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Catholic Caucus: Daily Mass Readings, 02-13-13, Ash Wednesday
USCCB.org/RNAB ^ | 02-13-13 | Revised New American Bible

Posted on 02/12/2013 8:47:07 PM PST by Salvation

February 13, 2013

 

Ash Wednesday

 

If the blessing and distribution of ashes take place outside Mass, it is appropriate that the Liturgy of the Word precede it, using texts assigned to the Mass of Ash Wednesday.

Reading 1 Jl 2:12-18

Even now, says the LORD,
return to me with your whole heart,
with fasting, and weeping, and mourning;
Rend your hearts, not your garments,
and return to the LORD, your God.
For gracious and merciful is he,
slow to anger, rich in kindness,
and relenting in punishment.
Perhaps he will again relent
and leave behind him a blessing,
Offerings and libations
for the LORD, your God.

Blow the trumpet in Zion!
proclaim a fast,
call an assembly;
Gather the people,
notify the congregation;
Assemble the elders,
gather the children
and the infants at the breast;
Let the bridegroom quit his room
and the bride her chamber.
Between the porch and the altar
let the priests, the ministers of the LORD, weep,
And say, “Spare, O LORD, your people,
and make not your heritage a reproach,
with the nations ruling over them!
Why should they say among the peoples,
‘Where is their God?’”

Then the LORD was stirred to concern for his land
and took pity on his people.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 51:3-4, 5-6ab, 12-13, 14 and 17

R. (see 3a) Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.
Have mercy on me, O God, in your goodness;
in the greatness of your compassion wipe out my offense.
Thoroughly wash me from my guilt
and of my sin cleanse me.
R. Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.
For I acknowledge my offense,
and my sin is before me always:
“Against you only have I sinned,
and done what is evil in your sight.”
R. Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.
A clean heart create for me, O God,
and a steadfast spirit renew within me.
Cast me not out from your presence,
and your Holy Spirit take not from me.
R. Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.
Give me back the joy of your salvation,
and a willing spirit sustain in me.
O Lord, open my lips,
and my mouth shall proclaim your praise.
R. Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.

Reading 2 2 Cor 5:20—6:2

Brothers and sisters:
We are ambassadors for Christ,
as if God were appealing through us.
We implore you on behalf of Christ,
be reconciled to God.
For our sake he made him to be sin who did not know sin,
so that we might become the righteousness of God in him.

Working together, then,
we appeal to you not to receive the grace of God in vain.
For he says:

In an acceptable time I heard you,
and on the day of salvation I helped you.


Behold, now is a very acceptable time;
behold, now is the day of salvation.

Gospel Mt 6:1-6, 16-18

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Take care not to perform righteous deeds
in order that people may see them;
otherwise, you will have no recompense from your heavenly Father.
When you give alms,
do not blow a trumpet before you,
as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets
to win the praise of others.
Amen, I say to you,
they have received their reward.
But when you give alms,
do not let your left hand know what your right is doing,
so that your almsgiving may be secret.
And your Father who sees in secret will repay you.

“When you pray,
do not be like the hypocrites,
who love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on street corners
so that others may see them.
Amen, I say to you,
they have received their reward.
But when you pray, go to your inner room,
close the door, and pray to your Father in secret.
And your Father who sees in secret will repay you.

“When you fast,
do not look gloomy like the hypocrites.
They neglect their appearance,
so that they may appear to others to be fasting.
Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward.
But when you fast,
anoint your head and wash your face,
so that you may not appear to be fasting,
except to your Father who is hidden.
And your Father who sees what is hidden will repay you.”


TOPICS: Catholic; General Discusssion; Prayer; Worship
KEYWORDS: catholic; lent; prayer
For your reading, reflection, faith-sharing, comments, questions, discussion.

1 posted on 02/12/2013 8:47:24 PM PST by Salvation
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To: Salvation

Praise to you, Lord, Jesus Christ, King of Endless Glory Ping!

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2 posted on 02/12/2013 9:10:52 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: nickcarraway; NYer; ELS; Pyro7480; livius; ArrogantBustard; Catholicguy; RobbyS; marshmallow; ...

Praise to you, Lord, Jesus Christ, King of Endless Glory Ping!

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3 posted on 02/12/2013 9:14:01 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All

From: Joel 2:12-18

An Urgent Call to Repentance


[12] “Yet even now,” says the LORD, “return to me with all your heart, with fas-
ting, with weeping, and with mourning; [13] and rend your hearts and not your
garments.” Return to the LORD, your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow
to anger, and abounding in steadfast love, and repents of evil. [14] Who knows
whether he will not turn and repent, and leave a blessing behind him, a cereal
offering and a drink offering for the LORD, your God?

[15] Blow the trumpet in Zion; sanctify a fast; call a solemn assembly; [16] ga-
ther the people. Sanctify the congregation; assemble the elders; gather the chil-
dren, even nursing infants. Let the bridegroom leave his room, and the bride her
chamber.

The Priests Entreat the Lord


[17] Between the vestibule and the altar let the priests, the ministers of the
LORD, weep and say, “Spare thy people, O LORD, and make not thy heritage a
reproach, a byword among the nations. Why should they say among the peoples,
‘Where is their God?’”

[18] Then the LORD became jealous for his land, and had pity on his people.

*********************************************************************************************
Commentary:

2:12-17. The first part of the book ends with a general exhortation to conversion:
there is an oracle of the Lord (”says the Lord”: v. 12), where the prophet makes
an appeal on behalf of God; and then he specifically mentions the priests’ duty
to do penance and offer prayers. Central to these words of warning is v. 13,
which spells out what makes conversion last—God’s compassion and man’s
sincere determination. St Jerome comments: “’Return to me with all your heart’:
show your repentance and inner conversion through fasting, mourning and tears.
By fasting now, your hunger will be satisfied later; mourning now, one day you
will laugh; weeping now, you shall be consoled. The custom of rending one’s gar-
ments at times of sorrow or adversity is well-established: the high priest tore his
robes to show the gravity of the Savior’s crime; and, according to the Acts of the
Apostles, Paul and Barnabas ripped their tunics when they heard blasphemous
words being spoken. But I tell you to rend not your garments, but your hearts
that are filled with sin. The heart, like wineskins, does not tear of its own accord:
it must be deliberately torn. When you have rent your heart in this way, return to
the Lord, your God, from whom you have strayed by your sins. Never doubt his
forgiveness, for no matter how many and grave your past sins have been, he will
pardon you from the abundance of his mercy” (”Commentarii in Ioelem”, 2, 12ff).

2:17. This verse (which the liturgy of the Church uses as a call to penance on
Ash Wednesday) acts as a conclusion to the first part of the book: a change of
heart, backed up by sincere acts of penance, can cause God to stay his hand
and spare his people any more affliction. The words that open the second part
of the book (v. 18) tell us of the Lord’s response; from then on, hope is on the ho-
rizon: “God does not let himself be outdone in generosity. Be sure that he grants
faithfulness to those who give themselves to him” (St Josemaria Escrivá, “The
Forge”, 623).

*********************************************************************************************
Source: “The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries”. Biblical text from the
Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries by members of
the Faculty of Theology, University of Navarre, Spain.

Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland, and
by Scepter Publishers in the United States.


