Week 1 of Lent

Sunday, March 9, First Sunday of Lent

"I set my bow in the clouds to serve as a sign of the covenant between me and the earth." (Genesis 9:13)

Reflection

"The whole life of Christ was a cross and a martyrdom, and dost thou seek rest and joy? If thou carry the cross unwillingly, thou makest it a burden to thee. If thou fling away one cross, without doubt thou shalt find another, perhaps a heavier" .... (Thomas de Kempis -- Imitation of Christ).

Lenten Question

Q: Why are Sundays excluded from the reckoning of the forty days?
A: Because Sunday is the day on which Christ arose, making it an inappropriate day to fast and mourn our sins. On Sunday we must celebrate Christ's resurrection for our salvation. It is Friday on which we commemorate his death for our sins. The Sundays of the year are days of celebration and the Fridays of the year are days of penance.

Lenten Action

Phone a long lost friend and relive old memories. Visit a sick person. Feed the birds.

Prayer

O Jesus, I withdraw in spirit with You into the desert; teach me how to fight the triple concupiscence of the flesh, pride, and avarice.

March 10 - March 15

Monday, March 10

"I assure you, as often as you did it for one of my least brothers, you did it for me." (Matthew 25:40)

Reflection

It is not enough for us to say: "I love God," but I also have to love my neighbor.
St. John says that you are a liar if you say you love God and you don't love your neighbor. How can you love God whom you do not see, if you do not love your neighbor whom you see, whom you touch, with whom you live? And so it is very important for us to realize that love, to be true, has to hurt. I must be willing to give whatever it takes not to harm other people and, in fact, to do good to them. This requires that I be willing to give until it hurts. Otherwise, there is not true love in me and I bring injustice, not peace, to those around me. It hurt Jesus to love us. We have been created in His image for greater things, to love and to be loved. We must "put on Christ" as Scripture tells us. And so, we have been created to love as He loves us. Jesus makes Himself the hungry one, the naked one, the homeless one, the unwanted one, and He says, "You did it to Me." On the last day He will say to those on His right, "whatever you did to the least of these, you did to Me, and He will also say to those on His left, whatever you neglected to do for the least of these, you neglected to do it for Me."
When He was dying on the Cross, Jesus said, "I thirst." Jesus is thirsting for our love, and this is the thirst of everyone, poor and rich alike. We all thirst for the love of others, that they go out of their way to avoid harming us and to do good to us. This is the meaning of true love, to give until it hurts
...Mother Teresa

Lenten Question

Q: Is there a biblical basis for abstaining from meat as a sign of repentance?
A: Yes. The book of Daniel states: "In the third year of Cyrus king of Persia... 'I, Daniel, mourned for three weeks. I ate no choice food; no meat or wine touched my lips; and I used no lotions at all until the three weeks were over.'" (Daniel 10:1-3)

Lenten Action

Give a donation to charity.

Prayer

Healer of body and soul, cure the sickness in my spirit so that I may grow in holiness through your constant care. Amen

Tuesday, March 11

"Your Father knows what you need before you ask him. This is how you are to pray: 'Our Father....'" (Matthew 6:8-9)

Reflection

. .AND GOD SAID "NO."

I asked God to take away my pride,
And God said "No."
He said it was not for Him to take away,
But for me to give up.

I asked God to make my handicapped child whole,
and God said, "No."
He said her spirit is eternal,
While her body is only temporary.

I asked God to grant me patience,
And God said, "No."
He said patience is a by-product of tribulation.
It isn't granted - it is earned.

I asked God to give me happiness,
And God said "No."
He said He gives blessings,
Happiness is up to me.

I asked God to spare me pain,
And God said "No."
He said, "Suffering draws you apart from
Worldly cares and brings you close to Me."

I asked God to make my spirit grow,
And God said "No."
He said I must grow on my own,
But he will prune me to make it fruitful.

I asked God if He loved me,
And God said "Yes."
He gave me His only Son, who died for me,
And I will be in heaven someday
Because I believe.

I asked God to help me love others
As much as He loves me,
And God said,
"Ah, finally you have the idea."

....by Claudia Minden Welsz

Lenten Fact

The word "lent" means "lengthen" and stands for that time in spring when the days grow longer.

