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Posts Tagged ‘Lent’


Ash Wednesday 1Today’s readings for 2nd March, brings to mind the purpose of our Lenten journey, being aware of sin in daily life and discerning God’s Will for us, choosing to accept our cross and following Jesus.

Reading 1DT 30:15-20

Moses said to the people:
“Today I have set before you
life and prosperity, death and doom.
If you obey the commandments of the LORD, your God,
which I enjoin on you today,
loving him, and walking in his ways,
and keeping his commandments, statutes and decrees,
you will live and grow numerous,
and the LORD, your God,
will bless you in the land you are entering to occupy.
If, however, you turn away your hearts and will not listen,
but are led astray and adore and serve other gods,
I tell you now that you will certainly perish;
you will not have a long life
on the land that you are crossing the Jordan to enter and occupy.
I call heaven and earth today to witness against you:
I have set before you life and death,
the blessing and the curse.
Choose life, then,
that you and your descendants may live, by loving the LORD, your God,
heeding his voice, and holding fast to him.
For that will mean life for you,
a long life for you to live on the land that the LORD swore
he would give to your fathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.”

Responsorial PsalmPS 1:1-2, 3, 4 AND 6

R. (40:5a) Blessed are they who hope in the Lord.
Blessed the man who follows not
the counsel of the wicked
Nor walks in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the company of the insolent,
But delights in the law of the LORD
and meditates on his law day and night.
R. Blessed are they who hope in the Lord.
He is like a tree
planted near running water,
That yields its fruit in due season,
and whose leaves never fade.
Whatever he does, prospers.
R. Blessed are they who hope in the Lord.
Not so the wicked, not so;
they are like chaff which the wind drives away.
For the LORD watches over the way of the just,
but the way of the wicked vanishes.
R. Blessed are they who hope in the Lord.

Verse Before The GospelMT 4:17

Repent, says the Lord;
the Kingdom of heaven is at hand.

GospelLK 9:22-25

Jesus said to his disciples:
“The Son of Man must suffer greatly and be rejected
by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes,
and be killed and on the third day be raised.”

Then he said to all,
“If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself
and take up his cross daily and follow me.
For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it,
but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.
What profit is there for one to gain the whole world
yet lose or forfeit himself?”

An interesting homily at Mass today given by our priest! He said that sometimes we encounter crosses which are of our own making – which is the consequence of us giving into our own will – our pride, envy, laziness, cheating, lying, dishonesty. When our will crosses the will of God.

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Young+men+and+women+using+mobile+phones During this season of Lent, I have been thinking about how much time we spend on mobile phones, computers and TV!

Last night I was driving down a neighborhood and I glanced across at a house which had their front room window open for all to see and I saw 2 young men staring into their separate computer screens. This was evening, a time where we usually gather as a family after dinner and chat. I had a sense of sadness that we seem to be caught up in this technology world that we can’t even look at another human being near us. How do you know by not looking at another person that you could pick up a sense of sadness on another’s face and ask them ‘what is wrong, can I help you?’. Or you can tell by looking at a person’s face that they are not well and help them. How can we help one another, if we are constantly looking at a mobile!

While I have been commuting by tram during the week, I notice everyone has a mobile phone in their hand, while waiting by the tram stop and even when they get on the tram, they are still holding that phone and staring at the screen and swiping the screen with their fingers. What are people missing out on? Enjoying the fresh air and sunshine after being cooped up in an office perhaps? A lovely sunny day, looking around them and thanking God for all the beauty of creation, looking at someone and smiling, start chatting with someone or helping someone. All those opportunities are gone forever. I once stepped onto a train with a lady who I never knew was blind and she started chatting cheerfully about something (just a few humorous words) which made me smile and respond to her as well and soon we got talking!

I myself have been guilty of spending extra time on the net. I think about the cost of electricity, battery chargers, extra cost of internet downloads. All that extra time using electricity does eventually add up each month. Cutting out an extra hour of TV or computer each day will reduce your electricity bill each month, even if it is a small amount.

What can you do with that extra hour (of not staring at the TV screen or mobile)?

  1. Family prayer time.
  2. Chat with family around you or phone someone you have not spoken to in a while.
  3. Read a book.
  4. Pray the rosary and read a passage from the scriptures. Meditate on whatever words grab your attention or meditate on a scripture story.
  5. Go for a walk.
  6. Clean and tidy your home.
  7. Organise your day with a To Do list.

I hope all the above ideas are productive and will help you grow your spiritual life during this Lenten season.

God bless you and yours!