4 posted on 02/12/2013 9:15:25 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All

From: 2 Corinthians 5:20-6:2

The Ministry of Reconciliation (Continuation)


[20] So we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We
beseech you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. [21] For our sake he
made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righ-
teousness of God.

St Paul, a True Servant of Christ


[1] Working together with him, then, we entreat you not to accept the grace of
God in vain. [2] For he says, “At the acceptable time I have listened to you, and
helped you on the day of salvation.” Behold, now is the acceptable time; behold,
now is the day of salvation.

*********************************************************************************************
Commentary:

18-21. The reconciliation of mankind with God—whose friendship we lost through
original sin—has been brought about by Christ’s death on the cross. Jesus, who
is like men in all things “yet without sinning” (Heb 4:14), bore the sins of men (cf.
Is 53:4-12) and offered himself on the cross as an atoning sacrifice for all those
sins (cf. 1 Pet 2:22-25), thereby reconciling men to God; through this sacrifice
we became the righteousness of God, that is, we are justified, made just in
God’s sight (cf. Rom 1:17; 3:24-26 and notes). The Church reminds us of this
in the rite of sacramental absolution: “God, the Father of mercies, through the
death and resurrection of his son has reconciled the world to himself [...].”

Our Lord entrusted the Apostles with this ministry of reconciliation (v. 18), this
“message of reconciliation” (v. 19), to pass it on to all men: elsewhere in the
New Testament it is described as the “message of salvation” (Acts 13:26), the
“word of grace” (Acts 14:3; 20:32), the “word of life” ( 1 Jn 1: 1). Thus, the Apos-
tles were our Lord’s ambassadors to men, to whom St Paul addresses a pres-
sing call: “be reconciled to God”, that is, apply to yourselves the reconciliation
obtained by Jesus Christ—which is done mainly through the sacraments of Bap-
tism and Penance. “The Lord Jesus instituted in his Church the sacrament of
Penance, so that those who have committed sins after Baptism might be recon-
ciled with God, whom they have offended, and with the Church itself whom they
have injured” (Bl. John Paul II, “Aperite Portas”, 5).

21. “He made him to be sin”: obviously St Paul does not mean that Christ was
guilty of sin; he does not say “to be a sinner” but “to be sin”. “Christ had no sin,”
St Augustine says; “he bore sins, but he did not commit them” (”Enarrationes
in Psalmos”, 68, 1, 10).

According to the rite of atoning sacrifices (cf. Lev 4:24; 5:9; Num 19:9; Mic 6:7;
Ps 40:7) the word “sin”, corresponding to the Hebrew “asam”, refers to the ac-
tual act of sacrifice or to the victim being offered. Therefore, this phrase means
“he made him a victim for sin” or “a sacrifice for sin”. It should be remembered
that in the Old Testament nothing unclean or blemished could be offered to God;
the offering of an unblemished animal obtained God’s pardon for the transgres-
sion which one wanted to expiate. Since Jesus was the most perfect of victims
offered for us, he made full atonement for all sins. In the Letter to the Hebrews,
when comparing Christ’s sacrifice with that of the priests of the Old Testament,
it is expressly stated that “every priest stands daily at his service, offering re-
peatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But when Christ
had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand
of God, then to wait until his enemies should be made a stool for his feet. For
by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are sanctified” (Heb
10:11-14).

This concentrated sentence also echoes the Isaiah prophecy about the sacrifice
of the Servant of Yahweh; Christ, the head of the human race, makes men sha-
rers in the grace and glory he achieved through his sufferings: “upon him was the
chastisement that made us whole, and with his stripes we are healed” (Is 53:5).

Jesus Christ, burdened with our sins and offering himself on the cross as a sacri-
fice for them, brought about the Redemption: the Redemption is the supreme ex-
ample both of God’s justice—which requires atonement befitting the offense—and
of his mercy, that mercy which makes him love the world so much that “he gave
his only Son” (Jn 3:16). “In the Passion and Death of Christ—in the fact that the
Father did not spare his own Son, but ‘for our sake made him sin’—absolute jus-
tice is expressed, for Christ undergoes the Passion and Cross because of the
sins of humanity. This constitutes even a ‘superabundance’ of justice, for the sins
of man are ‘compensated for’ by the sacrifice of the Man-God. Nevertheless, this
justice, which is properly justice ‘to God’s measure’, springs completely from love,
from the love of the Father and of the Son, and completely bears fruit in love. Pre-
cisely for this reason the divine justice revealed in the Cross of Christ is ‘to God’s
measure’, because it springs from love and is accomplished in love, producing
fruits of salvation. The divine dimension of redemption is put into effect not only
by bringing justice to bear upon sin, but also by restoring to love that creative po-
wer in man thanks to which he once more has access to the fullness of life and
holiness that come from God. In this way, redemption involves the revelation of
mercy in its fullness” (Bl. John Paul II, “Dives In Misericordia”, 7).

1-10. St Paul concludes his long defense of his apostolic ministry (cf. 3:1-6:10)
by saying that he has always tried to act as a worthy servant of God. First he
calls on the Corinthians to have a sense of responsibility so that the grace of
God be not ineffective in them (vv. 1-2), and then he briefly describes the afflic-
tions this ministry has meant for him. Earlier, he touched on this subject (cf. 4:
7-12), and he will deal with it again in 11:23-33.

1-2. St Paul exhorts the faithful not to accept the grace of God in vain, which
would happen if they did not cultivate the faith and initial grace they received in
Baptism and if they neglected the graces which God continues to send them.
This exhortation is valid for all Christians: “We receive the grace of God in vain”,
St Francis de Sales points out, “when we receive it at the gate of our heart,
without allowing it to enter: we receive it without receiving it; we receive it with-
out fruit, since there is no use in feeling the inspiration if one does not consent
unto it. And just as the sick man who has the medicine in his hands, if he takes
only part of it, will only partially benefit from it, so too, when God sends a great
and mighty inspiration to move us to embrace his love, if we do not avail of it in
its entirety, we shall benefit from it only partially” (”Treatise on the Love of God”,
book 2, chap. 11).

The Apostle urges them to cultivate the grace they have been given, using a quo-
tation from Isaiah (49:8): the right time has come, the day of salvation. His words
recall our Lord’s preaching in the synagogue of Nazareth (cf. Lk 4:16-21).

The “acceptable time” will last until Christ comes in glory at the end of the world
(in the life of the individual, it will last until the hour of his death); until then, every
day is “the day of salvation”: “’Ecce none dies salutis’, the day of salvation is
here before us. The call of the good shepherd has reached us: ‘”ego vocavi te no-
mine too”, I have called you by name’ (Is 43:1). Since love repays love, we must
reply: ‘”ecce ego quia vocasti me”, Here I am, for you called me’ (1 Sam 3:5) [...].
I will be converted, I will turn again to the Lord and love him as he wants to be
loved” (St. J. Escriva, “Christ Is Passing By”, 59).

*********************************************************************************************
Source: “The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries”. Biblical text from the
Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries by members of
the Faculty of Theology, University of Navarre, Spain.

Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland, and
by Scepter Publishers in the United States.


5 posted on 02/12/2013 9:17:26 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All

From: Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18

An Upright Intention in Almsgiving, Prayer and Fasting


[Jesus said to His disciples,] [1] “Beware of practising your piety before men in
order to be seen by them; for then you will have no reward from your Father who
is in Heaven.

