Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, LENT, MORNING Prayers, PRAYERS of the SAINTS, QUOTES of the SAINTS, The WORD

Lenten Reflection – 16 March 2018 – Friday of the 4th Week of Lent

Lenten Reflection – 16 March 2018 – Friday of the 4th Week of Lent

Wisdom 2:1, 12-22, Psalms 34:17-21, 23, John 7:1-2, 10, 25-30

Wisdom 2:12 – “Let us lie in wait for the righteous man,
because he is inconvenient to us and opposes our actions;
he reproaches us for sins against the law,
and accuses us of sins against our training.

John 7:28-20 – So Jesus proclaimed, as he taught in the temple, “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. I know him, for I come from him and he sent me.” So they sought to arrest him; but no one laid hands on him because his hour had not yet come.

Today’s Mass anticipates every nuance of feeling, emotion, tragedy and anguish of Good Friday, only two weeks away.   The plot against the “just one” described in Reading 1, is so detailed, so full of venom and hatred, one might think it came out of a secret meeting of His enemies.

Then, the Gospel spells out the gathering storm over Jesus.   It would be a mistake to think of Jesus’ Passion taking place only during the last three days of His last week.   Those are only the climax of a Passion that had been building up since the beginning of His public life.   Rejection, unbelief, scorn – were no easier for Him to accept than for us. But here, now, at the end of His life, He encounters hatred – most painful of all agonies. The psalmist cry belongs to Him in full right: “Save me O God, by your power” (Entrance Antiphon).

Jesus’ human side, His emotions and feelings, were never more evident than during these last weeks of His life.   And never did He pray more anxiously for deliverance and help, evident at the Last Supper and the Garden of Olives.   He sweats blood in the Garden, He will be nailed to a cross but after three days, He will rise from the dead!   And we will have forgiveness of sins and a new life and understanding for this old one we are living now.  Today’s readings help us to further our own conversion as we contemplate these immense sufferings, all that Jesus has done for us and this goal He holds out to us. (Fr E Lawrence O.S.B. – Daily Meditations for Lent)

Am I bold enough to speak the truth openly, like Jesus did?
Have I too condemned anyone for the truth?
Have I experienced true fear and anguish and learnt the meaning of prayer?

O Lord Jesus Christ, I adore You hanging on the cross.
Your head crowned with thorns!
You are the King of Glory, O Christ!

St Pope Gregory the Great (540-604) Father & Doctor of the Churchfriday of the fourth week - 16 march 2018

Almighty Father, Enter our Hearts
By St Augustine (354-430) Father & Doctor of the Church

Almighty Father, enter our hearts
and so fill us with Your love,
that, forsaking all evil desires,
we may embrace You our only good.
Show unto us, for Your mercies’ sake,
O Lord our God, what You are unto us.
Say unto our souls, I am your salvation.
So speak that we may hear.
Our hearts are before You;
open our ears;
let us hasten after Your voice
and take hold of You.
Hide not Your face from us,
we beseech You, O Lord.
Enlarge the narrowness of our souls,
that You may enter in.
Repair the ruinous mansions,
that You may dwell there.
Hear us, O Heavenly Father,
for the sake of Your only Son,
Jesus Christ, our Lord,
Who lives and reigns with You
and the Holy Spirit, now and forever.
Amenalmighty father enter our hearts - st augustine - 16 march 2018 - friday of the 4th week lent 2018


Lenten Reflection – 13 March 2018 – Tuesday of the 4th Week of Lent

Lenten Reflection – 13 March – Tuesday of the 4th Week of Lent

Ezekiel 47:1-9, 12, Psalms 46:2-3, 5-6, 8-9, John 5:1-16

Ezekiel 47:9And wherever the river goes every living creature which swarms will live, and there will be very many fish; for this water goes there, that the waters of the seak may become fresh; so everything will live where the river goes.

