18 February – The First Sunday of Lent, Year B
Genesis 9:8-15, Psalms 25:4-9, 1 Peter 3:18-22, Mark 1:12-15
Mark 1:15 – “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent, and believe in the gospel.”
Psalm 25:4 – Make me to know thy ways, O Lord; teach me thy paths
Lent is a kind of desert. A time set apart to pray with greater focus and intensity.
A time to fast from what distracts us from what is most important – that good news!
When the outside noise is quietened, we are more in touch with the inner pulls that are going on inside of us.
It is not always a comfortable space to be!
We are used to be anaesthetised to the tugs of the Holy Spirit calling us to something new, something more and often we struggle to be free from the attachment to things, we would prefer them staying just as they are, thank you.
But now we seek to emerge, like Jesus, from our desert time of Lent, strengthened and renewed.
We have a new energy and courage to respond to whatever God is asking of us in this moment of our lives.
Part of that time is to spend true moments, as Jesus did, listening to the Father. We must create some desert space.
Is there a time we can safeguard each day for prayer?
Can we reduce the clutter of too much external stimulation from TV, social media, so that we can tune into what God is saying, what the Holy Spirit is wanting us to notice?
Be sure to find that “desert time and space” each day.
What are those inner concerns, questions, worries with which the Spirit is driving you into that desert this Lent?
Imagine yourself with Jesus in the desert. Enter into conversation with Him.
Fr Nicholas King SJ – Long Journey to the Resurrection
Christus. Behold a matter that is deeply displeasing to Me, namely, how few there are who recognise the value of time, the time that I lend to men for doing penance, for increasing the grace given them, for acquiring heavenly glory. Lo, the acceptable yet irrevocable time, passes and no one is considering it in his heart; the days of salvation are slipping by and no one makes the occasion of their flight a reason for using well what can never return.
But you, as far as you are able, flee the things of time, such as acquaintanceship, speech-making and occupations of small profit and because the days are evil, redeem the time that should be given rather to Me and to your soul than to others. Is My proposition hard and difficult? Observe how much time is given up to the body for food and sleep, to conversation, banquets and the rest, so that you cannot give ever so small a portion to God, to your soul, to eternity! Alas, how prodigal men are of time when it is a question of serving vanity, how sparing of it when it is a case of occupying themselves with His business to whom all time is owed.
Make me to know thy ways, O Lord; teach me thy paths…Psalm 25:4
Keep me, O God, from pettiness.
Let us be large in thought, word and deed.
Let us be done with fault-finding
and leave off self-seeking.
May we put away all pretense
and meet each other face to face
without self-pity and without prejudice.
May we never be hasty in judgement
and always generous.
Let us take time for all things.
Make us grow calm, serene, gentle.
Teach us to put into action our better impulses
and make us straight-forward and unafraid.
Grant that we may realise
that it is the little things in life that create differences;
that in the big things we are all as one.
And, O Lord God,
Let us not forget to be kind.
Mary Stuart’s Prayer (Mary Queen of Scots)