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Lenten Reflection – 21 March- The rich man and Lazarus

Lenten Reflection – 21 March – Thursday of the Second week of Lent, Year C

“There was a rich man, who was clothed in purple
and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day.
And at his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus…”
Luke 16:19–20Luke 16 19–20 rich man and lazarus turs2ndweeklent-21march2019.jpg

St Peter Chrysologus (400-450)
Bishop of Ravenna, Doctor of the Church

Sermon 122, On the rich man and Lazarus

“Abraham was very rich,” Scripture tells us (Gn 13:2)… My brethren, Abraham wasn’t rich for himself but for the poor, rather than keeping hold of his fortune, he intended to share it…This man, who was himself a stranger, did not hesitate to do all he could so that the stranger might not feel himself to be a stranger.   Living in a tent, he was unable to let a passer-by remain without shelter.   Perpetual traveller, he unfailingly welcomed the travellers who came his way…  Far from taking his ease in God’s bounty, he knew himself called to spread it abroad, he used it to protect the oppressed, set prisoners free, even to snatch those about to die from their fate (Gn 14:14)…  Abraham did not sit but remained standing before the stranger he had received.   He was not his guest’s host but made himself his servant.   Forgetting that he was master in his own home, he himself brought the food and, concerned that it should be carefully prepared, called on his wife.   Where he himself was concerned he relied entirely on his servants, but for the stranger he had received he thought it barely enough to entrust it to his wife’s skill.
What more could I say, my brothers?   It was so perfect a consideration… that drew God himself to Abraham’s home and compelled him to become his guest.   Thus the very one who would later claim to be welcomed in the person of the poor and the stranger, came to Abraham, rest for the poor, refuge of strangers.   “I was hungry,” he said, “and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me” (Mt 25:35).
And again, we read in the Gospel:  “When the poor man died, he was carried away by angels to the bosom of Abraham.”   Isn’t it only right, brethren, that Abraham should welcome all the saints even into his own rest and should exercise, even in the blessedness of heaven, his service of hospitality?…  Doubtless, he could not have considered himself wholly happy unless, even in glory, he was able to continue to practice his ministry of sharing.”

Daily Meditation:
Bring us back to you.

The story of the Rich Man and Lazarus is our lesson today.
We beg to be open to the workings of the Spirit,
that we might not settle for the consolations of this life alone.

Blessed is the man
who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the seat of scoffers
but his delight is in the law of the Lord
and on his law he meditates day and night.
Psalm 1:1-2

LOVE OF OUR NEIGHBOUR

St John Vianney (1786-1859)

“All of our religion is but a false religion and all our virtues are mere illusions and we ourselves are only hypocrites in the sight of God, if we have not that universal charity for everyone, for the good and for the bad, for the poor people as well as for the rich, for all those who do us harm as much as for those who do us good.
No, my dear brethren, there is no virtue which will let us know better whether we are the children or God than charity.
The obligation we have to love our neighbour is so important, that Jesus Christ put it into a Commandment, which He placed immediately after that by which He commands us to love Him with all our hearts.   He tells us that all the law and the prophets are included in this commandment to love our neighbour.   Yes, my dear brethren, we must regard this obligation as the most universal, the most necessary and the most essential to religion and to our salvation.   In fulfilling this Commandment, we are fulfilling all others.   St Paul tells us that the other Commandments forbid us to commit adultery, robbery, injuries, false testimonies.   If we love our neighbour, we shall not do any of these things because the love we have for our neighbour would not allow us to do him any harm.”

all of our religion is but a false - st john vianney thurs2ndweeklent 21 march 2019.jpg

Closing Prayer:
Loving God,
I hear your invitation, “Come back to me”
and I am filled with such a longing to return to You.
Show me the way to return.
Lead me this day in good works I do in Your name
and send Your Spirit to guide me and strengthen my faith.
I ask only to feel Your love in my life today and if You are with me, how can I not love my neighbour?

May the Lord bless us,
protect us from all evil
and bring us to everlasting life.
Amen

Posted in LENT 2019, MORNING Prayers, Papa FRANCIS, QUOTES on ALMS, QUOTES on CHARITY, The WORD

One Minute Reflection – 21 March –  To ignore a poor man is to scorn God!

