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Pre-Lent through Easter Prayer and Reflections -- 2007
various ^ | 02-18-07 | various

Posted on 02/18/2007 8:47:01 PM PST by Salvation

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For all of during Lent.
1 posted on 02/18/2007 8:47:04 PM PST by Salvation
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To: nickcarraway; sandyeggo; Lady In Blue; NYer; american colleen; ELS; Pyro7480; livius; ...
Catholic Prayer and Reflection Ping!

Please notify me via FReepmail if you would like to be added to or taken off the Catholic Prayer and Reflection Ping List.

2 posted on 02/18/2007 8:52:08 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Salvation
February 18, 2007

(Before you begin to sketch your Lenten plans on a piece of paper, go to the next post. We need to do some thinking and praying before we chart a course through Lent. God is our guide and it’s to God we must go before we do anything!)

My Lenten Plans:

3 posted on 02/18/2007 8:53:08 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: All
Sunday before Ash Wednesday

A Good Beginning

Today’s “six minutes” need to be spent asking God how we should spend Lent 2007

We all have a fairly large stock file of resolutions in the back of our mind, an “ougha-do” list. These are the resolutions we usually pull out when Lent begins (or on New Year’s Eve.)

Perhaps we’d do better to put those aside for now and find out what God has in mind for us. There might be some surprises.

Put yourself in the following scene: Jesus took Peter, James, and John, and led them up a high mountain by themselves.

You are now on the mountain with Jesus. It’s peaceful, with a wonderful view in all directions, and plenty of time to be alone, one-on-one with the Lord.

Talk straight with him and ask him to give you some thoughts about what to write for that previous post.

With the Lord’s help begin to sketch some possible plans on a separate piece of paper. Don’t worry about finalizing them yet. Lent is three days away. You can keep coming back to revise them.

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4 posted on 02/18/2007 8:58:46 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Salvation

Lovely idea, to begin to prepare for Lent now, in advance.


5 posted on 02/18/2007 9:04:46 PM PST by Ciexyz (Amazing Grace the film, in theaters Feb 23rd, about abolishing slave trade in Britain.)
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To: Salvation

What a good idea. The fact that it hadn't occurred to me to ask God what He wants me to do with Lent shows what a tizzy I've been in for weeks :-).


6 posted on 02/19/2007 4:16:00 AM PST by Tax-chick (Every "choice" has a direct object.)
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To: Salvation

Thanks for all the Lenten preparatory threads, Salvation. I now know that I will be on an "Internet Fast" this year. It will be VERY hard for me, as many of my friends live in my computer. ;)

However, I also know that I will be able to focus more on the Lord during this season, as it should be. My family already knows, so it's a done deal! I will check in on Sundays.


7 posted on 02/19/2007 8:35:53 AM PST by Marie Antoinette (Proud Clinton-hater since 1998. Sporkweasels Up!)
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To: Marie Antoinette

Blessings to you in your internet fast. You are an inspiration. Several others have shared with me that they will be doing the same thing.


8 posted on 02/19/2007 6:07:16 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Tax-chick

God's plan.

Seek first the kingdom of God and all these things will be given unto you.


9 posted on 02/19/2007 6:07:52 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: All
February 19, 2007

Operation Rice Bowl

Throughout Lent people across the United States will participate in Operation Rice Bowl. This Lenten program invites people to place a cardboard container (given out in parishes) in their homes, and put in it the money that is saved because of their fasting and the things they give up for Lent.

At the end of Lent, the Rice Bowl is brought to Mass and the money is used for development projects in poor nations and hunger relief in the local diocese.

* * * *

In 1975, Operation Rice Bowl began in the Diocese of Allentown, Pa., as a local ecumenical effort to aid drought victims in the African Sahel. It was introduced during the 41st International Eucharistic Congress in Philadelphia in 1976 when it was adopted nationally by Catholic Relief Services.

Orthodox Lent began yesterday

10 posted on 02/19/2007 6:09:50 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: All
Monday before Ash Wednesday

Fast and Abstinence

The regulations on Lenten fast and abstinence are:
• FASTING: On Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, those who are 18 but not yet 59 are allowed only one full meal. Two smaller meals are allowed as needed, but eating solid foods between meals is not permitted.

• ABSTINENCE FROM MEAT: Those who are 14 years of age or older are to abstain from meat on Ash Wednesday and all the Fridays of Lent.

* * * *

The Church no longer attempts to prescribe Lenten practice in detail. The above regulations simply highlight Ash Wednesday, Good Friday, and the other Fridays of Lent.

The more fundamental obligation is to make Lent a penitential season, choosing practices that are adapted to one’s own needs.

By the solemn 40 days of Lent the Church unites herself each year to the mystery of Jesus in the desert. ~ Catechism of the Catholic Church

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11 posted on 02/19/2007 6:13:40 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Marie Antoinette

Good on ya! I did that during Advent, and it was *tough*!


12 posted on 02/19/2007 6:26:38 PM PST by Tax-chick (Every "choice" has a direct object.)
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To: Tax-chick; All
February 20, 2007

Mardi Gras

After the devastating Hurricane Katrina of 2005, many people wondered if Mardi Gras would return to New Orleans six months later. With more than 80 percent of the city flooded by the hurricane, was it too soon to don a party hat?