~ Mary

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10 Tips for Lent
– Pope Francis

1. Get rid of the lazy addiction to evil :“[Lent] is a ‘powerful’ season, a turning point that can foster change and conversion ineach of us. We all need to improve, to change for the better. Lent helps us and thus we leave behind old habits and the lazy addiction to the evil that deceives and ensnares us.” – General Audience, March 5, 2014

2. Do something that hurts: “Lent is a fitting time for self-denial; we would do well to ask ourselves what we can give up in order to help and enrich others by our own poverty. Let us not forget that real poverty hurts: no self-denial is real without this dimension of penance. I distrust a charity that costs nothing and does not hurt.” – Lenten Message, 2014

3. Don’t remain indifferent: “Indifference to our neighbor and to God also represents a real temptation for us Christians. Each year during Lent we need to hear once more the voice of the prophets who cry out and trouble our conscience. God is not indifferent to our world; he so loves it that he gave his Son for our salvation.” –Lenten Message, 2015

4. Pray: Make our hearts like yours!: “During this Lent, then, brothers and sisters, let us all ask the Lord:Make our hearts like yours (Litany of the Sacred Heart of Jesus). In this way we will receive a heart which is firm and merciful, attentive and generous, a heart which is not closed, indifferent or prey to the globalization of indifference.” – Lenten Message, 2015

5. Take part in the sacraments: “Lent is a favorable time for letting Christ serve us so that we in turn may become more like him. This happens whenever we hear the word of God and receive the sacraments, especially the Eucharist. There we become what we receive: the Body of Christ.” – Lenten Message, 2015

6. Prayer: “In the face of so many wounds that hurt us and could harden our hearts, we are called to dive into the sea of prayer, which is the sea of God’s boundless love, to taste his tenderness. Lent is a time of prayer, of more intense prayer, more prolonged, more assiduous, more able to take on the needs of the brethren; intercessory prayer, to intercede before God for the many situations of poverty and suffering.” – Homily, March 5, 2014

7. Fasting: “We must be careful not to practice a formal fast, or one which in truth ‘satisfies’ us because it makes us feel good about ourselves. Fasting makes sense if it questions our security, and if it also leads to some benefit for others, if it helps us to cultivate the style of the Good Samaritan, who bends down to his brother in need and takes care of him.” – Homily, March 5, 2014

8. Almsgiving: “Today gratuitousness is often not part of daily life where everything is bought and sold. Everything is calculated and measured. Almsgiving helps us to experience giving freely, which leads to freedom from the obsession of possessing, from the fear of losing what we have, from the sadness of one who does not wish to share his wealth with others.” – Homily, March 5, 2014

9. Help the Poor: “In the poor and outcast we see Christ’s face; by loving and helping the poor, we love and serve Christ. Our efforts are also directed to ending violations of human dignity, discrimination and abuse in the world, for these are so often the cause of destitution. When power, luxury and money become idols, they take priority over the need for a fair distribution of wealth. Our consciences thus need to be converted to justice, equality, simplicity, and sharing.” – Lenten Message, 2014

10. Evangelize: “The Lord asks us to be joyous heralds of this message of mercy and hope! It is thrilling to experience the joy of spreading this good news, sharing the treasure entrusted to us, consoling broken hearts and offering hope to our brothers and sisters experiencing darkness.” – Lenten Message, 2014

You probably won’t be able to take huge steps forward in all of these areas. Instead, pick a couple that stand out to you and try to find practical ways to grow in your love of God and your love of your neighbor.

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True Fasting – Isaiah 58


Ash Wednesday 1 Lent 2015 has arrived! I have been praying and asking Our Lord what He requires of me this Lent. Years ago, I went with the flow, I gave up slowly all the things I used to indulge in –

First year – chocolates, next year I gave up buying trendy magazines (full of gossip and didn’t feed your soul!), next year going to movies or theatres! I saved that money and donated it to charity. But how is my soul travelling in this Lenten journey, I asked myself. What is the connection between giving up something materialistic and not really a necessity of life, with my soul?

Giving up worldly desires for the 40 days of Lent, will prepare you for a deeper relationship with God, in divesting your mind and soul of materialistic things, and filling your soul with spiritual virtues – reading Scriptures daily to learn about our faith, the lives of the Saints who were just like you and me. If you run into any problem in life, read the lives of the Saints, who went through great trials in life and for their faith in God. Pray and ask the Holy Spirit to lead you to a Saint who will guide you.

Build up virtues by endurance in sufferings, patience, hope, faith. Isaiah 58 tells us about fasting …

“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
    and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
    and break every yoke?
Is it not to share your food with the hungry
    and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—
when you see the naked, to clothe them,
    and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?
Then your light will break forth like the dawn,
    and your healing will quickly appear;
then your righteousness[a] will go before you,
    and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.
Then you will call, and the Lord will answer;
    you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.

“If you do away with the yoke of oppression,
    with the pointing finger and malicious talk,
10 and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry
    and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,
then your light will rise in the darkness,
    and your night will become like the noonday.
11 The Lord will guide you always;
    he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land
    and will strengthen your frame.
You will be like a well-watered garden,
    like a spring whose waters never fail.
12 Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins
    and will raise up the age-old foundations;
you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls,
    Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.

13 “If you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath
    and from doing as you please on my holy day,
if you call the Sabbath a delight
    and the Lord’s holy day honorable,
and if you honor it by not going your own way
    and not doing as you please or speaking idle words,
14 then you will find your joy in the Lord,
    and I will cause you to ride in triumph on the heights of the land
    and to feast on the inheritance of your father Jacob.”
For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.