One Minute Reflection – 21 March – Thursday of the Second week of Lent, Year C

“There was a rich man, who was clothed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day.   And at his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus…”… Luke 16:19–20

REFLECTION – “Lazarus is a good example of the silent cry of the poor throughout the ages and the contradictions of a world in which immense wealth and resources are in the the hands of the few.   To ignore a poor man is to scorn God!   We must learn this well – to ignore the poor is to scorn God.  to ignore a poor man is to scorn god - pope francis 21 march 2019 thurs2ndweeklent

There is a detail in the parable that is worth noting – the rich man has no name but only an adjective – ‘the rich man’, while the name of the poor man is repeated five times and ‘Lazarus’ means ‘God helps’.   Lazarus, who is lying at the gate, is a living reminder to the rich man to remember God but the rich man does not receive that reminder.   Hence, he will be condemned not because of his wealth but for being incapable of feeling compassion for Lazarus and for not coming to his aid.

God’s mercy toward us is linked to our mercy toward our neighbour, when this is lacking, also that of not finding room in our closed heart, He cannot enter.   If I do not thrust open the door of my heart to the poor, that door remains closed.   Even to God. This is terrible.”….Pope Francis – General Audience, 18 May 2016luke 16 19-20 there was a rich man - there is a detail - pope francis - 21 march 2019 thurs2ndweeklent

PRAYER – Lord God, You love innocence of heart and when it is lost, You alone can restore it.   In Your bounty, You give us all that is good, You give us Your Spirit who teaches us to think and do what is right.   Turn then our hearts to You and to our neighbour, especially those who are in need, so that we, may be unwearied in good works.   Always helped by the Blessed Virgin, Mother of Charity, we strive to make our lenten journey, one of total self-giving.   Through Christ our Lord in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God forever, amen.mary mother of charity pray for us 21 march 2019.jpg

Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, LENT 2019, LENTEN THOUGHTS, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on ALMS, QUOTES on CHARITY, The WORD

Lenten Thoughts – 11 March – Let us show each other God’s generosity – Saint Gregory Nazianzen (330-390)

Lenten Thoughts – 11 March – Monday of the First Week of Lent, Gospel: Matthew 25:31–46

Let us show each other God’s generosity

Saint Gregory Nazianzen (330-390)
Bishop. Father, Doctor of the Church

An excerpt from his Oration 14: On Love of the Poor

Recognise to whom you owe the fact that you exist, that you breathe, that you understand, that you are wise and, above all, that you know God and hope for the kingdom of heaven and the vision of glory, now darkly as in a mirror but then with greater fullness and purity.   You have been made a son of God, co-heir with Christ. Where did you get all this and from whom?

Let me turn to what is of less importance – the visible world around us.   What benefactor has enabled you to look out upon the beauty of the sky, the sun in its course, the circle of the moon, the countless number of stars, with the harmony and order that are theirs, like the music of a harp?   Who has blessed you with rain, with the art of husbandry, with different kinds of food, with the arts, with houses, with laws, with states, with a life of humanity and culture, with friendship and the easy familiarity of kinship?

Who has given you dominion over animals, those that are tame and those that provide you with food?   Who has made you lord and master of everything on earth?   In short, who has endowed you with all that makes man superior to all other living creatures?

Is it not God who asks you now in your turn to show yourself generous above all other creatures and for the sake of all other creatures?   Because we have received from Him so many wonderful gifts, will we not be ashamed to refuse Him this one thing only, our generosity?   Though He is God and Lord, He is not afraid to be known as our Father. Shall we for our part repudiate those who are our kith and kin?

Brethren and friends, let us never allow ourselves to misuse what has been given us by God’s gift.   If we do, we shall hear Saint Peter say – Be ashamed of yourselves for holding onto what belongs to someone else.   Resolve to imitate God’s justice and no-one will be poor.   Let us not labour to heap up and hoard riches while others remain in need.   If we do, the prophet Amos will speak out against us with sharp and threatening words -Come now, you that say:  When will the new moon be over, so that we may start selling?   When will the sabbath be over, so that we may start opening our treasures?