Yet Mardi Gras could mean a financial boost to the strapped city (pre-Katrina, Mardi Gras would provide up to $300 million in revenue.) Many residents also saw Mardi Gras as an opportunity to show the nation that New Orleans wasn’t giving up.

City officials opted to go ahead. While attendance was down and the schedule was abbreviated (eight days, instead of two weeks of parades), participants gamely carried on, some even dressing as sandbags, or wearing blue tarps.

* * * *

The French word for “Tuesday” is mardi, and the French word for “fat”, “rich” is gras. Thus today is Mardi Gras with its feasting and carnivals – a final celebration before the penitential Lenten practices that begin tomorrow.

Lent begins tomorrow. Spend some time on the plans you wrote February 18th.

13 posted on 02/20/2007 9:10:00 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: All
Tuesday before Ash Wednesday

Matthew’s Passion

Each of the Gospels has its own characteristics – a distinctive writing style, some content the others do not have, and differences in the order of events.

One of the characteristics of Matthew’s Gospel is the frequent citation of Old Testament texts that relate to an event in the life of Jesus. It is in Matthew that Jesus says at his arrest: “All this has come to pass so that the writings of the prophets may be fulfilled.”

Matthew also uses vivid details that catch the imagination. In the Infancy Narrative, for example, He has Magi who come from the East, a star, precious gifts, dreams.

In the Passion account, it is Matthew who has Judas throw the 30 pieces of silver into the Temple and then hang himself, Pilate’s wife intervene with a dream in the middle of the trial, and Pilate wash his hands in front of the crowd.

And when Jesus dies, there is an earthquake, and the dead rising from their tombs and entering Jerusalem. These are not told for their own sake, but to bring out a deeper meaning. Matthew wants us to realize that what is taking place affects the earth and the heavens, and affects both this life and life after death.

Despite their differences, in the Passion account, the four evangelists have the most in common. This is because it was a story told and re-told long before the evangelists put it in writing.

Spend some quiet time with the Lord.

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14 posted on 02/20/2007 9:13:00 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: All
February 21, 2007

Ash Wednesday

By wearing a cross of ashes on their foreheads, Christians ask God’s help to see things as they really are, (Remember that you are dust and to dust you will return.”) and to set their eyes on what lasts forever. They also express their bond with other disciples of the Lord who publicly wear those ashes on their foreheads.

During the Reformation, most Protestant churches eliminated the use of ashes, along with many other external practices. As a result, a person wearing ashes on Ash Wednesday was identified as a Catholic.

That isn’t necessarily true today. In recent years, many of these Churches have been returning to the use of the ashes a a sacred symbol.

* * * *

Although most Catholics may be familiar with the “Remember that you are dust and to dust you will return.” The Church also provides an alternative prayer when ashes are distributed. “Turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospel,” which is taken from Mark 1:15.

15 posted on 02/21/2007 9:11:03 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: All
Ash Wednesday

The Passion according to Matthew

Jesus said to his disciples, “You know that in two days’ time it will be Passover, and the Son of Man will be handed over to be crucified.” Then the chief priests and the elders of the people assembled in the palace of the high priest who was called Caiaphas, and they consulted together to arrest Jesus by treachery and put him to death. But they said, “not during the festival, that there may not be a riot among the people.”

In Matthew’s chronology, it is Wednesday, and Friday will be Passover. Jesus will become the new Passover lamb, bringing to his people not freedom from slavery in Egypt, but freedoms from the slavery of sin and the clutches of death.

At the beginning of Matthew’s Gospel, when the Magi inquired about the newborn king, Herod assembled the religious leaders to help locate the child. He wanted to kill him. Herod failed. Now, at the end of the Gospel, the religious leaders assemble for the same purpose. They will not fail.

You and I survived the first fragile days of life after our conception (some don’t,) and we’ve survived through all the years since then. But one day we shall die. We can’t foresee the details, but we can foresee the fact. We shall die. And we shall go to God.

Does the way I am living my life take that into account?

Lent is about more than losing weight.

Spend some quiet time with the Lord.

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16 posted on 02/21/2007 9:15:44 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Salvation
February 22, 2007

The Woman Who Came to Dinner

All four Gospels tell the story of a woman who enters the house where Jesus is a dinner guest and anoints him with precious oil. But there are significant differences.

In Matthew and Mark, “a woman” anoints Jesus’ head with expensive oil. She is not identified as a sinner.

In Luke, :”a sinful woman in the city”: weeps upon Jesus’ feet, wipes them with her hair, kisses them, and anoints them with perfume.

In John, “Mary”, the sister of Martha and Lazarus anoints the feet of Jesus with precious oil and dries them with her hair.

Many scholars believe that two different events gradually became intertwined in oral tradition: (1)While Jesus was at dinner, a sinful woman came to him, her tears fell on his feet, and she wiped them with her hair. (2) While Jesus was at another dinner a woman, to express her love for him anointed his head with oil.

By the time the Gospels were written, each evangelist had a slightly different version that had mixed together in one story some details from these two separate events.

Then as the centuries unfolded, the sinful woman was mistakenly identified as Mary Magdalene: probably because of the statement in Luke that – “severe demons” – had been cast out of her. Although this was a standard way of speaking of someone cured of sickness, some mistook it for sinfulness.