[2] “Thus, when you give alms, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites
do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by men. Tru-
ly, I say to you, they have their reward. [3] But when you give alms, do not let
your left hand know what your right hand is doing, [4] so that your alms may be
in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

[5] “And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites; for they love to
stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be
seen by men. Truly, I say to you, they have their reward. [6] But when you pray,
go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret;
and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

[16] “And when you fast, do not look dismal, like the hypocrites, for they disfi-
gure their faces that their fasting may be seen by men. Truly, I say to you, they
have their reward. [17] But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face,
[18] that your fasting may not be seen by men but by your Father who is in se-
cret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.”

*********************************************************************************************
Commentary:

1-18. “Piety”, here, means good works (cf. note on Matthew 5:6). Our Lord is
indicating the kind of spirit in which we should do acts of personal piety. Alms-
giving, fasting and prayer were the basic forms taken by personal piety among
the chosen people—which is why Jesus refers to these three subjects. With com-
plete authority He teaches that true piety must be practiced with an upright inten-
tion, in the presence of God and without any ostentation. Piety practiced in this
way implies exercising our faith in God who sees us—and also in the safe know-
ledge that He will reward those who are sincerely devout.

5-6. Following the teaching of Jesus, the Church has always taught us to pray
even when we were infants. By saying “you” (singular) our Lord is stating quite
unequivocally the need for personal prayer—relating as child to Father, alone
with God.

Public prayer, for which Christ’s faithful assemble together, is something neces-
sary and holy; but it should never displace obedience to this clear command-
ment of our Lord: “When you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray
to your Father”.

The Second Vatican Council reminds us of the teaching and practice of the
Church in its liturgy, which is “the summit toward which the activity of the
Church is directed; it is also the fount from which all her power flows [...]. The
spiritual life, however, is not limited solely to participation in the liturgy. The Chris-
tian is indeed called to pray with others, but he must also enter into his bedroom
to pray to his Father in secret; furthermore, according to the teaching of the Apo-
stle, he must pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17)” (”Sacrosanctum Con-
cilium”, 10 and 12).

A soul who really puts his Christian faith into practice realizes that he needs fre-
quently to get away and pray alone to his Father, God. Jesus, who gives us this
teaching about prayer, practiced it during His own life on earth: the holy Gospel
reports that He often went apart to pray on His own: “At times He spent the
whole night in an intimate conversation with His Father. The Apostles were filled
with love when they saw Christ pray” (St. J. Escriva, “Christ Is Passing By”, 119;
cf. Matthew 14:23; Mark 1:35; Luke 5:16; etc.). The Apostles followed the Mas-
ter’s example, and so we see Peter going up to the rooftop of the house to pray
in private, and receiving a revelation (cf. Acts 10:9-16). “Our life of prayer should
also be based on some moments that are dedicated exclusively to our conversa-
tion with God, moments of silent dialogue” (”ibid”, 119).

16-18. Starting from the traditional practice of fasting, our Lord tells us the spirit
in which we should exercise mortification of our senses: we should do so without
ostentation, avoiding praise, discreetly; that way Jesus’ words will not apply to
us: “they have their reward”; it would have been a very bad deal. “The world ad-
mires only spectacular sacrifice, because it does not realize the value of sacri-
fice that is hidden and silent” (St. J. Escriva, “The Way”, 185).

*********************************************************************************************
Source: “The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries”. Biblical text from the
Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries by members of
the Faculty of Theology, University of Navarre, Spain.

Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland, and
by Scepter Publishers in the United States.


6 posted on 02/12/2013 9:18:26 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
Scripture readings taken from the Jerusalem Bible, published and copyright © 1966, 1967 and 1968 by Darton, Longman & Todd

Readings at Mass


First reading Joel 2:12-18 ©
‘Now, now – it is the Lord who speaks –
come back to me with all your heart,
fasting, weeping, mourning.’
Let your hearts be broken, not your garments torn,
turn to the Lord your God again,
for he is all tenderness and compassion,
slow to anger, rich in graciousness,
and ready to relent.
Who knows if he will not turn again, will not relent,
will not leave a blessing as he passes,
oblation and libation
for the Lord your God?
Sound the trumpet in Zion!
Order a fast,
proclaim a solemn assembly,
call the people together,
summon the community,
assemble the elders,
gather the children,
even the infants at the breast.
Let the bridegroom leave his bedroom
and the bride her alcove.
Between vestibule and altar let the priests,
the ministers of the Lord, lament.
Let them say,
‘Spare your people, the Lord!
Do not make your heritage a thing of shame,
a byword for the nations.
Why should it be said among the nations,
“Where is their God?”’
Then the Lord, jealous on behalf of his land,
took pity on his people.

Psalm Psalm 50:3-6,12-14,17 ©
Have mercy on us, O Lord, for we have sinned.
Have mercy on me, God, in your kindness.
  In your compassion blot out my offence.
O wash me more and more from my guilt
  and cleanse me from my sin.
Have mercy on us, O Lord, for we have sinned.
My offences truly I know them;
  my sin is always before me
Against you, you alone, have I sinned;
  what is evil in your sight I have done.
Have mercy on us, O Lord, for we have sinned.
That you may be justified when you give sentence
  and be without reproach when you judge,
A pure heart create for me, O God,
  put a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me away from your presence,
  nor deprive me of your holy spirit.
Have mercy on us, O Lord, for we have sinned.
Give me again the joy of your help;
  with a spirit of fervour sustain me,
O Lord, open my lips
  and my mouth shall declare your praise.
Have mercy on us, O Lord, for we have sinned.

Second reading 2 Corinthians 5:20-6:2 ©
We are ambassadors for Christ; it is as though God were appealing through us, and the appeal that we make in Christ’s name is: be reconciled to God. For our sake God made the sinless one into sin, so that in him we might become the goodness of God. As his fellow workers, we beg you once again not to neglect the grace of God that you have received. For he says: At the favourable time, I have listened to you; on the day of salvation I came to your help. Well, now is the favourable time; this is the day of salvation.

Gospel Acclamation Ps50:12,14
Praise to you, O Christ, king of eternal glory!
A pure heart create for me, O God,
and give me again the joy of your help.
Praise to you, O Christ, king of eternal glory!
Or cf.Ps94:8
Praise to you, O Christ, king of eternal glory!
Harden not your hearts today,
but listen to the voice of the Lord.
Praise to you, O Christ, king of eternal glory!

Gospel Matthew 6:1-6,16-18 ©
Jesus said to his disciples:
  ‘Be careful not to parade your good deeds before men to attract their notice; by doing this you will lose all reward from your Father in heaven. So when you give alms, do not have it trumpeted before you; this is what the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets to win men’s admiration. I tell you solemnly, they have had their reward. But when you give alms, your left hand must not know what your right is doing; your almsgiving must be secret, and your Father who sees all that is done in secret will reward you.
  ‘And when you pray, do not imitate the hypocrites: they love to say their prayers standing up in the synagogues and at the street corners for people to see them; I tell you solemnly, they have had their reward. But when you pray, go to your private room and, when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in that secret place, and your Father who sees all that is done in secret will reward you.
  ‘When you fast do not put on a gloomy look as the hypocrites do: they pull long faces to let men know they are fasting. I tell you solemnly, they have had their reward. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that no one will know you are fasting except your Father who sees all that is done in secret; and your Father who sees all that is done in secret will reward you.’

