A Word That Reforms

Father James Chelich
Lent 2008

For just as from the heavens the rain and snow come down and do not return there till they have watered the earth, making it fertile and fruitful…

So shall my WORD be that goes forth from my mouth;
It shall not return to me void, but shall do my will,
achieving the end for which I sent it. Isaiah 55:10-11

The “WORD that goes forth”

The WORD that goes forth was the Divine Word, the Word that God spoke when He created the heavens and the earth (see Genesis 1:1-2:4). The Word said: “Let there be light,” and there was light. The Word achieved the end for which it was sent.

The WORD that goes forth is also Jesus. He is the Divine Word that went forth, in person, from the Eternal Father. He became flesh and dwelt among us (see John 1:1-3, 14). He achieved the end for which He was sent: to embrace us in unreserved love,
to redeem our lives and to bring us power (grace) in the hope of healing our world.

The WORD that goes forth is also all that God says in the Scriptures (see 2 Timothy 3:16-17). It is the Truth that sets us free (see John 8:31-32). It moves by its own Divine power to achieve the end for which it was sent: the healing and regeneration of our minds, hearts, and bodies, and the reform of our relationships with each other and with all things in the world around us (see Isaiah 55:10-11).

But there is a will that stands in the path of this WORD. This is our own, human will. Our will can bar the WORD from entering into us. We must allow the WORD to enter into us and work within us and in our relationships.

How It Works

First, it is always a WORD from the Scriptures (found somewhere in the Bible).
Second, it is best if it is a WORD that calls us to change and to reform, either in
our personal lives or in the way we interact with our world. For the season of Lent
I identified a Word of Reform for each week (see the last page of this pamphlet).
If possible, you should begin your work with this Word of Reform when you come
to Sunday Mass.

The first week of Lent the Word of Reform is from the Letter of Saint Paul to the Colossians:

Put to death whatever in your nature is rooted in earth:
fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desires,
and that lust which is idolatry. Colossians 3:5

Pay attention to it carefully. Ask yourself if this Word of Reform applies to you.
If it does, admit it to God in your heart (The Penitential Rite at the beginning of Mass
is a good time to do this).

This Word of Reform may be addressing something in you and in your life that is deeply rooted and will be difficult to dislodge from your thoughts, words, actions, attitudes and habits. You will need help. Ask for it! Ask Jesus to sprinkle His blood, shed for the forgiveness of sins, on the Word of Reform and the places where it applies to your life. Ask that his blood dislodge these sins from your soul and the fabric of your life (During Mass, just after the consecration of the Body and Blood of Jesus, is a good time to do this.)

Now take the Word of Reform home with you. Sit down with it in private. Ask yourself where or with whom during your day you would be afraid or embarrassed
to read this Word of Reform out loud. On a sheet of paper write down these times
and places, and the names of these people. The Word has identified where the problem lies, and perhaps with whom. Now you know where you need to get to work.

Indeed, God’s Word is living and effective,
sharper than any two-edged sword.
It penetrates and divides soul and spirit, joints and marrow;
it judges the reflections and thoughts of the heart. Nothing is concealed…
All likes bare and exposed… Hebrews 3:12-13

Write out the Word of Reform on a little card and put it on your bathroom mirror,
where you will see it as you prepare yourself in the morning. Every morning, look
at it and read it. Then put the card in your pocket and carry it with you into your day.

Anytime during the day, when you are about to be in those places or situations, or with those people you identified on your list, manage to get a brief moment by yourself. Take out the card and read the Word of Reform. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you either avoid the situation or, if this is not possible, to obey the Word of Reform in the situation or encounter you are about to have.

At the end of each day place the card back on the mirror in the bathroom. Pause, and read the Word of Reform again. Think back over the day. Thank God for the situations in which you succeeded in avoiding these sins. Ask forgiveness for the situations in which you failed. Remind yourself that the Word of Reform will prevail! It will accomplish the end for which it was sent if you keep striving.

Humbly welcome the Word that has taken root in you,
with its power to save you. Act on this Word.
If all you do is listen to it, you are deceiving yourselves.
James 1:21b-22

Five Words the Reform for Lent

First Week of Lent:

Put to death whatever in your nature is rooted in earth:
fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desires,
and that lust which is idolatry.
Colossians 3:5

Second Week of Lent:

Put aside all the anger and quick temper,
the malice, the insults, and the foul language.
Colossaians 3:8
If you are angry, let it be without sin.
The sun must not go down on your wrath…
Ephesians 4:26-27

Third Week of Lent:

Stop lying to one another. Col. 3:9a
Let everyone speak the truth to his neighbor,
for we are members of one another.
Ephesians 4:25

Fourth Week of Lent:

Bear with one another, forgive whatever grievances
you have against one another.
Forgive as the Lord has forgiven you.
Colossians 3:13

Fifth Week of Lent:

How can God’s love survive in a person who has enough
of this world’s goods yet closes his heart to his brother
when he sees him in need? Let us love in deed and in truth
and not merely talk about it.
1 John 3:17-18

Palm Sunday:

Clothe each other with heartfelt mercy, with kindness,
humility, meekness, and patience.
Colossians 3:12-14
Follow the way of love, even as Christ has loved you.
Ephesians 5:2