17 posted on 02/22/2007 8:47:38 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: All
Thursday after Ash Wednesday

Now when Jesus was in Bethany in the home of Simon the leper, a woman came up to him with an alabaster jar of costly perfumed oil and poured it on his head wile he was reclining at table. When the disciples saw this, they were indignant and said, “Why this waste? It could have been sold for much and the money given to the poor.” Mt. 26:6-9

This unnamed woman’s kind act toward Jesus sharply contrasts with the plot of the religious leaders to kill him.

In Matthew, her act is also in sharp contrast to the reactions of Jesus’ disciples who are annoyed at her largesse. Some have suggested that Matthew notes this because the community for whom he wrote had many people of means. He was directing a message to those who were overly concerned about money.

The traditional Lenten practice of almsgiving nudges us to lavish our largesse upon the poor. What would happen if I took a large bite out of a week’s paycheck and gave it to the poor? I can’t do that every week, but then again this is Lent.

It wouldn’t erase world poverty. But it would have a large effect upon me, and remind me that all creation including my possessions – belongs to God.

Spend some quiet time with the Lord.

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18 posted on 02/23/2007 8:42:22 AM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Salvation
February 23, 2007

St. Polycarp

Born of Christian parents near the end of the first century, Polycarp was a disciple of St. John the Evangelist and frequently quoted him and other eyewitnesses to the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. Therefore, Polycarp is often viewed as the link between the Church of the apostles and the post-apostolic Church.

Polycarp served as bishop of Smyrma (modern-day Turkey.) At age 86, he was burned at the stake for his faith.

* * * *

Polycarp was a contemporary and friend of St. Ignatius of Antioch. Ignatius writes about Polycarp in his epistles to the Magnesians and the Ephesians, and in his seventh epistle which is addressed to Polycarp.

* * * *

St. Irenaeus also mentions Polycarp several times in various letters, including a letter to Pope Victor in which Irenaeus describes Polycarp’s visit to Rome regarding a controversy over the date for Easter.

19 posted on 02/24/2007 9:27:46 AM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Salvation
Friday after Ash Wednesday

Jesus said to the disciples, “Why do you make trouble for the woman? She has done a good thing for me. The poor you will always have with you; but you will not always have me. In pouring this perfumed oil upon my body, she did it to prepare me for the burial. Amen, I say to you, wherever this gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be spoken of, in memory of her.” Mt. 26:10-13< B>

The words of Jesus, “The poor you will always have with you," have sometimes been misunderstood. Jesus was not saying that poverty is inevitable so there’s not much you can do about it.

Jesus was quoting from the Book of Deuteronomy where Moses is giving a speech to the Israelites as they prepared to enter the Promised Land. Moses tells them that there will be abundance in the new land and thus there’s no reason for poverty.

Then, Moses recognizes, not in a complimentary way, that despite this abundance, “the poor you will always have with you.” In other words, even though there is enough for everybody, it will probably not be distributed fairly.

Far from simply accepting poverty as “a fact of life,” Jesus is quoting a passage that says that this should not be so.

In effect, he says: “Why do you worry over this woman’s act of generosity, when you have accepted a system which leaves so many people in need?”

It’s a good question to think about during Lent.

Spend some quiet time with the Lord.

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20 posted on 02/24/2007 9:32:49 AM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: All
February 24, 2007

Thirty Pieces of Silver

Only Matthew gives the amount of money Judas was paid to betray Jesus – 30 pieces of silver. But Matthew’s primary interest seems to be its symbolism more than the exact amount.

Matthew often sees a parallel between an incident in the life of Jesus and an Old Testament passage.

The Book of Exodus, in a section setting forth various laws and regulations, stipulates that if an ox gores a slave, the owner of the ox must pay the slave owner “30 shekels of silver.” The parallel is clear. In the exchange of money between Judas and the chief priests, Matthew portrays Jesus as someone valued no more than a slave.

* * * *

Thirty pieces of silver, at the time of Jesus, are estimated to have only about one-tenth of the value they had when the Book of Exodus was wrriten many centuries earlier.

Ash Wednesday through Saturday has been called “The Porch of Lent” – an entryway to help us get the feel of this “40 days” season. Take another look at your Lenten Plans on February 18th.

21 posted on 02/25/2007 6:04:58 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: All
Saturday after Ash Wednesday

Then one of the Twelve, who was called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, “What are you willing to give me if I hand him over to you?” They paid him 30 pieces of silver, and from that time on he looked for an opportunity to hand him over. Mt. 26:14-16

“From that time on” Judas looks for a chance to hand Jesus over. Matthew used that phrase – “from that time on” – twice earlier in his Gospel, each time to mark an important shift.

The first was after Jesus’ temptation in the desert: “From that time on Jesus began to preach . . . “ It marked the beginning of his public life.

The second was when Jesus asked his disciples, “Who do you say that I am?” and Peter professed him to be the Son of god. “From that time on Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer greatly.

We now have the phrase used for the third time. It was another turning point, the moment when Judas, who must have been thinking about this for quite some time, decided to do it – to betray Jesus.

Looking back on my own life, what are the turning points that marked a shift for good or for ill – the mileposts that I can look back to and say “From that time on . . . . “?

Now, go to the future. Years from now, looking back to Lent 2007, how would I like to be able to finish that sentence: “From that time on . . . . “?

Spend some quiet time with the Lord.

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22 posted on 02/25/2007 6:21:07 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: All
February 25, 2007

The Rite of Election

From the early days of the Church, adults seeking to become Christians began a process that could last several years. They were called “catechumens,” and had a sponsor who gradually introduced them to the Christian practices.

