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Lenten Reflection – 31 March – The Word of the Cross

Lenten Reflection – 31 March – Tuesday of the Fifth Week of Lent, Readings: Numbers 21:4-9, Psalm 102:2-3, 16-21, John 8:21-30

“Lord, open my lips, and my mouth shall declare your praise.”

“When you have lifted up the Son of man, then you will know that I Am He…”…John 8:28

john-8-28-when-yu-have-lifted-up-the-son-of-man-tuesdayfifthweeklent-9-april-2019 and 31 March 2020

Daily Meditation:
May we be lifted up with you.

“Jesus lifted up draws all to Himself.
Jesus lifted up on the Cross, reveals fully Whoe He really is.
Jesus is most Jesus, when He is on the Cross.
Even though at Calvary, Jesus was taunted and mocked
by the rabid rabble, to come down from the Cross,
He remained transfixed on it, till the very end.
We need to mount the Cross with Jesus!
We need to see the world from that vantage viewpoint.
Then, everything falls into proper perspective,
then we begin to see the world, as it is.
It is only when we are with Jesus on the Cross,
that we are stretched to our fullest dimensions!” … Msgr Alex Rebello

For my days pass away like smoke
and my bones burn like a furnace.
Psalm 102:3

Intercessions:
Praise to Christ, who has given us Himself as the bread from heaven.
Let us pray to Him, saying:
Jesus, You feed and heal our souls, come to strengthen us.

Lord, feed us at the banquet of the Eucharist,
– with all the gifts of Your Paschal Sacrifice.
Give us a perfect heart to receive Your word,
– that we may bring forth fruit in patience.
Make us eager to work with You in building a better world,
– so that it may listen to Your Church and its gospel of peace.
We confess, Lord, that we have sinned,
– wash us clean by Your gift of salvation.

Closing Prayer:

The Word of the Cross
by Saint Paulinus of Nola (c 354-431) 

Look on thy God, Christ hidden in our flesh.
A bitter word, the cross and bitter sight:
Hard rind without, to hold the heart of heaven.
Yet sweet it is, for God upon that tree
Did offer up His life upon that rood
My Life hung, that my life might stand in God.
Christ, what am I to give Thee for my life?
Unless take from Thy hands the cup they hold,
To cleanse me with the precious draught of death.
What shall I do? My body to be burned?
Make myself vile? The debt’s not paid out yet.
Whate’er I do, it is but I and Thou,
And still do I come short, still must Thou pay
My debts, O Christ, for debts Thyself hadst none.
What love may balance Thine? My Lord was found
In fashion like a slave, that so His slave
Might find himself in fashion like his Lord.
Think you the bargain’s hard, to have exchanged
The transient for the eternal, to have sold
Earth to buy Heaven? More dearly God bought me.

the word of the cross by st paulinus of nola - 31 march 2020

“Christ’s shoulders are the arms of the cross,
there it is, that I have laid down my sins,
on that gallows I have found my rest. “

St Ambrose (340-397)
Father & Doctor of the Church

christs-shoulders-are-the-arms-of-the-cross-st-ambrose-good-shepherd-luke-15-1-32-15-sept-2019 and 31 march 2020

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Lenten Reflection – 27 March – ‘Here is the Son of God …’

Lenten Reflection – 27 March – Friday of the Fourth Week of Lent, Readings: Wisdom 2:1, 12-22, Psalm 34:17-21, 23, John 7:1-2, 10, 25-30

“Lord, open my lips, and my mouth shall declare your praise.”

“You know me and you know where I come from?
But I have not come of my own accord;
he who sent me is true and him you do not know.”…John 7:28

Daily Meditation:
May we reach out with joy to grasp Your hand.