John 5:6-9When Jesus saw him and knew that he had been lying there a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to be healed?” The sick man answered him, “Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is troubled, and while I am going another steps down before me.” Jesus said to him, “Rise, take up your pallet, and walk.” And at once the man was healed, and he took up his pallet and walked.tuesday of the fourth week - 13 march 2018

The theme of life-giving water again dominates the readings of today’s Mass. “Come to the waters, all who thirst, though you have no money, come and drink with joy” (Entrance Antiphon).   The time for the prospective converts’ baptism is drawing near.
We need to be reminded that we don’t have to imagine ourselves as catechumens to share their desire and thirst.   We can and do, always long for greater and greater union in love “All who thirst, come to the waters.”   The Opening Prayer is not just for catechumens but for us all – “Father, may our lenten observance prepare us to embrace the paschal mystery and proclaim Your salvation with joyful praise.”
To embrace the paschal mystery is to die and rise with Jesus.   It is the ultimate glory of every human, baptised or not.   If we do not yet experience the fullness of the thirst for God signified by the living waters of baptism, it may well be that our thirst has been dulled by our personal alienation from Christ.   Conversion to Christ is ongoing, it never ends!   This conversion we claim to be working at, is it for real and for how long?   We don’t have to tell our Lord that we have no-one to put us into the water, we KNOW where the pool is – it is the Sacrament of Confession, it is in Confession where He heals us just as He healed the man at the pool!   The healing pool is also the Eucharist and certainly, it will be the grace-filled moment of our baptismal renewal on Holy Saturday night and Easter.

What the catechumens longed for, we possess now – Baptism, the Eucharist, Confession and these are always available. We don’t even have to wait for Easter!

In our Easter encounter with Him who is our Good Shepherd and who says, “I lay down my life for my sheep”, satisfies all our wants and desires and needs.   “In green pastures He will give us rest, He will lead us along the waters of peace” (Communion Antiphon).   In the Eucharist, in Confession, God is and always will be in our midst!   Run to Him, praise Him!…(Fr E Lawrence OSB- Daily Meditations for Lent)

When has God been most present to you?
How often to I attend Daily Mass and Confession?
Could I change this practise – today and for the rest of my life?

“Ah, who would not be touched? …. A God who weeps with so many tears at the loss of one soul and Who cries unceasingly:  My friend, my friend, why proceedest thou thus to lose thy soul and thy God?   Stop! Stop!   Ah! Look at my tears, my Blood which flows yet. Must I die a second time to save thee?   Look at me.   Ah! Angels from Heaven descend upon earth, come and weep with me for the loss of this soul!   Oh, that a Christian should be so unfortunate as to persevere still in running towards the abyss despite the voice which his God causes him to hear continually!   But, you may say to me, no one says these things to us.   Oh my friends, unless you want to stop up your ears, you will hear the voice of God, which follows you unceasingly.

Tell me, my friends, then, what is this remorse of conscience which overwhelms you in the midst of sin?   Why do these anxieties and storms agitate you?   Why this fear, this dread that you are in, when you seem to be forever expecting to be crushed by the thunders of Heaven?   How many times, even when you were sinning, have you not experienced the touch of an invisible hand which seemed to push you away, as if someone were saying:   Unhappy man, what are you doing?   Unhappy man, where are you going?   Ah my son, why do you wish to damn yourself? ….

Would you not agree with me that a Christian who despises so many graces deserves to be abandoned and rejected because he has not listened to the voice of God or profited by His graces?   On the contrary, my dear brethren, it is God Himself Who is scorned by this ungrateful soul who would seem to wish to put Him to death again.   All creation demands vengeance and it is, in fact, God alone Who wishes to save this soul and Who is opposed to all that could be prejudicial to it.