7 posted on 02/12/2013 9:22:55 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
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Catholic Church calls for public prayers in offices on Fridays
Vatican Unveils Logo for Year of Faith [Catholic Caucus]
Miami Prelate Recalls Pope's Visit to Cuba, Looks to Year of Faith [Catholic Caucus]
The World-Changing Year of Faith [Catholic Caucus]
Vatican to Issue Recommendations for Celebrating Year of Faith

8 posted on 02/12/2013 9:24:31 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
Your Guide To A Catholic Lent
Following the Truth: Lent: Becoming Uncomfortable About Being Comfortable [Catholic and Open]
Following the Truth: Spiritual Exercises – Week One [of Lent] In Review
Clerical Narcissism and Lent
Content of Pope's Lenten spiritual exercises revealed
How Lent Can Make a Difference in Your Relationship with God (Ecumenical Thread)
A Call from the FSSP French District: offer up your Lent for Catholic Unity [Catholic Caucus]
A Call from the FSSP French District: offer up your Lent for Catholic Unity [Catholic Caucus]
On the 40 Days of Lent
Christians Tailor Lent Outside Catholic Traditions
Christians Tailor Lent Outside Catholic Traditions
Lent, A Time to Shoulder Our Christian Responsibilities
Consecrate this Lent to Jesus through Mary, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity [Catholic Caucus]
Opinion: Lent for Redacted [Ekoomenikal]

Ash (or Clean) Monday - Lent Begins (for some Catholics) - February 20, 2012
[Why I Am Catholic]: Lent And Holy Week (A Primer) [Catholic Caucus]
Lent, A Time to Give from the Heart [Catholic caucus}
Learning the beatitudes during Lent -- use your Rosary to learn the Beatitutdes [Catholic Caucus]
Lenten Ember Days: March 16th, 18th, and 19th, 2011 (Catholic/Orthodox Caucus)
St. Vincent Ferrer - Sermon for the First Sunday of Lent [Ecumenical]
Pope describes ‘Lenten road’ that leads to renewal
St. Andrew of Crete, Great Canon of Repentance - Tuesday's portion (Orthodox/Latin Caucus)
The Great Canon of St. Andrew of Crete (Monday's portion) [Orth/Cath Caucus]
Penance and Reparation: A Lenten Meditation(Catholic/Orthodox Caucus)
For Lent - Top 10 Bible Verses on Penance
Cana Sunday: Entrance into Great Lent
2011 Catechetical Homily on the opening of Holy and Great Lent
8 Ways to Pray During Lent [Catholic/Orthodox Caucus]
Baptists, Lent, and the Rummage Sale
So What Shall We Do during These Forty Days of Lent? [Catholic/Orthodox Caucus]
Lenten Traditions (Catholic Caucus)
Are You Scrupulous? A Lenten Homily by John Cardinal O’Connor
Blow the Trumpet! Call the Assembly! The Blessings of Fasting
Lenten Challenges

Lent and the Catholic Business Professional (Interview)
Temptations Correspond to Our Vulnerabilities: Biblical Reflection for 1st Sunday of Lent
A Lenten “Weight” Loss Program
On the Lenten Season
Lent 2010: Pierce Thou My Heart, Love Crucified [Catholic Caucus]
US seminarians begin Lenten pilgrimage to Rome's ancient churches
Conversion "is going against the current" of an "illusory way of life"[Pope Benedict XVI for Lent]
vanity] Hope you all make a good Lent [Catholic Caucus]
Lent -- Easter 2010, Reflections, Prayer, Actions Day by Day
Stational Churches (Virtually visit one each day and pray)
40 Ways to Get the Most Out of Lent!
What to Give Up (for Lent)? The List
On the Spiritual Advantages of Fasting [Pope Clement XIII]
Christ's temptation and ours (Reflection for the First Sunday of Lent)
Pope Benedict XVI Message for Lent 2010 (Feb 15 = Ash Monday & Feb 17 = Ash Wednesday)
Whatever happened to (Lenten) obligations? [Prayer, Fasting, Almsgiving]Archbishop John Vlazny
Vatican Presents Lenten Website: LENT 2009
A Scriptural Way of the Cross with Meditations by Saint Alphonsus Liguori (Lenten Prayer/Devotional)
Prayer, Fasting and Mercy by St. Peter Chrysologus, Early Church Father [Catholic Caucus]
History of Lent (Did the Church always have this time before Easter?)

Beginning of Lent
Lent (Catholic Encyclopedia - Caucus Thread)
At Lent, let us pray for the Pope (converts ask us to pray for the pope)
Daily Lenten Reflections 2009
LENTEN STATIONS [Stational Churches for Lent] (Catholic Caucus)
40 Days for Life campaign is now under way (February 25 - April 5]
This Lent, live as if Jesus Christ is indeed Lord of your life
Reconciliation, forgiveness, hope – and Lent
Intro to Fast and Abstinence 101
Lent: Why the Christian Must Deny Himself (with Scriptural references)
40 Ways to Improve Your Lent
Everything Lent (Lots of links)
The Best Kind of Fasting
Getting Serious About Lent
Lent Overview
Meditations on the Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ [Devotional]
On Lent... and Lourdes (Benedict XVI's Angelus address)
Lent for Newbies
Lent -- 2008 -- Come and Pray Each Day
Lent: Why the Christian Must Deny Himself

Lenten Workshop [lots of ideas for all]
Lent and Reality
Forty Days (of Lent) [Devotional/Reflections]
Pope Benedict takes his own advice, plans to go on retreat for Lent
GUIDE FOR LENT - What the Catholic Church Says
Message of His Holiness Benedict XVI for Lent 2008
40 Days for Life: 2008 Campaigns [Lent Registration this week]
Vatican Web Site Focuses on Lent
Almsgiving [Lent]
Conversion Through Prayer, Fasting and Almsgiving [Lent]
Lenten Stations -- Stational Churches - visit each with us during Lent {Catholic Caucus}
Something New for Lent: Part I -- Holy Souls Saturdays
Reflections for Lent (February, March and April, 2007)
Lent 2007: The Love Letter Written by Pope Benedict
Pre-Lent through Easter Prayer and Reflections -- 2007
Stations of the Cross [Catholic/Orthodox Caucus]
For study and reflection during Lent - Mind, Heart, Soul [Catholic/Orthodox Caucus]
Ash Wednesday and the Lenten Fast-Family observance Lenten season [Catholic/Orthodox Caucus]
Pre-Lenten Days -- Family activities-Shrove Tuesday (Mardi Gras)[Catholic/Orthodox Caucus]
40 Ways to Get the Most Out of Lent! [Catholic/Orthodox Caucus]

Lenten Fasting or Feasting? [Catholic Caucus]
Pope's Message for Lent-2007
THE TRUE NATURE OF FASTING (Catholic/Orthodox Caucus)
The Triduum and 40 Days
The Three Practices of Lent: Praying, Fasting. Almsgiving
Why We Need Lent
MESSAGE OF HIS HOLINESS BENEDICT XVI FOR LENT 2006
Lent a Time for Renewal, Says Benedict XVI
Why You Should Celebrate Lent
Getting the Most Out of Lent
Lent: A Time to Fast >From Media and Criticism Says President of Pontifical Liturgical Institute
Give it up (making a Lenten sacrifice)
The History of Lent
The Holy Season of Lent -- Fast and Abstinence
The Holy Season of Lent -- The Stations of the Cross
Lent and Fasting
Mardi Gras' Catholic Roots [Shrove Tuesday]
Kids and Holiness: Making Lent Meaningful to Children
Ash Wednesday
All About Lent

9 posted on 02/12/2013 9:27:34 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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40 Days for Life: Vision and Mission, February 13 - March 24, 2013
10 posted on 02/12/2013 9:39:16 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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Perpetual Novena for the Nation (Ecumenical)
11 posted on 02/12/2013 9:40:04 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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Prayers for The Religion Forum (Ecumenical)
12 posted on 02/12/2013 9:41:02 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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Prayers for Pope Benedict XVI

Continue to Pray for Pope Benedict [Ecumenical]

13 posted on 02/12/2013 9:42:03 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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Jesus, High Priest
 

We thank you, God our Father, for those who have responded to your call to priestly ministry.