“In His Resurrection Christ has revealed the God of merciful love, precisely because He accepted the Cross as the way to the Resurrection.   And, it is for this reason, that, when we recall the Cross of Christ, His passion and death, our faith and hope are centred on the Risen One – on that Christ who “on the evening of that day, the first day of the week, . . .stood among them” in the upper Room, “where the disciples were, …breathed on them and said to them: ‘Receive the Holy Spirit.   If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained’ ” (Jn 20:19).
Here is the Son of God, who in His Resurrection, experienced in a radical way, mercy shown to Himself, that is to say the love of the Father which is more powerful than death.   And it is also the same Christ, the Son of God, who… reveals Himself as the inexhaustible source of mercy, of the same love… more powerful than sin.” … St Pope John Paul (1920-2005) – Encyclical « Dives in Misericordia » # 8

and-it-is-also-the-same-christ-st-john-paul-encyclical-frifourtheweeklent-5-april-2019 AND 27 MARCH 2020

When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears,
and delivers them out of all their troubles.
The Lord is near to the brokenhearted
and saves the crushed in spirit.
Psalm 34:17-18

friday of the fourth week 27 march 2020

Intercessions:
Let us pray to Christ our Saviour,
who redeemed us by His Death and Resurrection:
Lord, have mercy on us.

You went up to Jerusalem to suffer and so enter into Your glory,
– bring Your Church to the Passover feast of heaven.
You were lifted high on the cross and pierced by the soldier’s lance,
– heal our wounds.
You made the Cross the Tree of Life,
– give its fruit to those reborn in baptism.
On the Cross You forgave the repentant thief,
– forgive us our sins.

Closing Prayer:

Act of Contrition
By St Alphonsus Mary Liguori (1696-1787)
Doctor of the Church

My Lord Jesus Christ,
You have made this journey
to die for me, with love unutterable
and I have so many times unworthily abandoned You
but now I love You with my whole heart
and because I love You,
I repent sincerely for having ever offended You.
Pardon me, my God
and permit me to accompany You on this journey.
You go to die for love of me,
I wish also, my beloved Redeemer,
to die for love of Thee.
My Jesus, I will live
and die always united to You.
Amenact-of-contrition-st-alphonsus-13-april-2019 and 27 march 2020

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Thought for the Day – 26 March – Why God Created Us

Thought for the Day – 26 March – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)

Why God Created Us

redeemed us by his precious blood - bacci 26 march 2020

“God is infinitely happy in Himself from all eternity.
He contemplates His own Essence, which contains evey beauty and perfection.
In the inconceivable joy of this contemplation, He generates the substantial image of Himself, which is the Eternal Word, “the brightness of his glory and the image of his substance.” (Heb 1:3)
When He contemplates Himself, in the the Eternal Word, He naturally loves Himself.
This substantial and infinite Love, proceeds from God, as an eternal principle, insofar, as He knows Himself and thence, proceeds from the Father, Who contemplates and the Word, Who is contemplated.
In this mysterious circle of the divine life, God enjoys an eternal, infinite and perfect happiness.
Consequently, He is not in need of anything.
Nevertheless, He wishes to radiate even outside of Himself, the splendour of His power, beauty and goodness.
He created the world and placed man in it, as the sovereign being.
Unfortunately, sin came to disturb our being and to deprive us of the splendour of divine grace and, in this way, it weakened the sovereignty, which God had given us over all other creatures.
But Jesus, the Eternal Word made man, has raised us once more to the supreme dignity of sons of God and heirs of Heaven.
These reflections should arouse immense gratitude to God on our part, because, He gave us life and made us masters of the universe.
They should also make us deeply grateful to Jesus, because, in His infinite mercy, He raised us up after we had fallen and redeemed us, with His own Precious Blood.”

Antonio Cardinal Bacci

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Lenten Reflection – 24 March – By your blood, forgive my sins.

Lenten Reflection – 24 March – Tuesday of the Fourth Week of Lent, Readings: Ezekiel 47:1-9, 12, Psalm 46:2-3, 5-6, 8-9, John 5:1-16 and the Memorial of Blessed Didacus Joseph of Cadiz OFM Cap (1743–1801)

“Lord, open my lips, and my mouth shall declare your praise.”

Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, in Hebrew called Bethzatha, which has five porticoes.   In these lay a multitude of invalids, blind, lame, paralyzed. One man was there, who had been ill for thirty-eight years. … John 5:2-5
“It was because Jesus did things such as this on the Sabbath
that they began to persecute him.” …John 5:16
For me!

lent-tues-of-the-fourth-week-john-5-16-it-was-because-2-april-2019 and 24 march 2020

Daily Meditation:
We begin to feel the power of the Fourth Gospel.
The “forces” that are opposed in the gospel
have everything to do with the forces at work in my heart.

