Posted in Blessed JOHN HENRY Cardinal NEWMAN, CONFESSION/PENANCE, LENT 2019, NOVENAS, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on ALMS, QUOTES on FASTING, QUOTES on PRAYER, QUOTES on REPENTANCE, QUOTES on the CROSS of CHRIST

Lenten Preparation Novena – Day Nine – 5 March 2019 “Come Back to Me With all your Heart”

Lenten Preparation Novena – Day Nine – 5 March 2019 “Shrove Tuesday”
“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

You have been crucifying Our Lord!

We come to confession quite preoccupied with the shame that we shall feel.   We accuse ourselves with hot air. It is said that many confess and few are converted.   I believe it is so, my children because few confess with tears of repentance.

See, the misfortune is, that people do not reflect.   If one said to those who work on Sundays, to a young person who had been dancing for two or three hours, to a man coming out of an alehouse drunk, “What have you been doing?   You have been crucifying Our Lord!” they would be quite astonished, because they do not think of it.   My children, if we thought of it, we should be seized with horror;  it would be impossible for us to do evil.   For what has the good God done to us that we should grieve Him thus, and put Him to death again — Him, who has redeemed us from Hell?

It would be well if all sinners, when they are going to their guilty pleasures, could, like St Peter, meet Our Lord on the way, who would say to them, “I am going to that place where you are going yourself, to be there crucified again.”   Perhaps that might make them reflect.

St Jean Marie Baptiste Vianney, the Cure of Ars (1786-1859)what have you been doing - st john vianney - 5 march 2019.jpg

A Meditation for this ‘Prelude to Lent’

REFLECTION“Give back some of God’s gifts to God, that you may safely enjoy the rest. Fast, or watch, or abound in alms, or be instant in prayer, or deny yourselves society, or pleasant books, or easy clothing, or take on you some irksome task or employment;  do one or other, or some, or all of these, unless you say that you have never sinned and may go like Esau with a light heart to take your crown”

“But, O ye sons and daughters of men, what if this fair weather but ensure the storm afterwards? what if it be, that the nearer you attain to making yourselves as gods on earth now, the greater pain lies before you in time to come, or even (if it must be said), the more certain becomes your ruin when time is at an end?   Come down, then, from your high chambers at this season to avert what else may be.

Sinners as ye are, act at least like the prosperous heathen, who threw his choicest trinket into the water, that he might propitiate fortune.   Let not the year go round and round, without a break and interruption in its circle of pleasures.

Give back some of God’s gifts to God, that you may safely enjoy the rest.   Fast, or watch, or abound in alms, or be instant in prayer, or deny yourselves society, or pleasant books, or easy clothing, or take on you some irksome task or employment; do one or other, or some, or all of these, unless you say that you have never sinned and may go like Esau with a light heart to take your crown.

Ever bear in mind that Day, which will reveal all things and will test all things “so as by fire” and which will bring us into judgement ere it lodges us in heaven.”

Blessed John Henry Newman (1801-1890)give back some of god's gifts to god - lent prep nov 5 march 2019.jpg

Lenten Preparation Novena

DAY NINE

O gracious Father,
infuse in our hearts
the spotless light of Your Divine Wisdom
and open the eyes of our mind
that we may understand the teachings of Your Gospel.
Instill in us also the fear of Your blessed commandments,
so that having curbed all carnal desires,
we may lead a spiritual life,
both thinking and doing everything to please You.
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.
United with Your Son,
who makes His way to Calvary,
I offer You my intention
………………….
(Mention your intention)
For You, our God,
are the enlightenment of our souls and bodies
and to You we render glory,
together with Your Suffering Son,
and with Your all holy,
life-creating Spirit,
now and ever and forever.
AmenLenten prep novena day nine - 5 march 2019.jpg

Posted in Blessed JOHN HENRY Cardinal NEWMAN, DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, LENT 2019, NOVENAS, Papa FRANCIS, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on HUMILITY, QUOTES on WEALTH/RICHES, The WORD

Lenten Preparation Novena – Day One – 25 February 2019 “Come Back to Me With all your Heart”

Lenten Preparation Novena – Day Eight – 4 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

Jesus looked around and said to his disciples,
“How hard it is for those who have wealth
to enter the Kingdom of God!”

Mark 10:23

“How hard it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!”