He watches over its salvation as if it were the only soul in the world.”...St John Vianney (1786-1859)

For a small teardrop from the eye
can cause an entire evil platoon of the Tempter’s
army to shrink away,
like the squirming of centipedes or earthworms,
drowning in a puddle of oil or a drop of
some lethal potion.
And the faint groan of a sighing heart,
rising from the soul,
is like a warm southerly breeze, mixed with sun,
that melts the fiercest blizzard,
for like storms, they are easily born and when
opposed, quickly die.

St Gregory of Narek (c951-c1010) Doctor of the Churchfor a small teardrop from the eye - st gregory of narek - 13 march 2018


21 February 2018 – Wednesday of the First Week of Lent

21 February 2018 – Wednesday of the First Week of Lent

Jonah 3:1-10, Psalms 51:3-4, 12-13, 18-19, Luke 11:29-32

Jonah 3:6-10 – Then tidings reached the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, removed his robe, and covered himself with sackcloth, and sat in ashes. And he made proclamation and published through Nineveh, “By the decree of the king and his nobles: Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste anything; let them not feed, or drink water but let man and beast be covered with sackcloth and let them cry mightily to God; yea, let every one turn from his evil way and from the violence which is in his hands. Who knows, God may yet repent and turn from his fierce anger, so that we perish not?” When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil way, God repented of the evil which he had said he would do to them; and he did not do it.
Luke 11:29When the crowds were increasing, he began to say, “This generation is an evil generation; it seeks a sign, but no sign shall be given to it except the sign of Jonah.”wed of the first week - 21 feb 2018

It’s quite a mystery – that Jonah, a mere man and a reluctant prophet was able to bring an entire city back to God.   But Jesus, who is God in person, fails.   What can we make of this?   Maybe we can just settle for the perverseness of fallen human nature – our unwillingness to respond to divine goodness, even when, at times, we recognise it.

Sin itself is a mystery.   We know what harm it does to ourselves and to others and yet we deliberately choose to commit it.   Would we have been converted by the preaching of Jesus?   Does His presence now, in the Gospel, bring us back to Him?   Why is it that year after year, we need the preaching, of Jesus, of John the Baptist, of the prophets?

I suspect that part of Jonah’s effectiveness resulted from the kind of motivation he inspired – he SCARED the Ninevites into conversion.   Inspired by fear or not, the conversion was genuine and the Lord God “saw what they did, how they turned from their evil way”.

All this throws light on our own Lenten journey, it makes us examine our motives for these Lenten practices.   We don’t have to observe a strict fast as in the old days but the Church will never give up telling her people of the serious need for self-discipline in their lives.   She knows that if we do not control our appetites, they will control us and deprive us of our humanity and any chance of eternal life.

“With all your heart turn to me” says the Lord, ” for I am tender and compassionate” (Gospel Verse)

And it is noteworthy that the Church has us respond to the story of the Ninevites’ conversion by putting into our hearts and mouths the familiar penitential Psalm 51: “Create in me a clean heart, O God and put a new and righty spirit within me.
Cast me not away from thy presence and take not thy holy Spirit from me.   Restore to me the joy of thy salvation and uphold me with a willing spirit.”

What are my motives for these Lenten practices?
Have I appetites that tend to overpower me?
What can I do to ‘turn around’ and amend my life?

Fr E Lawrence OSB – Daily Meditations for Lent

I Wish to Clasp Your Hand – Do Not Refuse Me!
Prayer of Eugene de Ferronays

“Dear Lord! It is just when I am in the world
that I have most need of You
because You know it is full of snares
that the devil has set for me.
You must hold my hand, dear Lord,
if You will not abandon me.
A little of the world is not bad for me;
it is even good, for it teaches me how small it is
and I feel the greater happiness
when I come back to You.
But that I may surely do so,
You must only loose Your hold a little,
that it may not try me too far,
You must not entirely leave hold.
Do You see dear Lord?
I wish to clasp Your hand – do not refuse me!”i wish to clasp your hand - do not refuse me - eugene de ferronays - 21 feb 2018 - lenten prayer