Week 2 of Lent

Sunday, March 12th, Second Sunday of Lent

He was transfigured before their eyes and his clothes became dazzlingly white. (Mark 9:2-3)

Reflection

"This is the remedy to fix my gaze on You, Incarnate Word, hanging on the Cross. As soon as You see a humble soul looking at You in this way, you are quickly moved to look at it, and the effect of Your divine glance is like that of a ray of sunshine on the earth; it warms it and prepares it to bring forth fruit. This is the way You act, O Divine Word, who by the light of Your glance, drain my soul of all its pride, and consume it in Your fire. No one acquires humility if he does not fix his gaze on You, O Word, on the Cross." ... St. Mary Magdalen dei Pazzi

Lenten Fact

During Bach's day, often the organ and choirs were silent during Lent.

Lenten Action

Talk about today's scriptures with a friend after Mass.

Prayer

Father of light,
in you is found no shadow of change but only the fullness of life and limitless truth.
Open our heart to the voice of Your Word. and free us from the original darkness that shadows our vision.
Restore our sight that we may look upon your Son who calls us to repentance and a change of heart, for He lives and reigns with you for ever and ever.

March 13th - March 18th

Monday, March 13th

"Be compassionate, as your Father is compassionate." (Luke 6:36)

Reflection

LENT: A TIME FOR FORGIVENESS AND RECONCILIATION
By Jennifer Jordan

Lent is a time for forgiveness and reconciliation. An acquaintance of mine recently shared an experience that shows the beauty reconciliation can bring. Mrs. Winston's story begins with an automobile accident that nearly claimed the life of her 35-year-old son, Robert.

After seven weeks of daily visits to the hospital and many "life and death" complications, it looked as if Robert was going to survive. Despite the hardship, Mrs. Winston, a gentle, spiritual woman, was quick to be positive about her situation. She believed in the power of prayer and was confident God was healing her son. "The doctors, the nurses--they were the Lord's instruments, and they were good instruments," she said. "The people at the hospital were all as nice as they could be," she said. Then with hesitation, she added, "except for a problem I had with one nurse." She continued to explain the incident. Robert had been in the hospital a long time, and his mother was hoping he could leave to attend their family reunion. "Well, I asked this nurse about it, and she just blew up at me," she said. "The nurse called my request 'unreasonable,' and said there was 'no way' the doctors would approve it." Mrs. Winston, a soft-spoken woman in her 60s, was shocked and hurt by the woman's cold response. "I couldn't understand why she was so nasty," she said. Another nurse who witnessed the encounter added, "Ignore her, she's just temperamental."

When Mrs. Winston went home, she couldn't forget the incident. She returned to the hospital the next day and the same nurse was in her son's room. She called her aside and said to her, "I think a great deal of you and the other nurses here." She then went a step further. "I don't think I have ever done anything to hurt you or offend you. But, if I have, I apologize." She continued to tell the nurse that she didn't understand what provoked her angry tone. "I hugged her and told her how much we appreciated her work with Robert." "Well, she just melted," Mrs. Winston said in her soft southern voice. "It seems she was going through some hard times, and it hadn't been a good day." As I listened to her story, I thought about how others might respond to the rude nurse. Some might report the incident to the woman's supervisor; some might reply in the same tone the nurse used; and, some might vindictively walk away and wish the woman a flat tire on her way home. Then, there are rare souls--such as Mrs. Winston--people who inspire us to reach for the Christ within us and to treat others with love and compassion. I reflected on her wonderful example. She put aside her anger and pride and offered forgiveness. Christ invites each of us to reconcile with those who hurt or disappoint us. It is a call to forgive the stranger who cuts you off in traffic; the family member who has been a bit "too honest"; and, the ex-spouse who may continue to drive you crazy.

After Mrs. Winston left my home I wondered why this acquaintance had shared such a personal story. She had come to my home on business --to repair my washing machine. Then, as I reflected on it, I knew why our paths had crossed. She was bringing a wonderful example of how to deal with hurt in our lives. This Lent, take the big step. Surrender any "eye for an eye" notions and pray for help in learning to love and forgive the way our Lord taught us.

Lenten Question

Q: Is the custom of giving up something for Lent mandatory?
A: No. However, it is a salutary custom, and parents or caretakers may choose to require it of their children to encourage their spiritual training, which is their prime responsibility in the raising of their children.

Lenten Action

Wear a cross or other religious article; you will be surprised how many times this will start a conversation about your faith.

Prayer

Father of light,
in you is found no shadow of change but only the fullness of life and limitless truth.
Open our heart to the voice of Your Word and free us from the original darkness that shadows our vision.
Restore our sight that we may look upon your Son who calls us to repentance and a change of heart, for he lives and reigns with you for ever and ever.