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Ash Wednesday – 1st Day of Lent


Ash Wednesday 1Today is Ash Wednesday, the 1st day of Lent in the Catholic Church. We go to Holy Mass and witness the blessing of the ashes which is marked on our forehead with the Sign of the Cross by a priest who says ‘Repent and believe the Gospel’.

The church asks us to do 3 things during Lent:

  1. Prayer
  2. Fasting
  3. Almsgiving

Today we start walking this journey of faith in remembrance of Our Dear Lord Jesus Christ, who started His ministry by going into the wilderness and fasting and praying for 40 days and nights.  At the end of it, he was tempted by the devil but Jesus rebuked him by quoting from the scriptures.

Can you imagine going into a deserted place today, where there is no one to talk to except God, there is no TV, no computer, no books to read, no food and water, no shelter from the cold or heat! Just alone with God, nature and the elements. Well that is what Jesus did for us, so that we may follow His example one day.

Today in our cities, there are no deserts around us! So where do we go?  Its hard to get away in this day and age to a retreat place, without leaving our work, family, friends, school.  We can try to set some quiet time away from the noise of this world and spend some time with Our Lord, either at home or at church.

During Lent, the Church instructs us to do penance from our sins by abstaining from the excesses of life – junk food, alcohol, movies, sweets, etc. Abstaining from life’s pleasures fortifies us and helps us to overcome our weaknesses, strengthens our faith and our relationship with God. Its an ideal time for praying, reading scripture or books on the lives of the saints, saying the daily rosary. There are many beautiful books on faith which can be found in your local catholic church bookshop or library or online.

Many people start fasting and abstaining from chocolates and sweets without realising the meaning of abstinence. An abstinence is to help you overcome a vice or bad habit. Choose wisely this Lent which vice you need to overcome, which could be  a barrier between you and God.

Here are a list of vices:

  1. Pride
  2. Greed
  3. Lust
  4. Anger
  5. Gluttony
  6. Envy
  7. Sloth

The opposites of vices are virtues:

  1. Humility before God
  2. Mercy towards our neighbour
  3. Chastity, modesty in dress and behaviour
  4. Patience
  5. Abstinence from excess food, Self control
  6. Love of neighbour, enemy
  7. Fortitude/work harder

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Lent journey 2012


I have been trying to write a post for my Lent journey 2012 for some time. But here I am at last!

I have always tried to give up something for Lent. For years it was chocolate – this is going back nearly 20 years ago. When I first started abstaining from eating chocolate, it was very hard! Temptations would come my way – just at Lent time! Ooh the evil one knows when to put things in front of you! I would find chocolate everywhere I turned, most delicious chocolates you could ever find. But I must say with persistence it got better each year, so much so that I don’t eat much chocolate today, apart from at festivals or parties.  Food is good – God has given us everything that is good – but we must be moderate!

What is the purpose of giving up things we enjoy for Lent?  We can convert that into times of prayer, to enrich our souls, time spent communing with Our Lord more. It teaches us perseverance, how not to give into temptation so easily, things that make us feel comfortable, materialistic things that are not necessary for our salvation.

Next I gave up going to movies during Lent. Again it was a difficult journey! Some really good movies turn up at Lent time. Going to the movies was a time to relax and unwind, give myself a treat for the week. So I would take in a movie just before Lent. This took many years and finally I must say I have not been to a movie hall for some time and I don’t miss it – well apart from a really good film that comes out with my favorite actors! I won’t waste my money, buy expensive popcorn and icecream and sit in an airconditioned theatre for the sake of getting a treat! I now watch EWTN on my TV, religious videos, try and read books of the saints more often.  There is a wealth of catholic reading books if you only look for it. ‘Seek and you will find’.

Now this year, the Lord has inspired me to give up Facebook for Lent. This has been a difficult journey, as it has become an addiction and I’m sure Facebook is an addiction for most people today.  Its already the 3rd week in Lent and I must confess its been a relief for me to not turn Facebook on, as I am trusting in the Lord Jesus. An addiction is an addiction, its hard to give it up, whatever it might be. I sympathise with cigarette smokers, alcoholics, etc. The withdrawal symptoms are very painful. But one needs to pray 24/7 at this time.  24/7? you say.  Yes you can do it. Just call on the name of Jesus, if you can’t think of a prayer, call on His Mother Mary to comfort you.

Speaking of setting times during the day to pray. I have slotted in time as follows. You can easily fit in 5 minutes during your busy work day.

  1. Before Breakfast – Bible passage or prayer – 5-10 minutes
  2. 12 Noon Angelus – 1 minute
  3. Grace before/after Meals – 30 seconds
  4. 3pm Divine Mercy prayer or chaplet – 5 minutes
  5. 6pm Angelus – 5 minutes
  6. 9pm Rosary – 15 minutes. Bible reading – 5 minutes
  7. Bedtime – Examination of Conscience – 15 minutes.

Have a Blessed Lent!

Mary

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