Let us put into practice the supreme and primary law of God.   He sends down rain on just and sinful alike and causes the sun to rise on all without distinction.   To all earth’s creatures He has given the broad earth, the springs, the rivers and the forests.   He has given the air to the birds and the waters to those who live in the water.   He has given abundantly to all the basic needs of life, not as a private possession, not restricted by law, not divided by boundaries but as common to all, amply and in rich measure.   His gifts are not deficient in any way, because He wanted to give equality of blessing to equality of worth and to show the abundance of His generosity.resolve to imitate god's justice and noone will be poor - st gregory of nazianzen 11 march 2019 1st mond of lent.jpg

Posted in FATHERS of the Church, LENT 2019, MORNING Prayers, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on ALMS, QUOTES on CHARITY, The WORD

Lenten Reflection – 11 March – “Come, you who are blessed by my Father”

Lenten Reflection – 11 March – Monday of the First Week of Lent, Gospel: Matthew 25:31–46

“Come, you who are blessed by my Father”
Homily attributed to Saint Hippolytus of Rome (c 170-c 235)
Priest and Martyr

“Come, my Father’s blessed ones, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.”   Come, you lovers of poor people and strangers.   Come, you who fostered My love, for I am love… Look, My kingdom is ready, paradise stands open, My immortality is displayed in all its beauty.   Come now, all of you, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.

Then, astounded at so great a wonder – at being addressed as friends by Him whom the angelic hosts are unable clearly to behold – the righteous will reply, exclaiming:  “Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you?   Master, when did we see You thirsty and give You a drink?   When did we see You, whom we hold in awe, naked and clothe You? When did we see You, the immortal One, a stranger and welcome You?   When did we see You, lover of our race, sick or in prison and come to visit You?   You are the Eternal, without beginning like the Father, and co-eternal with the Spirit.   You are the One who created all things from nothing, You are the King of angels, You make the depths tremble, You are clothed in light as in a robe (Ps 104[103]:2), You are our maker who fashioned us from the earth (Gn 2:7), You are the creator of the world invisible.   The whole earth flies from Your presence (Rv 20:11).   How could we possibly have received Your lordship, Your royal majesty, as our guest?”

Then will the King of Kings say to them in reply:  “Inasmuch as you did this to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you did it to me.   Inasmuch as you received, clothed, fed and gave a drink to those members of mine (1Cor 12:12) about whom I have just spoken to you, that is, to the poor, you did it to me.   So come, enter the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world, enjoy forever the gifts of my heavenly Father and of the most holy and life-giving Spirit.”   What tongue can describe those blessings?   “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor human heart conceived what God has prepared for those who love him” (1Cor 2:9).lord when did we see you hundry - mon 1st week lent matthew 25 37 11 march 2019 no 2.jpg

Daily Meditation:
Bring us back to you.
We repeat our desire that God bring us home from our wandering.
We know that in the confusion that surrounds us and can fill us,
we need the gift of Wisdom.

It is fitting that our very first “lesson” in our faith,
is the last judgement scene that Jesus paints for us.
We will be judged on whether we:
fed the hungry
welcomed the stranger
clothed the naked
comforted the sick
visited the imprisoned.
It is powerful to re-learn this wisdom –
Jesus identifies with each of these “least” cared for.

Who might we feed, welcome, clothe, comfort or visit this week?
As my heart might “resist” this mission,
I might beg to be brought back, with all my heart.

Praise to Jesus, our Saviour, by his death He has opened for us the way of salvation.
Let us ask Him:
Lord, guide Your people to walk in Your ways.

God of mercy, You gave us new life through baptism,
– make us grow day by day in Your likeness.
May our generosity today bring joy to those in need,
– in helping them may we find You.
Help us to do what is good, right and true in Your sight,
– and to seek You always with undivided hearts.
Forgive our sins against the unity of Your family,
– make us one in heart and spirit.

Closing Prayer:
Loving God,
You call us back to You with all of our hearts.
I feel Your call for me deep in my heart
and I know You want me back
as much as I want to return.
Please, Lord,
give me the wisdom to know how to return.
Make my journey back to You this Lent
one of grace, forgiveness and gentle love.

May the Lord bless us,
protect us from all evil
and bring us to everlasting life.
Amen.monday of the 1st week of lent 11 march 2019.jpg

Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, LENT 2019, LENTEN THOUGHTS, MORNING Prayers, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on ALMS, QUOTES on LOVE

Lenten Thoughts – St Leo the Great – Purification of spirit through fasting and almsgiving

Lenten Thoughts – 7 March – Thursday after Ash Wednesday

Purification of spirit through fasting and almsgiving

Saint Pope Leo the Great (400-461)
Father & Doctor of the Church

An excerpt from his Sermo 6 de Quadragesima

Dear friends, at every moment the earth is full of the mercy of God and nature itself is a lesson for all the faithful, in the worship of God.   The heavens, the sea and all that is in them, bear witness to the goodness and omnipotence of their Creator and the marvellous beauty of the elements, as they obey Him, demands from the intelligent creation, a fitting expression of its gratitude.

