gazing into the night sky and thinking about God’s goodness. Sometimes it means enjoying a family gathering. At its heart, holiness is a deep assurance that God is with you at all times, whether you are experiencing prosperity or hardship, joy or struggle.
God has a plan for your life—a plan to bring you to holiness. He has the details under control, so don’t worry about them. You will know some of the steps to take in advance, but others you will recognize only in retrospect. But whatever they are, each step will cause you to grow in love and knowledge of God: in holiness!
“Father, thank you for the life you have called me to. Give me grace to trust you with the details as I say yes to you.”
Questions for Reflection and Discussion
- The Church calls Abraham “Our Father in Faith.” How would you describe Abraham’s faith? How would you compare your own faith to Abraham’s?
- The responsorial psalm provides some of the reasons we can put our faith and hope in God. How would you describe them?
- The responsorial psalm response ends with these words: “as we place our trust in you”. During a typical day, on whom or on what do you rely most? How can you use this Lent to increase your “trust” and “hope” in God?
- In the second reading, St. Paul writes to Timothy to bear his “hardship for the gospel” and to do it “with the strength that comes from God.” Aside from ordinary practices of penance and mortification, when and how have you experienced “hardships” for the Gospel? Where did your strength come from to overcome them?
- St. Paul goes on to say that “immortality” and “light” are ours through a gift from God through Christ; not “according to our works but according to his own design and the grace bestowed on us in Christ Jesus.” In what ways can our additional practices of Lenten piety become “works” rather than graces –and a means of being transformed more and more into the image of Christ? How can you use the traditional practices of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving during Lent to open yourself to a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ?
- In the Gospel, Peter was so excited at seeing Christ’s glory that he wanted to “make three tents” and remain on the mountain. The Church also wants us to experience Christ’s presence, especially as we receive him in the Eucharist. What steps can you take to meet Christ in a deeper way during Mass?
- The last paragraph of the meditation begins with these words: “God has a plan for your life—a plan to bring you to holiness.” Do you believe this? Why or why not? In what way do we have a part to play in this call by spending time in Jesus’ presence in prayer, immersing ourselves in his love, and pondering his word in Scripture? During Lent, are you willing to commit to spending time everyday in prayer in Jesus’ presence and in pondering his word in Scripture? What impact do you expect this to have on your call to holiness?
- Take some time to pray and ask the Lord for the grace to say yes to his call to holiness. Use the prayer at the end of the meditation as the starting point.