“When Jesus says: “Blessed are the poor in spirit,” (Mt 5:3), He shows that the kingdom of heaven will be assigned to those who are recommended by the humility of their spirits rather than by the smallness of their means.   Yet, it cannot be doubted, that this possession of humility, is more easily acquired by the poor than the rich, for the poverty of the former, inclines them more easily to generosity, while the others’ wealth inclines them rather to pride.   Notwithstanding, even in many of the rich is found, a spirit which uses its abundance, not for the increasing of its superiority but on works of kindness and counts its greatest gain, to be what it expends, in relieving the hardship of others.

So it is given to every kind and condition of people, to share in this virtue, for one can be equal as regards one’s dispositions, without being so in respect of fortune.   It does not matter how different they are in earthly means, there is no distance between those who are equal in spiritual possessions.

Blessed, therefore, is the poverty, that does not desire to increase its wealth here below but is eager to amass heavenly possessions.”

St Pope Leo the Great (400-461)

Father & Doctor of the Churchblessed therefore is the poverty - lent prep nov - 4 march 2019.jpg

A Meditation for this ‘Prelude to Lent’

REFLECTION – “Easy circumstances are generally thought a special happiness; it is thought a great point to get rid of annoyance or discomfort of mind and body, it is thought allowable and suitable, to make use of all means available, for making life pleasant.”

“Such advice is especially suitable to an age like this, when there is an effort on all hands to multiply comforts and to get rid of the daily inconveniences and distresses of life.
Alas! my brethren, how do you know, if you avail yourselves of the luxuries of this world without restraint but that you are only postponing and increasing by postponing, an inevitable chastisement?
How do you know, but that, if you will not satisfy the debt of daily sin now, it will hereafter come upon you with interest? See whether this is not a thought, which would spoil that enjoyment, which even religious persons are apt to take in this world’s goods, if they would but admit it.
It is said that we ought to enjoy this life as the gift of God.
Easy circumstances are generally thought a special happiness, it is thought a great point, to get rid of annoyance, or discomfort, of mind and body, it is thought allowable and suitable, to make use of all means available, for making life pleasant. We desire and confess we desire, to make time pass agreeably and to live in the sunshine. All things harsh and austere are carefully put aside. We shrink from the rude lap of earth and the embrace of the elements and we build ourselves houses in which the flesh may enjoy its lust and the eye its pride.
We aim at having all things at our will.
Cold and hunger and hard lodging and ill usage and humble offices and mean appearance, are all considered serious evils.

And thus year follows year, tomorrow as today, till we think that this, our artificial life, is our natural state and must and ever will be.”we desire and confess we desire - lent prep nov - 4 march 2019.jpg

Blessed John Henry Newman (1801-1890)

“Only by accepting, with humble gratitude,
the love of the Lord,
do we free ourselves, from the seduction of idols
and the blindness of our illusions.
Money, pleasure, success dazzle
but then disappoint,
they promise life but procure death.
The Lord asks us to detach ourselves
from these false riches in order,
to enter into true life,
the full, authentic, luminous life.”

Pope Francis – Angelus, 11 October 2015only by accepting with humble gratitude - pope francis lent prep novena - 4 march 2019.jpg

Lenten Preparation Novena
DAY EIGHT

Loving Father,
may I live this Lent
as an unceasing act of love for You.
Let me grow in understanding
of the riches hidden in Christ.
In my prayer, grant me a spirit
to see what must be done
and the strength to do what is right.
Make me radiant in Your presence
with the strength of my yearning for You.
By my fasting,
fortify my resolve
to carry out Your loving commands.
Bless me with an increase in devoutness of life
so that I may be found steadfast in faith.
Any by my almsgiving,
renew and purify my heart
so that I may hold to the things that eternally endure.
Help me to repent of my sins now
and make reparation throughout
this Lenten season and each day thereafter.
Teach me and help me Lord, my God,
to relinquish the comforts of this world,
to leave my house and follow only the
Way of the Cross,
to sell all, give to the poor
and follow Your Son.
And thus, united with Him,
who makes His way to Calvary,
I offer You my intentions
………………..
(Mention your special intention)
Amenlenten prep nov day eight 4 march 2019.jpg

Posted in Blessed JOHN HENRY Cardinal NEWMAN, CONFESSION/PENANCE, DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, LENT 2019, NOVENAS, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on CONVERSION, QUOTES on HUMILITY, QUOTES on REPENTANCE, The WORD

Lenten Preparation Novena – Day Six – 2 March 2019 “Come Back to Me With all your Heart”

Lenten Preparation Novena – Day Six – 2 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
A Meditation for this ‘Prelude to Lent’

“He answered, “I heard you in the garden
but I was afraid, because I was naked, so I hid.”
Then God asked: Who told you that you were naked?
Have you eaten from the tree of which I had forbidden you to eat?”

