Thursday, March 24, 2011

Thursday of the Second Week of Lent

The collect from today's Mass in the new translation of the Roman Missal is:

O God, who delight in innocence and restore it,
direct the hearts of your servants to yourself,
that, caught up in the fire of your Spirit,
we may be found steadfast in faith
and effective in works.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

In a world where a lack of innocence is praised we hear in in the Liturgy that God delights in innocence. In other words, contrary to what we hear from the world, innocence is a virtue to be cultivated and not a vice to be quickly discarded. It seems rather obvious to me, and surely to you as well, that innocence is a virtue that is greatly lacking in our world. Even in schools, where innocence should be protected, children are being taught about things that are not so innocent at a very young age. Instead of cultivating innocence for as long as possible, it is widely believed that the sooner we teach them about "real life" the better. Now surely, sometimes discussions that might impinge upon a child's innocence will be necessary, but lets not overdo it.

But what about us, who have already lost our innocence? Well, there is hope. Today's collect points out the God restores our innocence. But how? Well, I think he restores our innocence first and foremost through the Sacraments, particularly the Sacrament of Penance/Confession and the Holy Eucharist. In confession the Blood of the Innocent Victim is applied to our souls so cleanse us of our sins, and in the Holy Eucharist we receive the innocent Lamb of God Himself. What could be a greater restorer of innocence than that? For our part, we can help the process of purification along through prayer, self-denial, purification of the senses, and being vigilant about what we put into our minds via sight and hearing.

Regaining innocence is a hard but necessary task. Jesus made it clear that unless we become like children we cannot enter the Kingdom. Let us seek to become innocent of heart, so that like children, we will be pure and ready to enter the Kingdom of God.