Accept this prayer we offer on their behalf: Fill your priests with the sure knowledge of your love.

Open their hearts to the power and consolation of the Holy Spirit.

Lead them to new depths of union with your Son.

Increase in them profound faith in the Sacraments they celebrate as they nourish, strengthen and heal us.

Lord Jesus Christ, grant that these, your priests, may inspire us to strive for holiness by the power of their example, as men of prayer who ponder your word and follow your will.

O Mary, Mother of Christ and our mother, guard with your maternal care these chosen ones, so dear to the Heart of your Son.

Intercede for our priests, that offering the Sacrifice of your Son, they may be conformed more each day to the image of your Son, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Saint John Vianney, universal patron of priests, pray for us and our priests

This icon shows Jesus Christ, our eternal high priest.

The gold pelican over His heart represents self-sacrifice.

The border contains an altar and grapevines, representing the Mass, and icons of Melchizedek and St. Jean-Baptiste Vianney.

Melchizedek: king of righteousness (left icon) was priest and king of Jerusalem.  He blessed Abraham and has been considered an ideal priest-king.

St. Jean-Baptiste Vianney is the patron saint of parish priests.


14 posted on 02/12/2013 9:44:13 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Salvation
Except on Sundays, the Sorrowful Mysteries are said during Lent.

Pray a Rosary each day for our nation.

Pray the Rosary

1.  Sign of the Cross:  In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

2.  The Apostles Creed:  II BELIEVE in God, the Father almighty, Creator of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into hell; on the third day he rose again from the dead; he ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of God, the Father Almighty; from there He shall come to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.

3.  The Lord's Prayer:  OUR Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.

4. (3) Hail Mary:  HAIL Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and in the hour of our death. Amen. (Three times)

5. Glory Be:  GLORY be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

Fatima Prayer: Oh, my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, lead all souls to heaven, especially those in most need of your mercy.

Announce each mystery, then say 1 Our Father, 10 Hail Marys, 1 Glory Be and 1 Fatima prayer.  Repeat the process with each mystery.

End with the Hail Holy Queen:

Hail, Holy Queen, Mother of Mercy, our life, our sweetness and our hope! To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve! To thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this vale of tears! Turn then, most gracious advocate, thine eyes of mercy towards us; and after this, our exile, show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus!

O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary! Pray for us, O holy Mother of God, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Final step -- The Sign of the Cross

 

The Mysteries of the Rosary

By tradition, Catholics meditate on these Mysteries during prayers of the Rosary.
The biblical references follow each of the Mysteries below.


The Sorrowful Mysteries
(Tuesdays and Fridays)
1. The Agony in the Garden (Matthew 26:36-46, Luke 22:39-46) [Spiritual fruit - God's will be done]
2. The Scourging at the Pillar (Matthew 27:26, Mark 15:15, John 19:1) [Spiritual fruit - Mortification of the senses]
3. The Crowning with Thorns (Matthew 27:27-30, Mark 15:16-20, John 19:2) [Spiritual fruit - Reign of Christ in our heart]
4. The Carrying of the Cross (Matthew 27:31-32, Mark 15:21, Luke 23:26-32, John 19:17) [Spiritual fruit - Patient bearing of trials]
5. The Crucifixion (Matthew 27:33-56, Mark 15:22-39, Luke 23:33-49, John 19:17-37) [Spiritual fruit - Pardoning of Injuries]

15 posted on 02/12/2013 9:45:16 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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~ PRAYER ~

St. Michael, the Archangel, defend us in battle
 Be our protection against the wickedness
and snares of the devil;
May God rebuke him, we  humbly pray,
 and do thou, O Prince of the heavenly host,
 by the power of God,
 Cast into hell Satan and all the evil spirits
who prowl through the world seeking the ruin of souls.
 Amen
+

16 posted on 02/12/2013 9:46:18 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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A Prayer for our Free Nation Under God
God Save Our Country web site (prayer warriors)
Prayer Chain Request for the United States of America
Pray for Nancy Pelosi
Prayer and fasting will help defeat health care reform (Freeper Prayer Thread)
Prayer Campaign Started to Convert Pro-Abortion Catholic Politicians to Pro-Life
[Catholic Caucus] One Million Rosaries
Non-stop Rosary vigil to defeat ObamaCare

From an Obama bumper sticker on a car:

"Pray for Obama.  Psalm 109:8"

   

PLEASE JOIN US -

Evening Prayer
Someone has said that if people really understood the full extent of the power we have available through prayer, we might be speechless.
Did you know that during WWII there was an advisor to Churchill who organized a group of people who dropped what they were doing every day at a prescribed hour for one minute to collectively pray for the safety of England, its people and peace?  


There is now a group of people organizing the same thing here in America. If you would like to participate: Every evening at 9:00 PM Eastern Time (8:00 PM Central) (7:00 PM Mountain) (6:00 PM Pacific), stop whatever you are doing and spend one minute praying for the safety of the United States, our troops, our citizens, and for a return to a Godly nation. If you know anyone else who would like to participate, please pass this along. Our prayers are the most powerful asset we have.    Please forward this to your praying friends.


17 posted on 02/12/2013 9:47:18 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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February Devotion: The Holy Family

Since the 16th century Catholic piety has assigned entire months to special devotions. The month of February has been primarily asociated with the Holy Family, probably due to the feast of Our Lord's presentation at the temple, celebrated on February 2. At the very outset of Christ's work on earth, God showed the world a family in which, as Pope Leo XIII teaches, "all men might behold a perfect model of domestic life, and of all virtue and holiness." The harmony, unity, and holiness which characterized this holy Family make it the model for all Christian families.

INVOCATION
Jesus, Mary, and Joseph most kind, Bless us now and in death's agony.

FOR THE PROTECTION OF THE HOLY FAMILY
Grant unto us, Lord Jesus, ever to follow the example of Thy holy Family, that in the hour of our death Thy glorious Virgin Mother together with blessed Joseph may come to meet us and we may be worthily received by Thee into everlasting dwellings: who livest and reignest world without end. Amen.
Roman Missal

CONSECRATION TO THE HOLY FAMILY
O Jesus, our most loving Redeemer, who having come to enlighten the world with Thy teaching and example, didst will to pass the greater part of Thy life in humility and subjection to Mary and Joseph in the poor home of Nazareth, thus sanctifying the Family that was to be an example for all Christian families, graciously receive our family as it dedicates and consecrates itself to Thee this day. Do Thou defend us, guard us and establish amongst us Thy holy fear, true peace, and concord in Christian love: in order that, by conforming ourselves to the divine pattern of Thy family, we may be able, all of us without exception, to attain to eternal happiness.