Genesis 3:10-11

“Do you see, dear friend, how patient God is?   For when he said, “Adam, where are you?” and when Adam did not at once confess his sin but said, “I heard your voice, O Lord, and realised that I am naked and hid myself,” God was not angered, nor did He immediately turn away.   Rather, He gave him the opportunity of a second reply and said, “Who told you that you are naked?   Unless you ate of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat.”
Consider how profound are the words of God’s wisdom.   He says, “Why do you say that you are naked but hide your sin?   Do you really think that I see only your body but do not see your heart and your thoughts?”   Since Adam was deceived he hoped that God would not know his sin.   He said something like this to himself, “If I say that I am naked, God in His ignorance will say, ‘Why are you naked?’   Then I shall have to deny and say, ‘I do not know’ and so I shall not be caught by Him and He will give me back the garment that I had at first.   If not, as long as He does not cast me out, He will not exile me!”
While he was thinking these thoughts … God, unwilling to multiply his guilt, says, “How did you realise that you are naked?   Unless you ate of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat.”   It is as though He said, “Do you really think that you can hide from me?   Do you imagine that I do not know what you have done?   Will you not say, ‘I have sinned?’ Say, O scoundrel, ‘Yes, it is true, Master, I have transgressed your command.   I have fallen by listening to the woman’s counsel, I am greatly at fault for doing what she said and disobeying Your word.   Have mercy on me!’”   But he does not humble himself, he does not bend.   The neck of his heart is like a sinew of iron!   For had he said this he might have stayed in paradise.   By this one word he might have spared himself that whole cycle of evils without number that he endured by his expulsion and in spending so many centuries in hell.”

Saint Symeon the New Theologian (949-1022)
(Discourses, 5)will you not say I have sinned - have mercy on me - st simeon the theologian - lent prep novena 2 march 2019.jpg

A Meditation for this ‘Prelude to Lent’

REFLECTION“Now is the accepted time, now the day of salvation.”

“These are thoughts, I need hardly say, especially suited to this season.   From the earliest times down to this day, these weeks before Easter have been set apart every year, for the particular remembrance and confession of our sins.   From the first age downward, not a year has passed but Christians have been exhorted to reflect how far they have let go their birthright, as a preparation for their claiming the blessing.   At Christmas, we are born again with Christ, at Easter we keep the Eucharistic Feast.   In Lent, by penance, we join the two great sacraments together.   Are you, my brethren, prepared to say—is there any single Christian alive who will dare to profess—that he has not in greater or less degree, sinned against God’s free mercies, as bestowed on him, in Baptism without, or rather against his deserts?   Who will say that he has so improved his birthright that the blessing is his fit reward, without either sin to confess, or wrath to deprecate?   See, then, the Church offers you this season for the purpose.

“Now is the accepted time, now the day of salvation.”

Now it is that, God being your helper, you are to attempt to throw off from you the heavy burden of past transgression, to reconcile yourselves to Him, who has once already imparted to you, His atoning merits and you have profaned them!”

Blessed John Henry Newman (1801-1890)now is the accepted time -bl-j-h-newman- 2 march 2019.jpg

“There is still time for endurance,
for patience,
time for healing,
time for change.
Have you slipped?  Rise up.
Have you sinned?  Cease.
Do not stand among sinners but leap aside.
For when you turn away and weep, then you will be saved.”

St Basil the Great (329-379)

Father and Doctor of the ChurchTHERE Is still time for endurance, time for healing...st basil the great - lent novena 2 march 2019.jpg

Lenten Preparation Novena
DAY SIX

O gracious Father,
infuse in our hearts
the spotless light of Your Divine Wisdom
and open the eyes of our mind
that we may understand the teachings of Your Gospel.
Instil in us also the fear of Your blessed commandments,
so that having curbed all carnal desires,
we may lead a spiritual life,
both thinking and doing everything to please You.
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.
United with Your Son,
who makes His way to Calvary,
I offer You my intention
…………………………………
(Mention your intention)
For You, our God,
are the enlightenment of our souls and bodies;
and to You we render glory,
together with Your Suffering Son,
and with Your all holy,
life-creating Spirit,
now and ever, and forever.
Amenlenten prep novena day six - 2 march 2019.jpg