Tuesday, March 14th

Come now, let us set things right, says the Lord. (Isaiah 1:18)

Reflection

If most problems come from unforgiveness, we can understand why Jesus emphasizes forgiveness to an extreme degree. When Peter suggested to Jesus that we should forgive seven times, he was correct. (Mt 18:21) Seven in the Bible stands for an indefinite number of times, so Peter was saying we should forgive indefinitely. This is the correct answer but not the correct emphasis. Jesus proclaims we should forgive "seventy times seven," indefinitely times indefinitely. (Mt 18:22) Jesus further emphasizes forgiveness by saying God's kingdom is a matter of forgiveness and those who do not forgive are handed over to torturers. (Mt 18:23, 34)
And when the disciples asked Him to teach them how to pray, Jesus told them to pray they be forgiven as they forgive. (Mt 6:12) This means prayer will hurt rather than help us if we do not forgive. This is the only point in the Lord's prayer on which Jesus commented. He reiterated: "If you forgive the faults of others, your heavenly Father will forgive you yours.
If you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive you." (Mt 6:14-15) Jesus insists on forgiveness. We must pass on the forgiveness He has given us by the shedding of His blood on Calvary ...Father Al Lauer

Lenten Question

Q: Are acts of repentance appropriate on other days during Lent?
A: Yes. Thus the states: "All Fridays through the year and he time of Lent are penitential days and time throughout the universal Church" (CIC 1250).

Lenten Action

Forgive someone who has wronged you; Ask for forgiveness from someone you wronged.

Prayer

Forgive my sins against the unity of your family; make me love as you loved me.

Wednesday, March 15th

"Anyone among you who aspires to greatness must serve the rest." (Matthew 20:27)

Reflection

Deny
oneself
Carry
one's cross
To follow
Jesus Christ

If you are ashamed of the Cross of Jesus Christ
he will be ashamed of you before his Father

Love
the Cross
Desire:
crosses
contempt
pain
abuse
insults
disgrace
persecution
humiliations
calumnies
illness
injuries

May Jesus prevail
May his Cross prevail

Divine love
Humility
Submission
Patience
Obedience:
complete
prompt
joyful
blind
persevering

....St. Louis de Montfort

Lenten Question

Q: Is the balance of fasting the same for all people?
A: No. For example, with the good of food, people who are by nature physically larger need more food than people who are physically smaller. Similarly, people who have higher metabolisms or who do manual labor for a living need more food than people with slower metabolisms or who have less active lifestyles. The same is true with regard to other goods than food. St. Paul speaks of this in regard to the good of married life: "I wish that all were as I myself am. But each has his own special gift from God, one of one kind and one of another. To the unmarried and the widows I say that it is well for them to remain single as I do. But if they cannot exercise self-control, they should marry. For it is better to marry than to be aflame with passion" (1 Corinthians 7:7-9). Thus some are given the gift of being able to live without the good of married life in order that they may pursue greater devotion to God (1 Cor. 7:32-34) or to pursue greater ministry for others (2 Timothy 2:3-4), as with priests, monks, and nuns. God gives these people special graces to live the life which they have embraced, just as he gives special graces to the married to live the life they have embraced.

Lenten Action

Read for 20 minutes from Scripture or an inspirational book.

Prayer

Lord, watch over Your Church, and guide it with Your unfailing love. Protect us from what could harm us and lead us to what will save us. Help us always, for without You we are bound to fail.

Prayer To St. Joseph

O blessed Joseph, faithful guardian of my Redeemer, Jesus Christ, protector of thy chaste spouse, the virgin Mother of God, I choose thee this day to be my special patron and advocate and I firmly resolve to honor thee all the days of my life.
Therefore I humbly beseech thee to receive me as thy client, to instruct me in every doubt, to comfort me in every affliction, to obtain for me and for all the knowledge and love of the Heart of Jesus, and finally to defend and protect me at the hour of my death. Amen

Thursday, March 16th

"At his gate lay a beggar named Lazarus." (Luke 16:20)

Reflection

Lent is a time for each of us to increase our knowledge of the "faith that is in us" in order that we can fulfill our vocation as Christians to extend this rich blessing of faith to others. We accomplish personal renewal and revitalization of our faith through penance, prayer and instruction.