But with the return of that season marked out in a special way, by the mystery of our redemption and of the days that lead up to the paschal feast, we are summoned more urgentlyM to prepare ourselves by a purification of spirit.

The special note of the paschal feast is this – the whole Church rejoices in the forgiveness of sins.   It rejoices in the forgiveness, not only of those who are then reborn in holy baptism but also of those, who are already numbered among God’s adopted children.

Initially, men are made new by the rebirth of baptism.   Yet, there still is required a daily renewal to repair the shortcomings of our mortal nature and whatever degree of progress has been made, there is no-one, who should not be more advanced.   All, must, therefore, strive to ensure that on the day of redemption, no-one may be found in the sins of his former life.

Dear friends, what the Christian should be doing at all times, should be done now with greater care and devotion, so that the Lenten fast enjoined by the apostles, may be fulfilled, not simply by abstinence from food but above all, by the renunciation of sin.

There is no more profitable practice as a companion to holy and spiritual fasting than that of almsgiving.   This embraces under the single name of mercy, many excellent works of devotion, so that the good intentions of all the faithful, may be of equal value, even where their means are not.   The love that we owe both God and man, is always free from any obstacle, that would prevent us from having a good intention.  The angels sang – Glory to God in the highest and peace to his people on earth.   The person who shows love and compassion to those in any kind of affliction, is blessed, not only with the virtue of good will but also, with the gift of peace.

The works of mercy are innumerable.   Their very variety, brings this advantage to those who are true Christians, that in the matter of almsgiving, not only the rich and affluent but also those of average means and the poor, are able to play their part.   Those who are unequal in their capacity to give, can be equal, in the love within their hearts.the works of mercy are innumerable - st pope leo the great - thurs after ash wed 7 march 2019.jpg

Posted in LENT 2019, MORNING Prayers, Papa FRANCIS, PAPAL MESSAGES, QUOTES on ALMS, QUOTES on FASTING, QUOTES on PRAYER, The WORD

One Minute Reflection – 6 March – Ash Wednesday

One Minute Reflection – 6 March – Ash Wednesday

“Beware of practising your piety before men in order to be seen by them;  for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.”…Mark 6:1

REFLECTION – “Fasting, that is, learning to change our attitude towards others and all of creation, turning away from the temptation to “devour” everything to satisfy our voracity and being ready to suffer for love, which can fill the emptiness of our hearts.
Prayer, which teaches us to abandon idolatry and the self-sufficiency of our ego and to acknowledge our need of the Lord and His mercy.   Almsgiving, whereby we escape from the insanity of hoarding everything for ourselves in the illusory belief that we can secure a future that does not belong to us.

And thus to rediscover the joy of God’s plan for creation and for each of us, which is to love Him, our brothers and sisters and the entire world and to find in this love our true happiness.

Let us not allow this season of grace to pass in vain!   Let us ask God to help us set out on a path of true conversion.   Let us leave behind our selfishness and self-absorption and turn to Jesus’ Pasch.   Let us stand beside our brothers and sisters in need, sharing our spiritual and material goods with them.   In this way, by concretely welcoming Christ’s victory over sin and death into our lives, we will also radiate its transforming power to all of creation.”- Pope Francis’ 2019 Lenten Messagemark 6 1 - beware of practising your piety - let us not let this season pass in vein - pope francis 6 march 2019 ash wed.jpg

PRAYER – Remember Lord, Your solemn covenant, renewed and consecrated by the Blood of the Lamb, so that Your people may obtain forgiveness for their sins and a continued growth in grace.   Support us Lord, as with this Lenten fast we begin our Christian warfare, so that in doing battle against the spirit of evil, we may be armed with the weapon of self-denial.   Heavenly Father, help us to fast for the right reasons.   Teach us to fast to curb illicit desires and to obtain closer union with You.   Help us Lord, during this Lenten season to cleave to You alone and grow in sanctity and charity.   Create in me a clean heart O Lord!   Through our Lord Jesus Christ in unity with the Holy Spirit, one God forever, amen.o-that-today-ash-wednesday-6 march 2019 ash wed.jpg

Posted in IGNATIAN/JESUIT - Reflections, Jesuit Saints and more, LENT 2019, MORNING Prayers, Papa FRANCIS, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on ALMS, QUOTES on FASTING, QUOTES on PRAYER, The WORD

Remember you are Dust and Unto Dust you shall return

Remember you are Dust and Unto Dust you shall return remember you are dust and unto dust you shall return - 6 march 2019.jpg