Posted in Blessed JOHN HENRY Cardinal NEWMAN, CONFESSION/PENANCE, DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, LENT 2019, NOVENAS, Papa FRANCIS, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on CONVERSION, QUOTES on REPENTANCE, QUOTES on SANCTITY, QUOTES on TRUST in GOD, The WORD

Lenten Preparation Novena – Day Five – 1 March 2019 “Come Back to Me With all your Heart”

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…”
Sirach 5:7

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)you do not know when your last day may come - st augustine - 1 march 2019 lenten prep novena

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)would you see how a penitent should come to god - bl john henry newman - 1 march 2019 - lent prep novena

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 ExscultateWHEN YOU FEEL THE TEMPTATION TO DWELL - pope francis - gaudete exsultate - 1 march 2019.jpg

Lenten Preparation Novena
DAY FIVE

Dear Lord,
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)
Amenlenten preparation novena day five - 1 march 2019

Posted in Blessed JOHN HENRY Cardinal NEWMAN, CONFESSION/PENANCE, LENT 2019, NOVENAS, PRACTISING CATHOLIC, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on CONVERSION, QUOTES on DEATH, QUOTES on ETERNITY, QUOTES on HEAVEN, QUOTES on HELL, QUOTES on PERSEVERANCE, QUOTES on SANCTITY, QUOTES on SUFFERING, QUOTES on the CROSS of CHRIST, SAINT Pope PAUL VI, The WORD

Lenten Preparation Novena – Day Four – 28 February 2019 “Come Back to Me With all your Heart”

Lenten Preparation Novena – Day Four – 28 February 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

The salt of repentance

Following the Master, every Christian must renounce himself, take up his own cross and participate in the sufferings of Christ (Mt 16:24).   Thus transformed into the image of Christ’s death, he is made capable of meditating on the glory of the resurrection. Furthermore, following the Master, he can no longer live for himself but must live for Him who loves him and gave Himself for him.   He will also have to live for his brethren, completing “in his flesh that which is lacking in the sufferings of Christ…for the benefit of his body, which is the church” (Ga 2:20; Col 1:24).

In addition, since the Church is closely linked to Christ, the penitence of the individual Christian also has an intimate relationship of its own, with the whole ecclesial community.   In fact, not only does he receive in the bosom of the Church through baptism the fundamental gift of “metanoia,” namely the transformation and renewal of the whole person but this gift is restored and reinvigorated, in those members of the Body of Christ, who have fallen into sin, through the sacrament of penance.   “Those who approach the sacrament of penance receive from the mercy of God forgiveness for offences committed against Him and at the same time become reconciled with the Church on which they have inflicted a wound by sinning and the Church, cooperates in their conversion, with charity, example and prayer” (Vatican II : LG 11).   And in the Church, finally, the little acts of penitence imposed each time in the sacrament, become a form of participation, in a special way, in the infinite expiation of Christ.

St Pope Paul VI (1897-1978)following the master every christian - st pope paul VI 28 feb 2019

A Meditation for this ‘Prelude to Lent’

Reflection“We cannot escape punishment, here or hereafter – we must take our choice, whether to suffer and mourn a little now, or much then.”

“And then, alas! the truth flashed upon him, he uttered a great and bitter cry, when it was too late.   It would have been well, had he uttered it before he came for the blessing, not after it.   He repented when it was too late—it had been well if he had repented in time.   So I say of persons who have in any way sinned.   It is good for them not to forget that they have sinned.   It is good that they should lament and deplore their past sins. Depend upon it, they will wail over them in the next world, if they wail not here.   Which is better, to utter a bitter cry now or then?—then, when the blessing of eternal life is refused them by the just Judge at the last day, or now, in order that they may gain it?   Let us be wise enough to have our agony in this world, not in the next.   If we humble ourselves now, God will pardon us then.   We cannot escape punishment, here or hereafter – we must take our choice, whether to suffer and mourn a little now, or much then.”

