Lenten Preparation Novena – Day Five – 1 March 2019
“Come Back to Me With all your Heart”
Lent 2019 will begin on
Wednesday, 6 March
The Holy Triduum is
Thursday 18 April – Holy Saturday 20 April
Easter Sunday 21 April 2019
“Do not delay turning back to the LORD,
do not put it off day after day.
For suddenly his wrath will come forth;
at the time of vengeance, you will perish…”
Saint Augustine of Hippo comments on this verse
“The mind fluctuates between presumption and desperation. You must have fear, otherwise presumption will kill you; you must have fear, that is, rather than counting on the mercy of God, lest you fall into judgement. You also need to have fear, so that desperation does not kill you, when you begin to think, that the horrible sins that you have committed, cannot be forgiven you. In that case, you end up not repenting and incur instead the sentence of Wisdom, which says, “I also will laugh at your destruction.” How then does the Lord treat those who are in danger from both these maladies? To those who are in danger from presumption, He says, “Do not be slow in turning to the Lord. Do not put it off from day to day, for suddenly his anger will come and in the time of vengeance will utterly destroy you.” To those who are in danger from despair, what does He say? “In whatever day the wicked person shall be converted, I will forget all his iniquities.” Accordingly, for the sake of those who are in danger because of despair, He has offered us a refuge of pardon. And for those who are in danger, because of presumption and are deluded by delays, He has made the day of death uncertain. You do not know when your last day may come. You are an ingrate. Why not use the day today that God has given you to repent?”
St Augustine (354-430) Father & Doctor of the Church
(Tractates on the Gospel of John, 33)
A Meditation for this ‘Prelude to Lent’
REFLECTION – “The one came for a son’s privileges, the other for a servant’s drudgery.”
“Would you see how a penitent should come to God? turn to the parable of the Prodigal Son. He, too, had squandered away his birthright, as Esau did. He, too, came for the blessing, like Esau. Yes, but how differently he came! he came with deep confession and self-abasement. He said, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before thee and am no more worthy to be called thy son, make me as one of thy hired servants” but Esau said, “Let my father arise and eat of his son’s venison, that thy soul may bless me.” The one came for a son’s privileges, the other for a servant’s drudgery. The one killed and dressed his venison with his own hand and enjoyed it not; for the other the fatted calf was prepared and the ring for his hand and shoes for his feet and the best robe and there was music and dancing.”
Blessed John Henry Newman (1801-1890)
When you feel the temptation to dwell on your own weakness,
raise your eyes to Christ crucified and say:
‘Lord, I am a poor sinner but you can work the miracle of making me a little bit better’.
In the Church, holy yet made up of sinners,
you will find everything you need to grow towards holiness.
Pope Francis – Gaudete et Exscultate
Lenten Preparation Novena
we are fast approaching the holy season of Lent.
We begin to realise anew that these are the days of salvation,
these are the acceptable days.
We know that we are all sinners.
We know that in many things we have all offended Your infinite majesty.
We know that sin destroys Your life in us
as a drought withers the leaves and chokes the life from the land,
leaving an arid, dusty desert.
Help us now, Lord,
in our feeble attempts to make up for past sin.
Bless our efforts with the rich blessing of Your grace.
Make us realise ever more our need of penance and of mortification.
Help us to see,
in our ordinary difficulties and duties,
in the trials and temptations of every day,
the best opportunity of making up for past infidelities.
Every day we are so often reminded in field and wood,
in sky and stream,
of Your own boundless generosity to us.
Help us to realise that You are never outdone in generosity,
and that the least thing we do for You will be rewarded,
full measure, pressed down, shaken together and flowing over.
Then we shall see, in our own souls,
how the desert can blossom,
and the dry and wasted land can bring forth the rich,
useful fruit that was expected of it from the beginning.
United with Your Son, who makes His way to Calvary,
I offer You my intention
(Mention your intention)