“Go down, my brothers and put on the Holy Spirit in the waters of baptism;
be united with those spiritual beings who serve our God.
Blessed be He who instituted baptism for the forgiveness of Adam’s sons!
This water is the secret fire that marks His flock with a sign,
with the three spiritual names that confound the Evil one (cf. Rev 3:12). (…)
John bore witness concerning our Saviour:
“He will baptise you with the Holy Spirit and fire” (Mt 3:11).
Here, my brethren, in the true baptism, is that fire and that Spirit.
For baptism is more powerful than Jordan, that little stream,
its waves of water and oil wash away all human sin.
Elisha, by initiating it seven times, purified Naaman of his leprosy (2 Kgs 5:10);
whereas baptism purifies us of sins hidden in our souls.
Moses baptised the people in the sea (1 Cor 10:2)
yet could not cleanse their hearts from within,
Stained, as they were, by sin.
And now here is a Priest, like Moses, who cleanses the soul from its stains
and with oil He marks with a sign, lambs newborn for the Kingdom. (…)
With the water that flowed from the rock, the people’s thirst was quelled (Ex 17:1f.),
See how, through Christ and His spring, is quenched the thirst of nations. (…)
See how, from Christ’s side, there flows a life-giving stream (Jn 19:34),
peoples who thirst have drunk from it and there forgot their affliction.
Pour your dew on my weakness, Lord.
By your blood, forgive my sins.” … St Ephrem (306-373) Father & Doctor of the Church

pur your dew on my weakness lord by your blood forgive my sins - st ephrem 24 march 2020

Intercessions:
God the Father has given us His only Son, the Word made human,
to be our food and our life. Let us thank Him and pray:
May the word of Christ dwell among us in all its richness.

Help us this Lenten season to listen more frequently to Your word,
– that we may celebrate the solemnity of Easter
with greater love for Christ, our Paschal Sacrifice.
May Your Holy Spirit be our teacher,
– that we may encourage those in doubt and error to follow what is true and good.
Enable us to enter more deeply into the mystery of Your Anointed One,
– that our lives may reveal Him more effectively.
Purify and renew Your Church in this time of salvation,
– that it may give an ever greater witness to You.

Closing Prayer:

ACT OF CONTRITION

Forgive my sins, O my God, forgive my sins:
the sins of youth,
the sins of age,
the sins of my soul
and the sins of my body,
the sins which, through frailty, I have committed,
my deliberate and grievous sins,
the sins I know and the sins I do not know,
the sins I have laboured so long to hide from others,
that now they are hidden from my own memory,
let me be absolved from all these iniquities
and delivered from the bond of all these evils,
by the Life, Passion and Death
of my Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.
Amenact-of-contrition-7-march-thurs-after-ash-wed-2019 and 24 march 2020

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Lenten Reflection – 20 March – ‘… Love wipes away sin’

Lenten Reflection – 20 March – Friday of the Third week of Lent, Readings: Hosea 14:1-9 (2-10), Psalm 81:6-11, 14, 17, Mark 12:28-34

“Lord, open my lips, and my mouth shall declare your praise.”

“…You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’   The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” …Mark 12:30-32

Daily Meditation:
Fill our hearts with Your love!

REFLECTION“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and first commandment.”   And He could have stopped there.   Yet, Jesus adds something that was not asked by the doctor of the law.   He says, in fact:  “And a second is like it, You shall love your neighbour as yourself” (v. 39).   And in this case too, Jesus does not invent the second commandment but takes it from the Book of Leviticus.   The novelty is in His placing these two commandments together — love for God and love for neighbour — revealing that they are in fact inseparable and complementary, two sides of the same coin.”…Pope Francis – Angelus, 26 October 2014

fridayofthe3rdweeklent-29-march-2019 and 20 march 2020

Intercessions:
Thanks be to Christ the Lord, who brought us life by His death on the Cross.
With our whole heart let us ask Him:
By Your death raise us to life.