As they moved toward baptism, there were various rituals along the way. For example, catechumens came to Mass on Sundays, but only for the first part. After the homily they were ritually dismissed with blessings, so that they could study together that day’s Scripture readings.

When their formation was completed, the next Lenten season was to be their final preparation for baptism. On the first Sunday of that Lent, they were presented to the bishop who heard members of the Christian community testify on their behalf. They were then formally accepted as candidates to be baptized at Easter. They were no longer catechumens, but the “elect” and came forward one by one to sign the Book of the Elect.

Over the centuries as Christian communities became more established and most of those being received into the Church were infants, this process -- designed for adults – began to wane. However, in the Vatican II restoration of traditions, the RCIA (Rite for the Christian Initiation of Adults) was once again set in place.

Today, in cathedrals around the world, bishops are presiding at the “Rite of Election” for those preparing for baptism.

23 posted on 02/26/2007 9:29:31 AM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: All
First Sunday of Lent

Temptation in the Desert

Today’s Gospel is about the temptation of Jesus – the temptation to let his humanity draw Jesus away from the Father’s plan.

This temptation would surface again when Jesus struggled in the Garden of Gethsemane with his imminent death on the cross. It just didn’t seem to be the way to do it.

Temptations come to us according to the unique patterns of our own life. We all face basic temptations. But the difficult ones – the recurring ones – are those that have to do with our own life circumstances, our own temperament, the contours of our own personality.

That often comes out when we go to confession. Maybe we feel like : “My confessions are always the same . . . it’s the same list of sins.” But that doesn’t necessarily mean that we are failing to make progress or that we are not examining our conscience properly.

Just as a particular temptation fit the unique circumstances of Jesus’ life, and he had to deal with it throughout his entire public life, so I have some in my life and those struggles will probably be the core of the majority of my confessions. I will probably have to struggle with them until the day I die.

But if I am struggling, and I am also trying to do a good job, then those are the things that should come up in confession, because those are the special needs I have . . . . needs that have to be exposed to the grace and healing of God.

Spend some quiet time with the Lord.

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24 posted on 02/26/2007 9:33:27 AM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: All
February 26, 2007

Hot Cross Buns

Baking hot cross buns on Good Friday is an old custom that has now extended to the whole season of Lent.

Hot cross buns often have raisins or dried fruit to give them some taste, but no sweet filling because Lent is a penitential season.

However, white icing is placed on the top and always in the shape of a cross – as a reminder that Easter is coming.

* * * *

At one time it was believed that the buns had special miraculous powers, and people hung them from their kitchen ceiling to protect their homes from evil. It was also believed that hot cross buns baked on Good Friday would never get moldy.

* * * *

Hot cross buns are reported to have first appeared on Good Friday in 1361. Fr. Thomas Rockliffe distributed the small cakes, marked by a cross to the poor of St. Albans Abbey.

25 posted on 02/27/2007 9:14:00 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: All
Monday – First Week of Lent

On the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the disciples approached Jesus and said, “Where do you want us to prepare for you to eat the Passover?” He said, “Go into the city to a certain man and tell him, “The teacher says, ‘My appointed time draws near; in your house I shall celebrate the Passover with my disciples”.” The disciples then did as Jesus had ordered, and prepared the Passover. (Mt 26:17-19)

In Matthew’s story it is now Thursday, and the Passover will begin at sunset. Jesus says, “My appointed time draws near.” Indeed it does. This young and healthy man from Nazareth is less than 24 hours away from death.

Death is like life. Each death is different, and seldom follows the script we would have written. There are many causes and kinds of death – accidents, crimes, suicides, lingering illnesses. There is the sad death of a little child or a young parent. There is the bittersweet death of a very old or sick person who has been waiting to die.

The death of Jesus was a sudden death. On Thursday he was a healthy young man. On Friday afternoon he was dead – executed as a criminal.

We began Lent with the words, “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”

How shall I die? How will my family and friends react?

What will it be like to meet the Lord?

Spend some quiet time with the Lord.

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26 posted on 02/27/2007 9:16:47 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: All
February 27, 2007

Judas

When it comes to name recognition, Judas Iscariot ranks extremely high. He will forever be known as the disciple who betrayed Jesus. His name is mentioned 22 times in the New Testament. (Second only to Peter.)

* * * *

The name “Judas” was common at that time, but the meaning of “Iscariot” is uncertain. It is an obscure word and could have been his family name or his town of origin. It could also have designated his trade, physical appearance or even political allegiance.

* * * *

Few biographical details are known about Judas (which is true of most of the 12 apostles). Apart from Jesus, he has been the subject of perhaps more speculation that any of the personalities in the Passion narrative. (Why did he betray Jesus? Did he participate in the Eucharist? Did the words “deeply regretted what he had done” signify true repentance?)

* * * *

Later, non-scholarly speculation has made him out to be the older brother of Martha, Mary and Lazarus, or the beloved disciple’s in John’s Gospel, or a Jewish priest. Such theories have no basis in evidence.

27 posted on 02/27/2007 9:30:38 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: All
Tuesday – First Week of Lent

When it was evening, Jesus reclined at table with the Twelve. And while they were eating, he said, “Amen, I say to you, one of you will betray me.” Deeply distressed at this, they began to say to him one after another, “Surely it is not I, Lord?” (Mt 26:17-19)

Originally the Jewish people stood while they ate the Passover meal. But gradually they adopted the Greek custom of reclining at table on individual, low couches. Thus, “Jesus reclined at table with the Twelve.”