Blessed John Henry Newman (1801-1890)so i say of persons who have ibn any way sinned - bl john henry newman 28 feb 2019

Lenten Preparation Novena
DAY FOUR

Loving Father,
may I live this Lent
as an unceasing act of love for You.
Let me grow in understanding
of the riches hidden in Christ.
In my prayer,
grant me a spirit to see what must be done
and the strength to do what is right.
Make me radiant in Your presence
with the strength of my yearning for You.
By my fasting, fortify my resolve
to carry out Your loving commands.
Bless me with an increase in devoutness of life,
so that I may be found steadfast in faith.
And by my almsgiving, renew and purify my heart,
so that I may hold to the
things that eternally endure.
Help me to repent of my sins now
and make reparation throughout
this Lenten season and each day thereafter.
United with your Son,
who makes His way to Calvary,
I offer You my intentions
……………………………………………
(Mention your special intention)
Amenlenten preparation novena day four no 2 - 28 feb 2019.jpg

Posted in Blessed JOHN HENRY Cardinal NEWMAN, LENT 2019, NOVENAS, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on FAITH, QUOTES on LOVE, The PASSION

Lenten Preparation Novena – Day Three – 27 February 2019 “Come Back to Me With all your Heart”

Lenten Preparation Novena – Day Three – 27 February 2019
“Come Back to Me With all your Heart”

Lent 2019 will begin on
Wednesday, 6 March
The Holy Triduum is
Thursday, 18 April, Good Friday, 19 April, Holy Saturday, 20 April
Easter Sunday – 21 April 2019

WE ARE WRETCHED CREATURES

We cannot dwell upon the conduct of the Jews, my dear people, without being struck with amazement.   These very people had waited for God for four thousand years, they had prayed much because of the great desire they had to receive Him and yet when He came, He could not find a single person to give Him the poorest lodging.   The all-powerful God was obliged to make His dwelling with the animals.

And yet, my dear people, I find in the conduct of the Jews, criminal as it was, not a subject for explanations but a theme for the condemnation of the conduct of the majority of Christians.

We can see that the Jews had formed an idea of their Redeemer which did not conform with the state of austerity in which He appeared.   It seemed as if they could not persuade themselves that this could indeed be He who was to be their Saviour;  St Paul tells us very clearly that if the Jews had recognised Him as God, they would never have put Him to death.   There is, then, some small excuse for the Jews.   But what excuse can we make, my dear brethren, for the coldness and the contempt which we show towards Jesus Christ?

Oh, yes, we do indeed truly believe that Jesus Christ came upon earth, that He provided the most convincing proofs of His divinity.    Hence the reason for our hope.   We rejoice and we have good reason to recognise Jesus Christ as our God, our Saviour and our Model.   Here is the foundation of our faith.

But, tell me, with all this, what homage do we really pay Him?   Do we do more for Him than if we did not believe all this?   Tell me, dear brethren, does our conduct correspond at all to our beliefs?   We are wretched creatures.

We are even more blameworthy than the Jews!

St John Marie Baptiste Vianney (1786-1859)oh-yes-we-do-indeed-truly-believe-st-john-vianney-27-feb-2018.jpg

A Meditation for this ‘Prelude to Lent’

“He thought he was as sure of the blessing as if he had not sold the birthright.”
And then, when all is done and over and their souls sold to Satan, they never seem to understand that they have parted with their birthright.   They think that they stand just where they did, before they followed the world, the flesh and the devil  they take for granted that when they choose to become more decent, or more religious, they have all their privileges just as before.   Like Samson, they propose to go out as at other times before and shake themselves.    And like Esau, instead of repenting for the loss of the birthright, they come, as a matter of course, for the blessing.   Esau went out to hunt for venison gaily and promptly brought it to his father.   His spirits were high, his voice was cheerful. It did not strike him that God was angry with him for what had past years ago. He thought he was as sure of the blessing, as if he had not sold the birthright.

Blessed Cardinal John Henry Newman (1801-1890)and then when all is done and over - bl john henry newman - 27 feb 2019

Lenten Preparation Novena
DAY THREE

Today Lord I choose life,
I choose Your love
and the challenge to live it
and share it,
I choose hope, even in moments of darkness,
I choose faith, accepting You as Lord and God,
I choose to let go of some part of my burdens,
day by day handing them over to You,
I choose to take hold of Your strength and power
ever more deeply in my life.
I choose repentance and reparation and suffering,
for all my sins
and those of all the world.
Forgive me my Lord!
May this truly be for me,
a time of new life, of change, challenge and growth.
May I come to Easter
with a heart open to dying with You
and rising to Your new life, day by day.
Help me to repent of my sins now
and make reparation throughout
this Lenten season and each day thereafter.
United with your Son,
who makes His way to Calvary,
I offer You my intentions
…………………………………………..
(Mention your special intention)
Amenlenten preparation novena day three - 27 feb 2019