Mary, dear Mother of Jesus and Mother of us, by thy kindly intercession make this our humble offering acceptable in the sight of Jesus, and obtain for us His graces and blessings.

O Saint Joseph, most holy guardian of Jesus and Mary, assist us by thy prayers in all our spiritual and temporal necessities; that so we may be enabled to praise our divine Savior Jesus, together with Mary and thee, for all eternity.

Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory be, three times.

IN HONOR OF THE HOLY FAMILY
O God, heavenly Father, it was part of Thine eternal decree that Thine only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ, the Savior of the human race, should form a holy family with Mary, His blessed mother, and His foster father, Saint Joseph. In Nazareth home life was sanctified, and a perfect example was given to every Christian family. Grant, we beseech Thee, that we may fully comprehend and faithfully imitate the virtues of the Holy Family so that we may be united with them one day in their heavenly glory. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.

Prayer Source: Prayer Book, The by Reverend John P. O'Connell, M.A., S.T.D. and Jex Martin, M.A., The Catholic Press, Inc., Chicago, Illinois, 1954

Holy Family Chaplet

Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, I give you my heart.
Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, be with me in my last hour.
Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, may I breathe forth my soul
in peace with you.

Blessed be Jesus Christ, true God and true man.
Blessed be the great Mother of God, Mary most holy.
Blessed be St. Joseph, her most chaste spouse. Amen.

Say 3 Our Father's, 3 Hail Mary's, and 3 Glory be's.

The Holy Family Icon by Nicholas Markell

PRAYER TO
THE HOLY FAMILY
=====================================================================================

GOD our Heavenly Father, You call all peoples to be united as one family in worshipping You as the one and true God. You willed that Your Son become man, giving Him a virgin mother and a foster father to form the Holy Family of Nazareth.

WE pray: may the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, image and model of every human family unit walk in the spirit of Nazareth and grow in the understanding of its particular mission in society and the Church. May our families be living cells of love, faithfulness and unity, thus reflecting God's covenant with humanity and Christ's redeeming love for His Church.

JESUS, Mary and Joseph protect our families from all evil; keep us, who are away from home, one in love with our dear ones.

The Holy Family


 
"The Holy Family with the infant St. John the Baptist ( the Doni tondo )" by Michelangelo c.1506, Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence
Parent's Prayer

Jesus, Son of God, Son of Man, and Son of Mary, I thank you for the gift of life you have entrusted to my care. Help me be a parent both tender and wise, both loving and forgiving.

Mary, Holy Mother of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and our Motherly Queen of Heaven, nourish our family with your heavenly grace. Help us to remain faithful to The Most Holy Trinity, in all our sorrows and joys.

Joseph, Earthly father to our Lord God, guardian and spouse of Mary, keep our family safe from harm. Help us in all times of discouragement or anxiety.

Holy Family of Nazareth, help our family to walk in your footsteps. May we be peace-loving and peace-giving.
Amen.
 

Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph
Recovering God’s Plan for Marriage and Family: A Sermon on the Feast of the Holy Family

“Why were you looking for me?" (On the Feast of The Holy Family)
U.S. Postal Service Issues Holy Family Forever Stamp
On Prayer in the Life of the Holy Family
The Holy Family - held together by Love through all their problems [Ecumenical]
Feast of the Holy Family: The Christian Family is a Domestic Church
Chesterton on "The Human Family and the Holy Family"
Joseph, Mary and Jesus: A Model Family
ADVICE TO PARENTS by Saint Alphonsus Liguori (1696-1787)
The Holy Family
St. Joseph as Head of the Holy Family (Catholic/Orthodox Caucus)

Feast of the Holy Family
Feast of the Holy Family (Dom Guéranger OSB)
The Feast of the Holy Family
The Holy Family vs. The Holy Innocents: A Christmas season reflection [Catholic Caucus]
Vatican creche to place Holy Family in Joseph's carpentry workshop
The Redemption and Protection of the Family [Feast of the Holy Family]
Study Backs Tradition of Loreto House - Stones in Altar Match Those in Nazareth, It Says
Unraveling Jesus' mystery years in Egypt
Gaudi’s Church of the Holy Family to be ready for worship in 2008
Imitating the Holy Family; Four Traits that Make It Possible
Lots of Graphics: Post your favorite image of the St. Mary and Child, the Holy Family...


18 posted on 02/12/2013 9:49:05 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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February 2013
Pope's Intentions
 
Migrant Families: That migrant families, especially the mothers, may be supported and accompanied in their difficulties.
 
Peace: That the peoples at war and in conflict may lead the way in building a peaceful future.

19 posted on 02/12/2013 9:50:58 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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Wednesday, February 13, 2013
Ash Wednesday
First Reading:
Psalm:
Second Reading:
Gospel:
Joel 2:12-18
Psalm 51:3-6, 12-14, 17
2 Corinthians 5:20 -- 6:2
Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18

This synthesis of faith was not made to accord with human opinions, but rather what was of the greatest importance was gathered from all the Scriptures, to present the one teaching of the faith in its entirety. And just as the mustard seed contains a great number of branches in a tiny grain, so too this summary of faith encompassed in a few words the whole knowledge of the true religion contained in the Old and the New Testaments.

-- St. Cyril of Jerusalem


20 posted on 02/12/2013 9:54:40 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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Just A Minute Just A Minute (Listen)
Some of EWTN's most popular hosts and guests in a collection of one minute inspirational messages. A different message each time you click.

21 posted on 02/12/2013 9:56:07 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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The Angelus 

The Angel of the Lord declared to Mary: 
And she conceived of the Holy Spirit. 

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen. 

Behold the handmaid of the Lord: Be it done unto me according to Thy word. 

Hail Mary . . . 

And the Word was made Flesh: And dwelt among us. 

Hail Mary . . . 


Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ. 

Let us pray: 

Pour forth, we beseech Thee, O Lord, Thy grace into our hearts; that we, to whom the incarnation of Christ, Thy Son, was made known by the message of an angel, may by His Passion and Cross be brought to the glory of His Resurrection, through the same Christ Our Lord.

Amen. 


22 posted on 02/12/2013 9:58:28 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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Ash Wednesday

Ash Wednesday

[Illustration - Book of Gospels © Midwest Theological Forum - see links page]

Benedict XVI, General Audience, Paul VI Audience Hall, Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Ash Wednesday

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Today, Ash Wednesday, we are beginning the Lenten Journey, a journey that takes 40 days and brings us to the joy of the Lord's Pasch. On this spiritual journey we are not alone because the Church accompanies and supports us from the outset with the word of God, which contains a programme of spiritual life and penitential commitment, and with the grace of the sacraments.

The Apostle Paul's words give us a precise order "We entreat you not to accept the grace of God in vain.... Behold, now is the acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation" (2 Cor 6: 1-2).