The Passover meal was never eaten alone. It was a family-style gathering, something like our Thanksgiving dinner. A lamb was slain at the Temple and then eaten in a home setting. The meal was to include at least 10 people. Matthew’s account has 13 people there – Jesus and the Twelve.

You can imagine the reaction of this small close-knit group when Jesus says that one of them is going to betray him. Matthew says they were “deeply distressed.” Actually, the Greek word conveys more a sense of sorrow, sadness. In this friendly setting they were quite sincere when one by one they asked the question, “Surely it is not I, Lord?”

I wonder if I should ask the Lord to tell me if I am fooling myself?

Turn to the Lord and ask, “Lord, how am I doing?”

Spend some quiet time with the Lord.

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28 posted on 02/27/2007 9:33:32 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Salvation

#28 should have been (Mt 26:20-22)


29 posted on 02/27/2007 9:34:34 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: All
February 28, 2007

”Rabbi”

’Surely it is not I, Rabbi?’

The passage in the next post is another example of how Matthew pays close attention to words. He notices subtle parallels, and these become part of the artistry of his portrait.

The disciples, one by one, ask Jesus, “Surely it is not I, Lord?” But when Judas asks, he says, “Surely it is not I, Rabbi?”

Earlier in Matthew’s Gospel Jesus had told his disciples not to use the title “rabbi” (which means “my master”). The other disciples had just addressed Jesus with the title, used by those who believe in him: “Lord.”

Judas uses “rabbi.” Matthew subtly shows how Judas had already begun to move farther and farther from Jesus.

Ash Wednesday was a week ago. It’s time to go back and review the Lenten plans on February 18.

30 posted on 03/01/2007 9:03:32 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: All
Wednesday – First Week of Lent

Jesus said in reply, “He who has dipped his hand into the dish with me is the one who will betray me. The Son of Man indeed goes, as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed. It would be better for that man if he had never been born.” Then Judas, his betrayer, said in reply, “Surely it is not I, Rabbi?” He answered, “You have said so.” (Mt 26:23-25)

One gets the impression that Judas stayed quiet when the other disciples asked one after the other. “Surely it is not I, Lord?” It was only after Jesus responded to them that Judas asks if he is the one.

Jesus phrases his response in a way that is ambiguous. Though betrayed by Judas, Jesus doesn’t betray Judas in front of the others. This is just between the two of them. Jesus knows what Judas is up to. Still, he loves him.

Some people think worse of me than I am, others better. But Jesus knows what I’m up to – good and bad. And he loves me.

If maligned for doing right, I can take courage. The Lord knows the truth.

If I get credit for things I don’t deserve, I must take heed. The Lord knows the truth.

Either way, I’m safest with the Lord. He knows me better than anyone, and I know he knows. No need to fake it. And he loves me more than anyone.

Spend some quiet time with the Lord.

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31 posted on 03/01/2007 9:05:46 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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March 1, 2007

The Bread and the Cup

In the Gospel accounts of the Last Supper, Jesus calls (not simply invites) those at the table to take and eat the bread, and take and drink the cup. These same words are part of all the Eucharistic prayers at every Mass.

The laity took Communion under both forms in the Western Church for about the first 12 centuries. The Eastern Catholic Church continued this tradition without interruption, but in the Western Church, the cup was gradually withdrawn from the laity so that by the 16th century only the priest received the consecrated wine.

Various concerns contributed to this change of practice. For one thing, there was fear of spilling the precious blood once wine. More importantly, some heretical teachings claimed that the whole Christ was not fully present in the bread and the wine separately, but only if taken together. To counteract this heresy, the laity was given only the consecrated bread, and Eucharistic piety came to center on the host which alone was kept in the tabernacle after Mass.

The Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) restored the earlier tradition of Communion under both forms, and the Church now recognizes it as the ideal: “Holy Communion has a more complete form as a sign when it is received under both kinds.”

32 posted on 03/02/2007 9:51:01 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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Thursday – First Week of Lent

While they were eating, Jesus took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and giving it to his disciples said, “Take and eat; this is my body.” Then he took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant which will be shed on behalf of many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you, from now on I shall not drink this fruit of the vine until the day when I drink it with you new in the kingdom of my Father.” (Mt 26:26-29)

Jesus came to take away our sins. Matthew emphasizes this in the words of Jesus over the cup. While Mark and Luke have Jesus speak of his blood: shed on behalf of many,” Matthew adds: “for the forgiveness of sins."

At the beginning of Matthew’s Gospel the angel says to Joseph: “You are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” Now, toward the end of the Gospel, Jesus holds the cup and talks about the forgiveness of sins.

We are all sinners. There are times when we’ve sinned and we need the sacrament of penance. Most of the time, even though we haven’t broken our relationship with the Lord, we’ve still failed here and there. We’ve sinned.

But the forgiveness of sins is one of the main purposes of Mass, as well. That is a comforting thought, and it needs more emphasis.

If I get credit for things I don’t deserve, I must take heed. The Lord knows the truth.

Spend some quiet time with the Lord.

