To Live With Courage
Thoughts on the First Readings -Joe Frankenfield
1st Sunday in Lent
Deuteronomy 26:4-10

“If you decide you’re going to do something, give yourself to it completely. If it’s not worth your full energy, put it aside and find something that is. You owe that to yourself and to everyone else.” A wise counselor said those words to me many years ago when I was in college.

Giving life one’s full energy isn’t easy. We want to hoard our limited resources. Others’ acceptance, our own ego, our energy, our time, possessions, all these are finite.

Still, part of us recoils from living by halves. We dislike it in ourselves and we pity it in others. Young folks scorn a guarded life partly sensing that its roots lie in cowardice and partly dreading that they themselves may ultimately yield to the same fear-filled accounting. Old folks view it with the sadness of witnessing a profound loss.

“I have come that people will have the fullness of life,” said Jesus [John 10:10]. The gift of faith is the courage to live fully, to give all of ourselves to whatever we are doing: to give ourselves without hesitation to the future that God promises.

The experience of God’s inestimable care and generosity in creating our universe and us within it and the experience of Jesus, the personal touch of God’s love in history, overcome the fear of our own woefully inadequate resources. It is unimaginable that God who accomplishes such magnificence and revealed such love will not bring its potential to fullness.

We begin every Eucharistic Prayer remembering all the good that God has accomplished. Then we pray that God will complete the work he’s begun: the work of Christ in and through us. We don’t recall this for God’s sake. We recall for our sake.