Indeed in the Christian vision of life every moment must be favourable and every day must be a day of salvation but the Church's Liturgy speaks of this in a very special way in the Season of Lent. And we can understand that the 40 days in preparation for Easter are a favourable time and a time of grace precisely from the appeal that the austere rite of the imposition of ashes addresses to us and which is expressed in the Liturgy in two formulas: "Turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospel"; "Remember, man, you are dust and to dust you will return".

The first appeal is for conversion, a word to be understood with its extraordinary gravity, grasping the surprising newness it releases. The appeal to conversion, in fact, lays bare and denounces the facile superficiality that all too often marks our lives. To repent [or convert] is to change direction in the journey of life: not, however, by means of a small adjustment, but with a true and proper about turn. Conversion means swimming against the tide, where the "tide" is the superficial lifestyle, inconsistent and deceptive, that often sweeps us long, overwhelms us and makes us slaves to evil or at any rate prisoners of moral mediocrity. With conversion, on the other hand, we are aiming for the high standard of Christian living, we entrust ourselves to the living and personal Gospel which is Jesus Christ. He is our final goal and the profound meaning of conversion, he is the path on which all are called to walk through life, letting themselves be illumined by his light and sustained by his power which moves our steps. In this way conversion expresses his most splendid and fascinating Face: it is not a mere moral decision that rectifies our conduct in life, but rather a choice of faith that wholly involves us in close communion with Jesus as a real and living Person. To repent and believe in the Gospel are not two different things or in some way only juxtaposed, but express the same reality. Repentance is the total "yes" of those who consign their whole life to the Gospel responding freely to Christ who first offers himself to humankind as the Way, the Truth and the Life, as the only One who sets us free and saves us. This is the precise meaning of the first words with which, according to the Evangelist Mark, Jesus begins preaching the "Gospel of God": "The time is fulfilled, and the Kingdom of God is at hand; repent, and believe in the Gospel" (Mk 1: 15).

The "Repent, and believe in the Gospel" is not only at the beginning of Christian life but accompanies it throughout, endures, is renewed and spreads, branching out into all its expressions. Every day is a favourable moment of grace because every day presses us to give ourselves to Jesus, to trust in him, to abide in him, to share his lifestyle, to learn true love from him, to follow him in the daily fulfilment of the Father's will, the one great law of life. Every day, even when it is fraught with difficulties and toil, weariness and setbacks, even when we are tempted to leave the path of the following of Christ and withdraw into ourselves, into our selfishness, without realizing our need to open ourselves to the love of God in Christ, to live the same logic of justice and love. In my recent Message for Lent I wanted to recall that "humility is required to accept that I need Another to free me from "what is mine', to give me gratuitously "what is His'. This happens especially in the sacraments of Reconciliation and the Eucharist. Thanks to Christ's action, we may enter into the "greatest' justice, which is that of love (cf. Rom 13: 8-10), the justice that recognizes itself in every case more a debtor than a creditor, because it has received more than could ever have been expected" (Message, 30 October 2009).

The favourable moment of grace in Lent also reveals its spiritual significance to us in the ancient formula: "Remember, man, you are dust and to dust you will return" which the priest says as he places a little ash on our foreheads. Thus we are referred back to the dawn of human history when the Lord told Adam, after the original sin: "In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; you are dust, and to dust you shall return" (Gen 3: 19). Here, the word of God reminds us of our frailty, indeed of our death, which is the extreme form. Before the innate fear of the end and even sooner in the context of a culture which in so many ways tends to censure the reality and the human experience of death, the Lenten Liturgy, on the one hand, reminds us of death, inviting us to realism and wisdom; but, on the other, it impels us above all to understand and live the unexpected newness that the Christian faith releases from the reality of death itself.

Man is dust and to dust he shall return, but dust is precious in God's eyes because God created man, destining him to immortality. Hence the Liturgical formula, "Remember, man, you are dust and to dust you will return", finds the fullness of its meaning in reference to the new Adam, Christ. The Lord Jesus also chose freely to share with every human being the destiny of weakness, in particular through his death on the Cross; but this very death, the culmination of his love for the Father and for humanity, was the way to the glorious Resurrection, through which Christ became a source of grace, given to all who believe in him, who are made to share in divine life itself. This life that will have no end has already begun in the earthly phase of our existence but it will be brought to completion after "the resurrection of the flesh". The little action of the imposition of ashes reveals to us the unique riches of its meaning. It is an invitation to spend the Lenten Season as a more conscious and intense immersion in Christ's Paschal Mystery in his death and Resurrection, through participation in the Eucharist and in the life of charity, which is born from the Eucharist in which it also finds its fulfilment. With the imposition of ashes we renew our commitment to following Jesus, to letting ourselves be transformed by his Paschal Mystery, to overcoming evil and to doing good, in order to make our former self, linked to sin die and to give birth to our "new nature", transformed by God's grace.

Dear friends, while we prepare to set out on the austere Lenten journey, let us invoke with special trust the protection and help of the Virgin Mary. May it be her, the first believer in Christ, to accompany us in these 40 days of intense prayer and sincere penitence so that we may arrive purified and completely renewed in mind and in spirit at the great Mystery of the Pasch of his Son.

I wish you all a good Lent!

© Copyright 2010 - Libreria Editrice Vaticana

C O N T E N T S

Collects and Readings for Ash Wednesday

About Ash Wednesday and the Lenten Fast

Fasting and Penance Today

Suggestions for Families
-
Special Prayers and Devotions for Families
-
For Study and Reflection - Mind, Heart, Soul

Also see Lent I - Pre-Lent and Lent II (includes updated suggestions)


Ash Wednesday - Collects and Readings
Collect:
Grant, O Lord, that we may begin with holy fasting
this campaign of Christian service,
so that, as we take up battle against spiritual evils,
we may be armed with weapons of self-restraint.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. +Amen.

First Reading: Joel 2:12-18
"Yet even now", says the Lord, "return to Me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; and rend your hearts and not your garments". Return to the Lord, your God, for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love, and repents of evil. Who knows whether He will not turn and repent, and leave a blessing behind Him, a cereal offering and a drink offering for the Lord, your God?

Blow the trumpet in Zion; sanctify a fast; call a solemn assembly; gather the people. Sanctify the congregation; assemble the elders; gather the children, even nursing infants. Let the bridegroom leave his room, and the bride her chamber.

Between the vestibule and the altar let the priests, the ministers of the Lord weep and say, "Spare thy people, O Lord, and make not thy heritage a reproach, a byword among the nations. Why should they say among the peoples, 'Where is their God?"

Then the Lord became jealous for His land, and had pity on His people. The Lord answered and said to His people, "Behold, I am sending to you grain, wine, and oil, and you will be satisfied; and I will no more make you a reproach among the nations.

Second Reading: II Corinthians 5:20 - 6:2
So we are ambassadors for Christ, God making His appeal through us. We beseech you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake He made Him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.

Working together with Him, then, we entreat you not to accept the grace of God in vain. For He says, "At the acceptable time I have listened to you, and helped you on the day of salvation." Behold, now is the acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation

Gospel: Matthew 6:1-6;16-18
"Beware of practicing your piety before men in order to be seen by them; for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.

"Thus, when you give alms, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by men. Truly, I say to you, they have their reward. But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your alms may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

"And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by men. Truly, I say to you, they have their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

"And when you fast, do not look dismal, like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by men. Truly, I say to you, they have their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, that your fasting may not be seen by men but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you".