Teacher and Saviour,
You have shown us Your fidelity and made us a new creation by Your passion,
– keep us from falling again into sin.
Help us to deny ourselves today,
– and not deny those in need.
May we receive this day of penance as Your gift,
– and give it back to You through works of mercy.
May we see with Your eyes, everyday!
– and become images of You.
Master our rebellious hearts,
– and teach us generosity.
Closing Prayer:

Prayer Before The Crucifix
By St Vincent Strambi CP (1745-1824)

Jesus, by this saving sign,
bless this listless soul of mine.
Jesus, by Your feet nailed fast,
mend the missteps of my past.
Jesus, with Your riven hands,
bend my will to love’s demands.
Jesus, in Your Heart laid bare,
warm my inner coldness there.
Jesus, by Your thorn-crowned head,
still my pride till it is dead.
Jesus, by Your muted tongue,
stay my words that hurt someone.
Jesus, by Your tired eyes,
open mine to faith’s surprise.
Jesus, by Your fading breath,
keep me faithful until death.
Yes, Lord, by this saving sign,
save this wayward soul of mine.
Amen

prayer before the crucifix by st vincent strambi 13 sept 2019 a friday for catholic time

“If we look forward to receiving God’s mercy,
we can never fail to do good,
so long as we have the strength.
For if we share with the poor,
out of love for God,
whatever He has given to us,
we shall receive according to His promise,
a hundredfold in eternal happiness.
What a fine profit, what a blessed reward!
With outstretched arms He begs us
to turn toward Him, to weep for our sins
and to become the servants of love,
first for ourselves, then for our neighbours.
Just as water extinguishes a fire,
so love wipes away sin.”

St John of God (1495-1550)

with-outstretched-arms-he-begs-us-st-john-of-god-8-march-2019 and 20 march 2020

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Lenten Reflection – 14 March – ‘…Whoever sticks by God, possesses everything in common with God!

Lenten Reflection – 14 March – Saturday of the Second Week of Lent, Readings: Micah 7:14-15, 18- 20, Psalm 103:1-4, 9-12, Luke 15:1-3, 11-32

“Lord, open my lips, and my mouth shall declare your praise.”

“Who is a God like you, who removes guilt and pardons sin for the remnant of his inheritance; Who does not persist in anger forever, but instead delights in mercy …” …Micah 7:18luke-15-31-32-sat-of-the-second-week-lent-23-march-2019and 14 march 2020

Daily Meditation:
“For what was it Jesus’ detractors said?   “No man can forgive sins but God alone.” Inasmuch then, as they themselves laid down this definition, they themselves introduced the rule, they themselves declared the law.   He then proceeded to entangle them by means of their own words. “You have confessed,” he says in effect, “that forgiveness of sins is an attribute of God alone;  my equality therefore is unquestionable.”   And it is not these men only who declare this but also the prophet Micah, who said, “Who is a God like you?” and then indicating his special attribute he adds, “pardoning iniquity and passing over transgression.” ..St John Chrysostom (347-407) Father & Doctor

Intercessions:
Let us always and everywhere give thanks to Christ our Saviour and ask him with confidence:
Lord, help us with Your grace.

May we keep our bodies pure,
– as temples of the Holy Spirit.
May we offer ourselves this day to the service of others,
– and do Your will in all things throughout the day.
Teach us to seek the bread of everlasting life,
– the bread that is Your gift.
May Your Mother, the refuge of sinners, pray for us,
– and gain for us Your loving forgiveness.

Closing Prayer:
God of infinite love,
You shower me with limitless gifts in my life.
In my every thought and action today
guide me to the bright and loving light of Your kingdom.
Help me to be aware of
the many ways You allow me
to share in Your life so intimately today.
Thank You for the gifts You have placed in my life.
Let me be grateful every moment of this day.
May the Lord bless us,
protect us from all evil
and bring us to everlasting life.
Amen.

“For us, a portion of God’s inheritance, is our existence, our freedom, our intellect, our accountability – all of these, are the most sublime goods imaginable, goods that only God could give us.   That we, waste it all and end up in distress and that the distress brings us to our senses, is not really as significant, as the father’s vigil, compassion, extravagant greeting, refurbishing of the prodigal and the feast announced in his honour.
Not even for the refractory and envious brother, does the father have a harsh word – he is not scolding him when he speaks to him, he merely speaks the full truth- whoever sticks by God, possesses everything in common with God!”