Lenten Action

Schedule a fifteen minute period of silence today to listen to your heart and to the Lord speaking to you.

Prayer

God our Savior,
bring us back to you and fill our minds with your wisdom.
May we be enriched by our observance of Lent. Amen

Wednesday, March 12

"For at the preaching of Jonah they reformed, but you have a greater than Jonah here." (Luke 11:32)

Reflection

"Go through the world unnoticed if you can. Secret privations, secret sacrifices of your own will, which will never be known until all things are revealed, are surer instruments of perfection than chains and shirts of hair." ...Fr. Lasance

Lenten Fact

The original period of Lent was 40 hours. It was spent fasting to commemorate the suffering of Christ and the 40 hours He spent in the tomb.
In the early 3rd century, Lent was lengthened to 6 days. About 800 AD it was changed to 40 days.

Lenten Action

Plant a seed or bulb and watch it develop through the spring. Pray for your own spiritual growth.

Prayer

O Jesus, humbled to abjection for me, teach me to humble myself for love of You.

Thursday, March 13

"Ask, and you will receive. Seek, and you will find. Knock, and it will be opened to you." (Matthew 7:7)

Reflection

The object of our prayer-life is to empty ourselves and be filled with the Trinity. The first thing Jesus did when He became Man was to empty Himself. "His state was Divine, yet He did not cling to His equality with God, but emptied Himself to assume the condition of a slave and become as men are; and as all men are, He was humbler yet." (Phil. 2:6,7)
Our mission in life, then, is to cooperate with God's Grace and empty ourselves and be filled with the Trinity.
We are not to seek detachment to be free of responsibility, but to enable us to love both God and man with a pure love.
We are not to withdraw from the world to be alone, but to be with God.
We are to do penance, not because it erases our guilt, but because it wipes away the traces of sin.
We are to empty ourselves, not for the sake of self-control, but to be filled with God- transformed into Jesus.
There is no definite method by which we can become selfless. Each one of us has a particular virtue and faults that make the process of becoming like Jesus different. We must look at Jesus, read His Word in Scripture and ask His Spirit to enlighten our minds and give us that particular way by which we can best attain the goal He has set for us .... Mother Angelica

Lenten Question

Q: Why is giving up something for Lent such a salutary custom?
A: By denying ourselves something we enjoy, we discipline our wills so that we are not slaves to our pleasures. Just as indulging the pleasure of eating leads to physical flabbiness and, if this is great enough, an inability to perform in physically demanding situations, indulging in pleasure in general leads to spiritual flabbiness and, if this is great enough, an inability to perform in spiritually demanding situations, when the demands of morality require us to sacrifice something pleasurable (such as sex before marriage or not within the confines of marriage) or endure hardship (such as being scorned or persecuted for the faith). By disciplining the will to refuse pleasures when they are not sinful, a habit is developed which allows the will to refuse pleasures when they are sinful. There are few better ways to keep one's priorities straight than by periodically denying ourselves things of lesser priority to show us that they are not necessary and focus our attention on what is necessary.

Lenten Action

Pray a rosary for the conversion of all who are far from the Lord.

Prayer

Lord, look upon us and hear our prayer. By the good works You inspire, help us to discipline our bodies and to be renewed in spirit. Amen.

Friday, March 14

The Fridays of Lent are days of abstinence from meat.
"Unless your holiness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees you shall not enter the kingdom of God." (Matthew 5:20)

Reflection

HOW TO FAST

Fast from judging others;
Feast on Christ dwelling in them.

Fast from apparent darkness;
Feast on the reality of light.

Fast from pessimism;
Feast on optimism.

Fast from thoughts of illness;
Feast on the healing power of God.

Fast from words that pollute;
Feast on phrases that purify.

Fast from anger;
Feast on patience.

Fast from worry;
Feast on Divine Providence.

Fast from unrelenting pressure;
Feast on unceasing prayer.

Fast from negatives;
Feast on positives.

Fast from complaining;
Feast on appreciation.

Fast from hostility;
Feast on non-resistance.

Fast from bitterness;
Feast on forgiveness.

Fast from anxiety;
Feast on hope.

Fast from yourself;
Feast on a silent heart.