Posted in LENT, NOVENAS, PRACTISING CATHOLIC, Uncategorized

Preparing for Lent and Announcing a Lenten Preparation Novena – 21 February

“Come Back to Me with All Your Heart”

Lent with All My Heartcome back to me with all your heart - lent 2019

Each year, when Lent comes near, I easily return to my old instincts that Lent is supposed to be a time when I do some sacrifice to please God for six weeks.   I know, in my head and heart that this isn’t the meaning of Lent but it is deeply ingrained in me, and I suspect it is for many of us.

The first Preface (the prayer that introduces the Eucharistic Prayer) of Lent is titled: “The spiritual meaning of Lent.” It sets the tone for Lent with this prayer, worthy of our reflection:

For by your gracious gift each year
your faithful await the sacred paschal feasts
with the joy of minds made pure,
so that, more eagerly intent on prayer
and on the works of charity,
and participating in the mysteries
by which they have been reborn,
they may be led to the fullness of grace
that you bestow on your sons and daughters.
(The Roman Missal, Third Typical Edition, 2011)

We are invited to await the Three Holy Days – Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday – “with the joy of minds made pure.”   Rarely does it seem that we are going through Lent with joy, or that this joy comes from “minds made pure.”   And, rarely is it so clear that the “fullness of grace” to which we are led comes from being “more eagerly intent on prayer” and “on the works of charity.”   Finally, this journey is framed at “participating in the mysteries by which they have been reborn.”

I want to begin Lent this year, using Ignatius’ naming of a grace I desire:  “Lord, lead me to the fullness of your grace.”   I want to ask that I might be more intent on prayer and works of charity.    And, I want to experience, through the readings and the liturgies each week during Lent, that I’m really reliving the mysteries of my rebirth and salvation.

I desire that this be what I “do” during Lent.   This gets me closer to a Lent experience that is about what God wants to give me, rather than what I try to give God.

When we are more “intent on prayer,” what will that look like?   If we let our prayer become more personal – more about our relationship with Jesus – we will discover all we need for our Lenten journey.   We will discover who we are.   We will discover pockets of independence, areas of resistance, patterns that are unhealthy and sinful.   And, if we stay open to graces being offered us from Jesus who always desires a deeply relationship with Him, we will be drawn – reading by reading – story after story – into admiration and affections for Jesus, His way and His invitation to us.   Lent can become a day-by-day process of being more and more aware of the gift being offered us.   The gift becomes a person and a more intimate relationship with Him.   We will be drawn to greater freedom and deeper self-sacrificing, dying-to-self love.

It is in this context that sacrifices will come.   The Preface above suggests that what flows from this kind of prayer is “works of charity.”   It seems to imply that when we desire to be closer to Jesus in prayer, we live that out, not by giving up candy or alcohol, or even by chipping away at our bad habits.   It appears that the next step in living out a closer relationship with Jesus is to offer ourselves in service of others – that is, to love as Jesus loves us.   Lent will lead us to ask who we are called to love and serve.   Often, it will be those who are closest to us.   Sometimes, it will be purifying and transformative to let our hearts be open to and compassionate for those who are deeply in need in our city, or in our world.   Almsgiving has long been a central part of Lent.   It allows us to exercise compassion.   But, there may also be times when we can find ways to do more – to let ourselves experience greater proximity with those on the margins of our world. Sometimes we may only be able to exercise that desire by intentionally reading more about their plight, and growing in compassion that way.   At other times, we may take acts of solidarity that lead to political advocacy on their behalf.   We may even decide to take the step of going to and serving in a place when we can meet and let my heart be touched by, personal encounters with people in need.

When we let ourselves fall in love with Jesus and then let our hearts desire to be more like His, Lent comes alive.  Then, Lent moves quite directly to celebrating His love for us on those major feasts and a profound desire to love as He has loved us.   What a fruitful Lent that could be!

May our Lent with all my heart, be a journey of desire, that my heart be more like His.
Fr Andy Alexander, SJ

The Lenten Preparation Novena

begins Monday 25 February

I will be away during the Novena (though I will pre-schedule it) and back on Ash Wednesday.preparing for lent 2019.jpg