Servant of God Cardinal Hans Urs von Bathasar (1905-1988)

luke-15-20-but-while-he-was-still-at-a-distance-for-us-hans-urs-von-bathasar-31-march-2019 and 14 march 2020

“You are always with me and all that is mine, is yours”

The Elder Brother’s Prayer

Teach me, my Lord,
to be sweet and gentle in all the events of life,
in disappointments,
in the thoughtlessness of those I trusted,
in the unfaithfulness of those on whom I relied.
Let me put myself aside,
to think of the happiness of others,
to hide my little pains and heartaches,
so that I may be the only one to suffer from them.
Teach me to profit by the suffering
that comes across my path.
Let me so use it that it may make me
patient, not irritable.
That it may make me broad in my forgiveness,
not narrow, haughty and overbearing.
May no one be less good
for having come within my influence.
No one less pure, less true, less kind,
less noble for having been a fellow traveller
in our journey toward Eternal Life.
As I go my rounds from one distraction to another,
let me whisper from time to time,
a word of love to Thee.
May my life be lived in the supernatural,
full of power for good,
and strong in its purpose of sanctity.
Amenprodigal-the-elder-brothers-prayer-beautiful-fantastic-8-october-2019-martha-mary-luke-10-42 prodigal son 14 mach 2020

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One Minute Reflection – 14 March –  “Father, I have sinned!”

One Minute Reflection – 14 March – Saturday of the Second Week of Lent, Readings: Micah 7:14-15, 18-20, Psalm 103:1-4, 9-12, Luke 15:1-3, 11-32

“Quickly bring the finest robe and put it on him” … Luke 15:22luke 15 22 quickly bring the finest robe - prodigal son 14 march 2020

REFLECTION – “How many there are who, through repentance, have been worthy to receive the love You hold for humankind.   You justified the anguished publican and the weeping woman who was a sinner (Lk 18:14; 7:50) for, through a predetermined design, You foresee and grant pardon.   Convert me also together with them, You who desire that all should be saved.

My soul was soiled as it put on the garment of its sins (Gn 3:21).   O let me make fountains flow from my eyes that I may purify it by repentance.   Clothe me with the shining robe worthy of your wedding (Mt 22:12), You who desire that all should be saved (…).

O heavenly Father, have compassion for my cry as You did for the prodigal son for I, too, am throwing myself at Your feet and crying aloud as he cried:   “Father, I have sinned!” Do not reject me, Your unworthy child, O my Saviour but cause Your angels to rejoice also on my behalf, O God of goodness who desire that all should be saved.

For You have made me Your child and Your own heir through grace (Rm 8,17).   Yet as for me, because I have offended You, am here a prisoner, an unhappy slave sold over to sin! Take pity on Your own image (Gn 1,26) and call it back from exile, O Saviour, You who desire that all should be saved…

Now is the time for repentance…  The words of Paul urge me to persevere in prayer (Col 4,2) and await You.   Therefore, with trust I pray, for I well know Your mercy, I know You come the first towards me and I am calling out for help.   Should You delay, it is to give me the reward for perseverance, You who desire that all should be saved.

Grant me always to extol You and give You glory by leading a life that is pure.   Grant that my deeds may be in accord with my words that I may sing to You, Almighty… with pure prayer, Christ alone who desires that all should be saved.” … St Romanos Melodios (c 490-c 556) 1 October Monk, Composer of Hymns, Poet – Hymn 55o have compassion for my cry as you did for the prodigal son - st romanos melodios 14 march 2020

PRAYER – Almighty God, whose healing grace even here on earth, brings us the gifts of heaven, guide us in this present life to constantly seek You and to know You and to love You.   Lead us to that Light in which You have Your dwelling.   By following Your Son, faithfully bearing our crosses, may we be His light here on earth  . And may Mary, the Blessed Mother of Sorrows, constantly be our succour and lead us to You.   We make our prayer through Christ, our Lord, with the Holy Spirit, God for all ages, amen.mater dolorosa blessed virgin holy mother pray for us 23 feb 2020