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33 posted on 03/02/2007 9:54:51 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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March 2, 2007

The Olive Tree

The “Mount of Olives” was so named because of the many olive trees, though they are not as plentiful today. Toward the bottom of the slope is a place with some very old olive trees, and from the fourth century this has been honored as the site of Gethsemane. Though none of these trees goes back to the time of Jesus, new olive trees sometimes grow from the roots of those whose trunk has fallen. Thus, the trees there could be “connected” with the trees that were there during the Agony in the Garden.

* * * *

Palestine’s most common tree is the olive tree. The life expectancy of an olive tree is 500 years. Its beauty has long been extolled, and it was thought to have a mystical quality. The olive branch symbolized forgiveness, peace, happiness, and its branches were woven into crowns. In the story of Noah, the olive tree even survives the flood – the dove from the ark returns with one of its branches.

* * * *

One olive tree could yield up to 1,000 pounds of oil a year. The oil was used for cooking, fuel for lamps, a base for perfumes, medicinal applications, and ointment after a bath, or religions anointing.

34 posted on 03/03/2007 2:30:42 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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Friday – First Week of Lent

Then after singing a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives. Then Jesus said to them, “This night all of you will have your faith in me shaken, for it is written: ”I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be dispersed.” But after I have raised up, I shall go before you to Galilee.” (Mt 26:30-32)

Jesus undoubtedly sang many times, but this is the only time it is mentioned in the Gospels – on the night before his death.

The conversation on the way to the Mount of Olives gets heavy. Jesus tells them that before this night ends, all of them will have their faith in him shaken.

At times our faith is shaken too. It comes down to the fundamental problem that God doesn’t live up to our expectations. The true God should:
• Prevent natural disasters (e.g. tornadoes, earthquakes),
• quickly straighten out injustices,
• eliminate sickness and suffering,
• Protect everyone from accidents, especially children.

If God is all-powerful, and God is good, then evil should not be. But evil does exist – everywhere.

We’ll never figure it out this side of the grave. All we can do is look at the cross – as evil and ugly a thing as we could think of – and say, “God help me to trust as Jesus did, that you can bring goodness out of evil.”

Spend some quiet time with the Lord.

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35 posted on 03/03/2007 2:36:00 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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March 3, 2007

”I did not want my child to flounder
as I had often floundered.
I wanted to believe, and I wanted
my child to believe, and if belonging
to a Church would give her so
inestimable a grace as faith in God,
and the companionable love
of the Saints, then the thing to do
was to have her baptized a Catholic.”

~Peace activist Dorothy Day whose daughter Tamar was born on this

36 posted on 03/04/2007 10:17:54 AM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Salvation

Oops --
~Peace activist Dorothy Day whose daughter Tamar was born on this day.


37 posted on 03/04/2007 10:19:00 AM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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Saturday – First Week of Lent

Peter said to Jesus in reply, “Though all may have their faith in you shaken, mine will never be.” Jesus said to him, “Amen I say to you, this very night before the cock crows, you will deny me three times.” Peter said to him, “Even though I should have to die with you, I will not deny you.” And all the disciples spoke likewise. (Mt 26:33-35)

Peter cannot even allow for the possibility that he would let the Lord down. “Though all may have their faith in you shaken, mine will never be.” Then all the other disciples chime in with the same assurance.

The Book of Proverbs warns, “Pride goes before disaster.” There is about to be a disaster here. These disciples are only a few hours away from doing exactly what they said they wouldn’t do.

We’ve all done things “we’d never do.”

The best approach to sin is to look it straight in the eye. In Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus is especially hard on hypocrites who pretend they have no sins. He calls them “whitewashed tombs which appear beautiful on the outside, but inside are full of dead men’s bones.”

It’s not just a question of my individual sins. It’s my sinfulness itself, the flaw in my system that only God’s grace can mend. Paul is dead honest about this: “For I do not do the good I want, but I do the evil I do not want . . . It is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me.”

“Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, have mercy on me a sinner.” Try saying that slowly 10 times. I can have a very good effect.

Spend some quiet time with the Lord.

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38 posted on 03/04/2007 10:22:40 AM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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March 4, 2007

Feast of Purim

Today is the Jewish feast of Purim, celebrating an incident that took place some 2,500 years ago. It is recounted in the Book of Esther.

It is a story of intrigue at the royal palace in Persia. The pagan king, angry at his queen, deposed her and put Esther, a Jewish woman in her place. Meanwhile, a powerful member of the royal court had concocted a plot to have the king in a single day kill all the Jews living in Persia. The date for this massacre was chosen by casting lots – which is why Purim is sometimes called the “Feast of Lots.”

Esther decided to go to the king and plead for her people. In doing so she risked her life, for to enter the king’s presence univited was punishable by death. She went ahead anyway and succeeded in saving her people.

Before entering the king’s presences she said a prayer:

My Lord, you alone are God. Help me, who am alone and have no help but you, for I am taking my life in my hand. Be mindful of me, Or Lord. Give me courage. Put in my mouth persuasive words in the presence of the lion, and help me, who am alone and have no one but you, O Lord.

39 posted on 03/04/2007 1:03:28 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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Sunday – Second Week of Lent

The Transfiguration

Today’s Gospel is one of Jesus’ many mountain experiences:

Before choosing the 12 apostles, Jesus went up the mountain and spent all night in prayer.
After the multiplication of the loaves, Jesus went up the mountain and spent the night in prayer.
Jesus spoke of his charter for the kingdom in the Sermon on the Mount.
At the Mount of Olives, Jesus prayed his heart out to the Father, hours before his death.

