Genesis, Chapter 3, verse 8-10:
8 When they heard the sound of the LORD God walking about in the garden at the breezy time of the day, the man and his wife hid themselves from the LORD God among the trees of the garden. 9 The LORD God then called to the man and asked him: Where are you? 10 He answered, “I heard you in the garden; but I was afraid, because I was naked, so I hid.”
The Law of Influence
Eve had no leadership role; no title yet she had influence. Everyone regardless of their roles is important and generates influence either positive or negative. Eve demonstrated the impact of negative influence. Although God commissioned Adam as her spiritual leader, Eve usurped the role of Adam, who followed his wife rather than God and together they led humankind into sin.
Call to be virtuous Pope John Paul II
1. "Do not be overcome by evil but overcome evil with good" (Rom 12:21). young people must listen to the word of God which is the path leading away from the works of evil and darkness, and thus to clothe themselves in the raiment of light in order to accomplish good works.
2. "How shall the young remain sinless? By obeying your word" (Ps 119:9). The psalm gives this answer to the question which all young people must ask themselves if they wish to lead a worthy and upright life, suitable to their condition. To achieve this, Jesus is the only way. The talents which you have received from the Lord and which lead to commitment, authentic love and generosity bear fruit when you live not merely for things that are material and fleeting, but "by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God" (Mt 4:4). For this reason, dear young people, I encourage you to experience Christ's love, to be conscious of what he has done for you, for all of humanity, for the men and women of every age. Feeling yourselves loved by him, you will in turn be truly able to love. Experiencing an intimate communion of life with him, which should be accompanied by receiving his Body, by listening to his Word, by the joy of his pardon and mercy, you will be able to imitate him and, as the psalmist teaches, "remain sinless".
3. What does it mean to remain sinless? It means living your life according to the moral principles of the Gospel which the Church sets before you. At present, unfortunately, it is easy for people to fall into moral relativism and the identity crisis which affects so many young people, victims of cultural models which are empty of meaning or of an ideology which does not offer high and clear moral guidelines. Such moral relativism gives rise to selfishness, division, marginalization, discrimination, fear and distrust of others. Moreover, when young people live life "their own way", they idealize things from other countries, they allow themselves to be seduced by unchecked materialism, they lose their own roots and long for distractions. Consequently, the emptiness brought on by this behaviour explains many of the evils which beset young people: alcohol, the abuse of sex, drug use, prostitution hidden under different guises, the causes of which are not always and exclusively personal, motivation based on personal likes and selfish attitudes, opportunism, the lack of a serious life project with no room given to a stable marriage; also the rejection of all legitimate authority, the desire to escape and to emigrate, the avoidance of commitment and responsibility in order to seek shelter in a false world founded on alienation and annihilation. Faced with this situation, Christian youth, longing to "remain sinless" and firm in faith, know that they are called and chosen by Christ to live in the authentic freedom of God's children, which involves many challenges. Thus, welcoming the grace received in the sacraments, they know that they must bear witness to Christ by their confident efforts to lead a life which is upright and faithful to him.
4. Faith and morally upright behaviour go hand in hand. In effect, the gift received leads to a permanent conversion enabling us to imitate Christ and receive the divine promises. In order to hold fast to the fundamental values which, keep them sinless, Christians sometimes have to suffer marginalization and persecution — at times heroically — because of moral choices which are contrary to the world's behaviour. This witness to the cross of Christ in daily life is also a sure and fertile seed of new Christians. A life fully human and committed to Christ requires this generosity and dedication.
5. "Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?" (Mk 10:17). In the Gospel which we have heard, a young man asks Jesus what he must do, and the Master, filled with love, tells him how he must "be". The young man presumes that he has kept all the commandments, and Jesus answers that what is necessary is that he leave everything and follow him. This gives a firm grounding and authenticity to values and permits the young man to reach his fulfilment as a person and as a Christian. The key to this fulfilment is found in fidelity, which St Paul referred to in the first reading as one of the characteristics of our Christian identity. This is the path of fidelity presented by St Paul: "Hold fast to what is good; love one another with brotherly affection; ... rejoice in your hope, ... practise hospitality.... Bless.... Live in harmony with one another ... associate with the lowly; never be conceited. Repay no one evil for evil.... Do not be overcome by evil but overcome evil with good" (Rom 12:9-21).
The last ceremonial act of the Time after Epiphany is the bittersweet farewell, or depositio, to the word "Alleluia," which is suppressed for seventy days in the traditional Roman rite from Septuagesima Sunday until Holy Saturday night. This ceremony usually takes after the office of none (i.e., around 3 p.m.) on the Saturday before Septuagesima Sunday
The Way Penance
"Read these counsels slowly. Pause to meditate on these thoughts. They are things that I whisper in your ear-confiding them-as a friend, as a brother, as a father. And they are being heard by God. I won't tell you anything new. I will only stir your memory, so that some thought will arise and strike you; and so you will better your life and set out along ways of prayer and of Love. And in the end you will be a more worthy soul."
Treat your body with charity, but with no more charity than you would show towards a treacherous enemy.
John Maxwell, The Maxwell Leadership Bible.
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