Lenten Question

Q: Why are the forty days called Lent?
A: They are called Lent because that is the Old English word for spring, the season of the year during which they fall. This is something unique to English. In almost all other languages its name is a derivative of the Latin term , or "the forty days."

Lenten Action

Be generous with your compliments today, especially to those who appear to be "down".

Prayer

I enter on this path of repentance so that in dying to self I might rise to new life.

Saturday, March 15

"If you love those who love you, what merit is there in that?" (Matthew 5:46)

Reflection

St. Dominic Savio was born in Italy in 1842. One day when he was just four, he disappeared and his good mother went looking for him. She found the little fellow in a corner praying with his hands joined and his head bowed. He already knew all his prayers by heart! At five, he was an altar boy.

When he was seven, he received his First Holy Communion. On that solemn day, he chose a motto: "Death, but not sin!" and he kept it always. "A teenager such as Dominic, who bravely struggled to keep his innocence from Baptism to the end of his life, is really a saint," said Pope St. Pius X. At the age of twelve, Dominic entered the school run by St. John Bosco. Don Bosco examined him first and at the end of the questions, Dominic asked, "What do you think of me?"

"I think you're good material," answered the priest, with a big smile.

"Well, then," said Dominic, "You are a good tailor, so if the material is good, take me and make a new suit out of me for Our Lord!"

Everyone in the school saw from the way he prayed that this boy was different. He greatly loved all the boys, and even though he was younger, he used to worry about them. He was afraid that they would lose the grace of God by sinning.

One day, a fellow brought a magazine full of bad pictures to school. In a minute, a group of boys had gathered around him to see it.

"What's up?" wondered Dominic, and he, too, went to look. Just one peek was enough for him. He grabbed the magazine and tore it to pieces! "Poor us!" he cried in the meantime, "Did God give us eyes to look at such things as this? Aren't you ashamed?"

"Oh, we were just looking at these pictures for the fun of it," said one boy.

"Sure, for fun," answered Dominic, "and in the meantime you're preparing yourselves to go to hell!"

"Oh, what's so wrong about looking at these pictures anyway?" another fellow demanded.

Dominic had a ready answer. "If you don't see anything wrong," he said sadly, "this is even worse." It means you're used to looking at shameful things!"

No one said anything after that. They all realized that Dominic was right. Another time he stopped a terrific stone-throwing fight between two angry boys. Holding up a little crucifix between them, he said, "Before you fight, look at this and say, 'Jesus Christ was innocent and He died forgiving His murderers. I am a sinner, and I am going to hurt Him by not forgiving my enemies.' Then you can start - and throw your first stone at me!"

The two boys were so ashamed of themselves that they apologized, and promised to go to confession too.

One day Dominic began to feel sick and was sent home to get better. While at home he grew worse, instead, and received the last Sacraments. He was only fifteen then, but he did not fear death. In fact, he was overjoyed at the thought of going to Heaven. Just before he died, he tried to sit up.

"Goodbye," he murmured to his good father. Suddenly his face lit up with a smile of great joy and happiness. "I am seeing such wonderful things!" he exclaimed. Then he spoke no more, for he had gone to Heaven.

Dominic is the patron saint of choir boys and of the falsely accused.

This latter title was given to him due to the following incident. One time, two boys filled the school stove with snow and garbage during the cold winter months. When the teacher came back into the room, they falsely accused Dominic of doing the "dirty" deed. Although disciplined in front of the entire class, Dominic refused to tell on the two mischievous boys. When the truth was later revealed, Dominic was asked why he didn't confess to his innocence. He remarked that he was imitating Our Lord, Who remained silent during His persecutions and crucifixion.

Lenten Fact

Shrove Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday, is celebrated in many parts of the world with feasting. The French call it "Mardi Gras". The Germans call it "Fausching". The feasting comes from the custom of using up household fats prior to the 40 days of Lenten fasting, when no fat is used.

Lenten Action

In a prayerful spirit, get up early and watch the sun rise.

Prayer

Lord Jesus, you spoke peace to a sinful world and brought mankind the gift of reconciliation by the suffering and death you endured. I love you and joyfully bear the name 'Christian.' Teach me to follow your example. Increase my faith, hope and charity so that I may struggle to turn hatred to love and conflict to peace.