We need mountaintop experiences in our lives, but society has a tendency to level off the mountains and flatten them out. We build expressways that take the curves out of the road and the roads become straight and flat.

But somewhere we need mountaintop experiences that are singular, that take some preparation, time and effort. We need to be in a place where things look different – and things always look different from the top of a mountain. We need to be in a place where we experience the closeness of God.

From the Church’s perspective, Easter is the great mountain of the whole year, and we work hard to make sure that those days of Holy Thurs, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday are unlike any other days. For instance, the Easter Vigil is a time when we stay up half the night (as we do on some special occasions) to experience the darkness and the new fire. It’s a mountaintop experience, and we have to resist the temptation to flatten it out for convenience.

It’s hard to climb a mountain. It takes a lot of effort. But we need mountaintop experiences to know God and ourselves in a new light.

Spend some quiet time with the Lord.

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40 posted on 03/04/2007 1:14:14 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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March 5, 2007

In the ‘Dying Process’

In the Gethsemane scene, both Mark and Matthew describe Jesus gradually moving away from his disciples.

When Jesus arrives, he first tells his disciples to sit “here” while he goes over “there” to pray. Then he moves away from the larger group and takes only Peter, James and John with him.

After telling these three disciples of a sorrow so deep that he could die of it (“even to death”.) He moves away from them and is all alone. Lying flat on the ground – “prostrate” – he begins to pray to his Father.

Some have noted that there is a striking parallel here to what often happens when a person is dying. At some point the person crosses a threshold and begins moving toward death, gradually distancing themselves from family and friends.

This can be misunderstood by those close to the dying person. They see it as rejection when, in truth, it is simply letting go (and enabling those being left behind to let go) so that death can take place.

Whether this is what Jesus is doing, no one knows.

41 posted on 03/06/2007 6:37:21 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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Monday – Second Week of Lent

Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to his disciples, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” He took along Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to feel sorrow and distress. Then he said to them, “My soul is sorrowful even to death. Remain here and keep watch with me.” He advanced a little and fell prostrate in prayer, saying “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet not as I will, but as you will.” (Mt. 26:36-39)

We come now to the “Agony in the Garden.”

Earlier in the Gospel, Jesus had bravely said to James and John: “Can you drink from the cup that I am going to drink?” He was referring to the cup as a symbol of suffering. Later, at the supper table, he took a cup and said that this was his own blood to be shed for the forgiveness of sins.

We can bring this same attitude to our own sufferings. We’re not out looking for suffering. But if we have to cross the bridge of suffering to get where we need to go, or if it simply comes upon us and we’ve really no choice, then we need to accept it, not with bitterness, but with a willing heart. We place ourselves in the good hands of the Lord, and join with him in his Gethsemane prayer.

What is the biggest cup of suffering in my life right now? Place yourself in Gethsemane with the Lord and talk to him about it.

Spend some quiet time with the Lord.

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42 posted on 03/06/2007 6:40:49 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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March 6, 2007

Almsgiving, Fasting, Prayer

Over the years, Christians and Catholics have developed customs and traditions that try to help people turn toward prayer. Here are some that developed!

• When we hear a siren (fire engine, ambulance, police) we say a pray for the people who are in trouble as well as the fire fighters, officers or medical emergency crew involved.)
• Before a meal, we pray grace.
• When passing by a church, we make the Sign of the Cross, men tip their hats.
• When passing by an abortion clinic or euthanasia location, we say a Hail Mary.
• When we see a funeral procession or pass a cemetery, we say a prayer or place our hand over our heart and men tip their hats.
• During a bad story, we light a candle at home and say a prayer asking for protection.
• When we hear a church bell, we say a prayer.
• When we lose something, we pray to St. Anthony.
• When we pass a hospital, we say a prayer.
• In school, we print “JMJ” (the initials of Jesus, Mary and Joseph) or AMDG (which stands for Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam, a Latin phrase meaning, “For the greater glory of God”) at the top of a class paper, in order to bring God into one’s schoolwork.

43 posted on 03/08/2007 6:48:48 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Salvation

Oops.
• During a bad storm, we light a candle at home and say a prayer asking for protection.


44 posted on 03/08/2007 6:49:52 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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Tuesday – Second Week of Lent

When Jesus returne to his disciples he found them asleep. He said to Peter, “So you could not keep watch with me for one hour? Watch and pray that you may not undergo the test. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Withdrawing a second time, he prayed again, “My Father, if it is not possible that this cup pass without me drinking it, your will be done.” (Mt. 26:40-42)

Jesus finds Peter, James and John sleeping. “Sleep” is often a biblical figure of avoiding the great decisions of life. Paul says to the Thessalonians, “Therefore, let us not sleep as the rest do, but let us stay alert and sober.”

Jesus talks about undergoing “the test.” It’s difficult to translate the Greek word used here. It’s the same word used in the Our Father – lead us not into “temptation.”

We all go through flashes of that.

That is “the test”, and that is what we hope not to have to face when we are vulnerable, unguarded. It’s the test Jesus is facing in Gethsemane. He faces it and stands firm: “Your will be done” – an exact citation of the third petition of the Our Father.

To what “test” in my life right now do I most need to say those words: “Your will be done?”