Ash Wednesday 6 March 2019

Saint Peter Chrysologus (400-450)

Bishop of Ravenna, Father & Doctor of the Church

Sermon 8 ; CCL 24, 59 ; PL 52, 208

Exercises for Lent:  Almsgiving, Prayer, Fasting

My dear brethren, today we set out on the great Lenten journey.   So let us take our food and drink along in our boat, putting onto the chest the abundant mercy we shall need. For our fasting is a hungry one, our fasting is a thirsty one if it isn’t sustained by goodness and refreshed by mercy.   Our fasting will be cold, our fasting will flag, if the fleece of almsgiving doesn’t clothe it, if the garment of compassion does not wrap it around.

Brethren, what spring is for the land, mercy is for fasting – the soft, spring winds cause all the buds on the plains to flower;  the mercy of our fast causes all our seeds to grow until they blossom and bear fruit for the heavenly harvest.   What oil is to the lamp, goodness is to our fast.   As the oily fat sets the lamp alight and, in spite of so little to feed it, keeps it burning to our comfort all night long, so goodness makes our fasting shine – it casts its beams until it reaches the full brightness of self-restraint.   What the sun is to the day, almsgiving is to our fast:  the sun’s splendour increases the light of day, breaking through the dullness of the clouds;  almsgiving together with fasting sanctifies its holiness and, thanks to the light of goodness, dispels from our desires anything that could petrify.   In short, what the body is for the soul, generosity acts similarly for the fast:  when the soul leaves the body it brings about death;  if generosity abandons the fast, it is, its death.ash wed and good friday - days of fasting and abstinence

A very special day.

The ashes we use are the burnt palms from last year’s celebration of Passion Sunday.
We begin our Lenten journey aware of where we are going.
We want to enter into the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus for us more fully.
That is the purpose of our journey.   It is why we mark our heads with His cross.
It is why we fast today and abstain from meat.from pam fronds to ashes

Our Lenten program is not an effort to save ourselves.
We have been saved by His sacrifice.
Our self-denial helps us, in the darkness that surrounds us,
to prepare ourselves to receive His light.
For this is a journey to the Easter font,
where we will renew the promises of our Baptism,
remembering that in dying with Him in the waters of Baptism,
we are re-born with Him to everlasting life.

This year’s journey begins today.

Yet even now, says the LORD,
return to me with your whole heart,
with fasting and weeping and mourning;

Rend your hearts, not your garments,
and return to the LORD, your God.
For gracious and merciful is he,
slow to anger, rich in kindness,
and relenting in punishment.
Joel 2:12-13joel 2 12-13 ash wed yet even now - 6 march 2019.jpg

Closing Prayer:
Lord,
it feels like we are embarking
on a Lenten journey together, You and I.
Today, we are invited to let the Holy Spirit
purify our hearts and strengthen us in love.
That feels like what I am looking for –
or what You are looking for in me.
I want to remember how much I need You in my life
and how much my life needs redemption.
I want to remember it clearly and
in the background of my day, today and all through Lent.

On this special day, Ash Wednesday,
may my small sacrifices in fasting be a way to clear away
the clutter in my life to see You more clearly.
May my longing for meat and other food,
help me to focus my life today more outside myself.
Let me be aware of those,
who are in so much more suffering, than I am
and may I be aware of them,
as the brothers and sisters, You have placed in my life.

Lord, I know there is darkness within me and around me.
Bless these days with Your Word.
Let Your Light shine in the darkness.
Help me long for that shining Light
until we celebrate it at the Vigil, six weeks from now.

And most of all Lord,
help me to honour this day with the ashes on my forehead.
They help me remember where I have come from
and where I am going.
May I acknowledge to You my sins
and my deep need for Your loving forgiveness and grace.
I pray that this Lenten season will make me so much more aware
of how much I need Your love and care in my life.

May the Lord bless us,
protect us from all evil
and bring us to everlasting life.
Amen

“The Lord, who always goes before us, said this and did this (Jn 12:24).   Whenever we experience the cross, He has already experienced it before us.   We do not mount the cross to find Jesus.   Instead it was He who, in His self-abasement, descended even to the cross, in order to find us, to dispel the darkness of evil within us and to bring us back to the light.”

Pope Francis

(at the Canonisation of Saints Francisco and Jacinta on 14 May 2017)

the-lord-who-always-goes-before-us-pope-francis-20-feb-2017-sts-francisco-and-jacinta.jpg