Lenten Question

Q: On what basis does the Church have the authority to establish days of fast and abstinence?
A: On the authority of Jesus Christ. Jesus told the leaders of his Church, "Whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven" (Matthew 16:19, 18:18). The language of binding and loosing was a rabinnic way of referring to the ability to establish binding or rules of conduct for the faith community. It is thus especially appropriate that the references to binding and loosing occur in Matthew, the "Jewish Gospel." Thus the states: "BINDING AND LOOSING (Hebrew, . . . Rabinnical term for 'forbidding and permitting.' . . . "The power of binding and loosing as always claimed by the Pharisees. Under Queen Alexandra the Pharisees, says Josephus (1:5:2), 'became the administrators of all public affairs so as to be empowered to banish and readmit whom they pleased, as well as to loose and to bind.' . . . The various schools had the power 'to bind and to loose'; that is, to forbid and to permit ( 3b); and they could also bind any day by declaring it a fast-day ( . . . 12a . . . ). This power and authority, vested in the rabbinical body of each age of the Sanhedrin, received its ratification and final sanction from the celestial court of justice (9; 23b). "In this sense Jesus, when appointing his disciples to be his successors, used the familiar formula (Matt. 16:19, 18:18). By these words he virtually invested them with the same authority as that which he found belonging to the scribes and Pharisees who 'bind heavy burdens and lay them on men's shoulders, but will not move them with one of their fingers'; that is 'loose them,' as they have the power to do (Matt. 23:2-4). In the same sense the second epistle of Clement to James II ('Clementine Homilies,' Introduction [A.D. 221]), Peter is represented as having appointed Clement as his successor, saying: 'I communicate to him the power of binding and loosing so that, with respect to everything which he shall ordain in the earth, it shall be decreed in the heavens; for he shall bind what ought to be bound and loose what ought to be loosed as knowing the rule of the Church.'" ( 3:215). Thus Jesus invested the leaders of this Church with the power of making for the Christian community. This includes the setting of fast days (like Ash Wednesday). To approach the issue from another angle, every family has the authority to establish particular family devotions for its members. Thus if the parents decide that the family will engage in a particular devotion at a particular time (say, Bible reading after supper), it is a sin for the children to disobey and skip the devotion for no good reason. In the same way, the Church as the family of God has the authority to establish its own family devotion, and it is a sin for the members of the Church to disobey and skip the devotions for no good reason (though of course if the person has a good reason, the Church dispenses him immediately).

Lenten Action

Pray for RCIA Catechumens and Candidates.

Prayer

O Jesus, Divine Strength, I come to You to seek support for my weakness, and infirmity.

Friday, March 17th, St. Patrick

The Fridays of Lent are days of abstinence from meat.
Israel loved Joseph best of all his sons, for he was the child of his old age. (Genesis 37:3)

Reflection

O Divine Word, You humbled Yourself even unto death and willed to be treated as the least of men by sinners, by demons, and even by the Holy Spirit and by Your Eternal Father. You did all this to glorify your Father, to make reparation for the offenses committed against Him by pride, to confound and destroy our arrogance and to teach us to detest vanity and to love humility. Oh! how truly can we see that pride dishonors God and is very displeasing to Him, since it is necessary for you, the Son of God, to be so humiliated in order to atone for such dishonor!
We can truly say also that vanity is a monstrous thing since in order to destroy it, You were willing to be reduced to such humiliation! Oh! how firmly must we believe that in the eyes of God humility is an infinitely precious treasure and a jewel most pleasing to Him, since You, His divine Son, willed to be so humiliated to make us love this virtue, and to urge us to imitate You in the practice of it, and thus merit the grace to perform its works.' ..... St. John Eudes

Lenten Question

Q: What is a day of fast and abstinence?
A: Under current canon law in the Western Rite of the Church, a day of fast is one on which Catholics who are eighteen to sixty years old are required to keep a limited fast. In this country, one may eat a single, normal meal and have two snacks, so long as these snacks do not add up to a second meal. Children are not required to fast, but their parents must ensure they are properly educated in the spiritual practice of fasting. Those with medical conditions requiring a greater or more regular food intake can easily be dispensed from the requirement of fasting by their pastor. A day of abstinence is a day on which Catholics fourteen years or older are required to abstain from eating meat (under the current discipline in America, fish, eggs, milk products, and condiments or foods made using animal fat are permitted in the Western Rite of the Church, though not in the Eastern Rites.) Again, persons with special dietary needs can easily be dispensed by their pastor.

Lenten Action

Share an answered prayer with a friend—give God credit in words. Remember to give thanks to God for what you received.

Prayer

Merciful Father, may our acts of penance bring us your forgiveness, open our hearts to your love, and prepare us for the coming feast of Your resurrection.

Saturday, March 18th

"Let us eat and celebrate because this son of mine was dead and has come back to life." (Luke 15:23-24)

Reflection

Salvation to all that will is nigh;
That All, which always is All everywhere,
Which cannot sin, and yet all sins must bear,
Which cannot die, yet cannot choose but die,
So, faithful Virgin, yields himself to lie
In prison, in thy womb; and though He there
Can take no sin, nor thou give, yet He'll wear
Taken from thence, flesh, which death's force may try.
Ere by the spheres time was created, thou
Wast in his mind, who is thy Son and Brother;
Whom thou conceiv'st, conceiv'd; yea, thou art now
Thy Maker's maker, and thy Father's mother;
Thou hast light in dark, and shut'st in little room
Immensity, cloistered in thy dear womb.
by John Donne

Lenten Action

Go to a chapel and say Morning Prayer. Call your parents and tell them you love them.

Prayer

Forgive my sins against the unity of your family; make me love as you loved me.