Spend some quiet time with the Lord.

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45 posted on 03/08/2007 6:54:53 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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March 7, 2007

First Papal Photograph

Joseph Nicephore Niepce was born on this day in1765 into a wealthy French family. He studied to become a priest and taught for awhile in the seminary. But after a stint in the military during the French Revolution he retired to Nice, married and became a politician.

Joseph and his older brother Claude were also inventors. The devised a motor for large boats and in 1816 constructed their first camera.

* * * * * *
In July 1822, Joseph Niepce invented what he called heliography, a precursor to the first photograph.

His first subject was a “photo” of Pope Pius VII.

46 posted on 03/08/2007 10:20:13 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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Wednesday – Second Week of Lent

Then Jesus returned once more and found them asleep, for they could not keep their eyes open. He left them and withdrew again and prayed a third time, saying the same thing again. Then he returned to his disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? Behold the hour is at hand when the Son of Man is to be handed over to sinners. Get up, let us go. Look, my betrayer is at hand.”(Mt. 26:44-46)

Accepting the Father’s will is not always an easy thing to do. That’s fairly obvious when we see the struggle of Jesus in Gethsemane. We also know from our own firsthand experience how difficult it can be.

Ever try to help a bird get out of your house? You’re trying to give it freedom, and it resists as though you were trying to harm it.

We all go through flashes of that.

“Thy will be done” is the path that gets us to true freedom and gets us ultimately where we really want to go, even though there may be some pain involved in getting there.

What in my life is the most difficult thing for me to accept?

Spend some quiet time with the Lord.

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47 posted on 03/08/2007 10:22:44 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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March 8, 2007

St. John of God

When John was eight years old, he ran away from his home in Portugal. Such impetuousness and recklessness were to characterize his entire life.

After traveling to Spain the youngster fell sick. He was cared for by the manager of a large estate who eventually adopted him.

John worked as a shepherd until he was in his late twenties. Then, pressured to enter a loveless marriage, he enlisted in the Spanish army to fight against France.

Like many men in his regiment, the young soldier drank, gambled and carried on. Then one day he was thrown from his horse near French lines. Fearing he would be captured or killed John promised to reform his life if he survived.

He did . . . . and he did.

At age 40, he decided to risk martyrdom by traveling to Africa to help ransom Christian captives. But at the deck, he met a family being exiled for political intrigue. He offered to be their servant. Years later, the family was pardoned, and John returned to Spain. Always a voracious reader, he became a book peddler, traveling from village to village selling religious books and holy cards.

But John soon fell back into some of his old ways, until one day when he heard John of Avila preach on repentance. Again, John was so remorseful about how he was living that he rededicated his life to God. He devoted his life to the poor, establishing a hospital built on alms he received.

He died on this day in 1559 at age 55, when he fell ill after saving a drowning man.

John of God is patron of booksellers and of hospitals.

48 posted on 03/11/2007 10:16:52 AM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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Thursday – Second Week of Lent

While Jesus was still speaking Judas, one of the Twelve, arrived, accompanied by a large crowd, with swords and clubs, who had come from the chief priests and the elders of the people. His betrayer had arranged a sign with them, saying, “The man I shall kiss is the one; arrest him.” Immediately he went over to Jesus and said, “Hail, Rabbi!” and he kissed him. Jesus answered him, “Friend, do what you have come for.” Then stepping forward they laid hands on Jesus and arrested him. (Mt. 26:47:50)

No matter how many times we’ve heard it, there’s still a shock when we see one of the Twelve leading a crowd with swords and clubs to seize Jesus and send him to his death.

The real jolt comes from the fact that Judas had a close personal relationship with Jesus. Judas also had a close relationship with the other members of the Twelve. They were a small, close-knit group.

A close relationship gone sour – whether it’s parents and grown children, husbands and wives, longtime close friends – is always a sad story.

Later that night, when Jesus was in his “holding cell” at the high priest’s house and everyone was asleep, Jesus must have turned this over and over in his mind. What went wrong between me and Judas? Is there anything I could have done to prevent this?

It was too late. He was a prisoner, and tomorrow they’d surely kill him. He’d never see Judas again in this life. It’s a sad story.

Lord, help me to stay close to you.

Spend some quiet time with the Lord.

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49 posted on 03/11/2007 10:20:39 AM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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March 9, 2007

Almsgiving, Fasting, Prayer

Fasting is an ancient disciples long recognized as a way of opening oneself more fully to the presence of God. It also activates the mind and spirit, directing energy there that would have been spent on digestion. It can also contribute to physical health, rinsing the body of dead and weak cells.

Down through the centuries Christians have practiced various forms of fasting from food and drink during Lent but never on Sunday because each Sunday is a celebration of the resurrection – a “little Easter.”

Some ways to fast are:
• Taking only one full meal a day, and reducing the other two meals to a very small amount, and/or
• No solid food between meals, and/or
• Meatless meals (referred to as “abstinence”) or
• No food or drink at all from sunrise to sunset, or
• Taking only water for 24 hours or longer.

The Church calls upon each person to do some fasting during Lent, adapted to the individual. Those who for health reasons can not fast from food, can “fast” from something else.

* * * * *

Since the days of the early Church, Friday has been a traditional day of fasting (and abstinence) because it is the day of the Lord’s death.

50 posted on 03/11/2007 9:28:28 PM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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