Ash Wednesday and the Lenten Fast
with suggestions for family observance of the season

(From Family Sourcebook for Lent and Easter)

"The main current of Lent must flow through the interior man, through hearts and consciences. The essential effort of repentance consists in this. In this effort the human determination to be converted to God is invested with the predisposing grace of conversion and, at the same time, of forgiveness and of spiritual liberation".

This reflection by Pope John Paul II in Lent of 1979, recorded in a collection of his meditations, The Light of Christ, indicates the attitude with which we should approach our observance of this penitential season -- a season that begins with a sign of repentance so ancient as to be almost lost in antiquity, and continues with penitential action equally ageless.

Putting ashes on our heads as a form of penitence is a practice inherited from Jewish tradition. In Old Testament times, fast days expressed sorrow for sins and the desire to make atonement to the Father. Ashes, for Jews and Christians alike, are a sign of repentance, sorrow, and mourning. The King of Nineveh believed the prophecy of Jonah and fasted forty days wearing sackcloth and sitting in ashes to save the city, and ordered the people to do so, too [Jonah 3:4-10]. Jeremiah calls Israel to "wallow in ashes" of repentance [Jeremiah 6:26]. Abraham speaks of being unworthy to speak with God because he is "but dust and ashes" [Gen 2:7] -- being man, he is created from dust. Jesus also refers to this symbol in Matthew 11:21, "Alas for you, Chorazin! Alas for you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes."

The ashes imposed on our foreheads on Ash Wednesday are a reminder of our unworthiness and sinfulness ­ sinfulness that corrupts and stains us and leads to death (we return to the dust from whence we came.) Ashes remind us of our original sin and our need of redemption ­ our need to be cleansed of sin and made worthy of Salvation. This is why the priest says, as he imposes ashes on our foreheads, "Remember, man, that you are dust and to dust you will return" [Genesis 3:19] or Turn away from sin and be faithful to the gospel. [Mark 1:15]

We cannot appreciate God's infinite mercy if we do not realize we need mercy. We cannot understand salvation apart from our recognition of our need to be saved, rescued, from something ­ namely our sin, which otherwise separates us forever from God. Ashes remind us of this need. When we wear the ashes on our heads, we also acknowledge the sacrifice of Christ, who forever substituted His own death for the "burnt offerings" made by Old Testament priests to atone for the sins of the people.

On Jewish fast days, or days of atonement, the penitent customarily wore sackcloth (burlap), placed ashes on his head, and went barefoot. These traditions associated with penance continued to be observed by the early Christians, although Jesus warned against ostentatious public displays of penance [see Matthew 6:16-18]. In the New Testament, fasting had similar significance, but fast times were also a time of intensified prayer and willingness to abide by the will of Christ and the Father who sent Him.

We also fast because of 1) our sorrow at the loss of the Lord: "The days will come when the bridegroom shall be taken away, and then shall they fast" [Luke 5:33-35]; 2) our intention of giving our Christian life more depth and more seriousness of purpose. Pope Leo the Great says in his forty-second sermon: "While men are distracted by the many cares of life, their religious hearts are necessarily defiled by the dust of the world"; and 3) the need to prepare ourselves spiritually for the celebration of Easter: for the renewal of our baptismal vows, and for Easter Communion.

According the Didache, a second-century document that is an important record of early Christian beliefs and practices, Christians were to fast on Wednesdays and Fridays throughout the year. Emphasis on seasonal fasting became more pronounced in the second and third centuries when a more strict fast was observed from Good Friday until Easter. Eventually this shorter fast developed into the forty-day fast.

In 1099, Pope Urban II called the first day of Lent Feria quarta cinerum or Ash Wednesday. During the early centuries of the Church only persons who had committed grave sins received ashes and were asked to do public penance which usually lasted until Holy Thursday when they were reconciled to the Church through confession and the reception of Holy Communion. The custom, as early as the fourth century, was to "quarantine" (from the word for "forty") or separate the penitents from the rest of the community during the forty days of Lent. Ashes were a sign of this separation. The penitential quarantine applied to poor and rich alike.

Fasting and Penance Today

In the same 1979 Lenten message quoted above, Pope John Paul II said,

"Penance is not just an effort, a weight, but it is also a joy. Sometimes it is a great joy of the human spirit, a delight that other sources cannot bring forth. Contemporary man seems to have lost, to some extent, the flavor of this joy. He has also lost the deep sense of that spiritual effort which makes it possible to find oneself again in the whole truth of one's interior being. Our civilization ­ especially in the West ­ closely connected as it is with the development of science and technology, catches a glimpse of the need for intellectual and physical effort. But he has lost the sense of the effort of the spirit, the fruit of which is man seen in his inner self. The whole period of Lent ­ since it is a preparation for Easter ­ is a systematic call to this joy that comes from the effort of patiently finding oneself again. Let no one be afraid to undertake this effort."

The Code of Canon Law states that Fridays throughout the year and in the time of Lent are penitential days for the entire Church. Although fasting usually refers to any practice of restricting food, there is a distinction, in the Church, between fast (limiting food to one full meal a day, with two smaller meals allowed) and abstinence (abstaining from eating meat.) Abstinence from meat on Fridays as the universal form of penance on all Fridays is no longer mandatory. We may choose another way of observing the Church's requirement for acts of penance on Fridays, but we are not to neglect it, either.

Since the change in the abstinence rules, some people have become confused about the requirement to observe penitential days. As a result, the discipline of fasting (or abstaining from meat) or any form of regular penance has all but disappeared. Confession, or the Sacrament of Penance (or Reconciliation) has sharply declined, as well.

Both fast and abstinence are required on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. For the record, rules of the Church in the United States about fasting and abstinence in effect since 1966 state that:

"Catholics in the United States are obliged to abstain from the eating of meat on Ash Wednesday and on all Fridays during the season of Lent. They are also obliged to fast on Ash Wednesday and on Good Friday. Self-imposed observance of fasting on all weekdays of Lent is strongly recommended. Abstinence from flesh meat on all Fridays of the year [excluding solemnities like Christmas which may fall on Friday] is especially recommended to individuals and to the Catholic community as a whole." (ref. Canons 1249-1253, Code of Canon Law)
(See also Fast and Abstinence page for more information on the practice.)

Fasting and abstinence, which foster self-discipline and self-denial and other beneficial spiritual exercises, are strongly encouraged as voluntary practices at any time of the year. But it will be the responsibility of families, as the "domestic Church", to foster this spiritually energizing practice, not only during the required Lenten days, but at other times as well. To fast willingly, in reparation for our own sins and for others, can transform not only our own lives, but the life and vitality of the larger community.

As Pope Leo I stressed in the 5th century, the purpose of fasting is to foster pure, holy, and spiritual activity. It is an act of solidarity that joins us to Christ ­ an act of self-donation in imitation of His total self-sacrifice. Fasting can heighten our understanding of Christ's Mystical Body, the Church, and of our total dependence on His love and mercy.

Farewell to Alleluia and Gloria
During the penitential seasons of the Church, the Gloria and the Alleluia are not said or sung. The Gloria is sung only at the Mass on Holy Thursday, usually with great ceremony, organ and sometimes trumpets, and often with the ringing of bells. After the singing of the Gloria, musical instruments are to be silent until the Alleluia at the Easter Vigil. (Catholic families might imitate this solemn silence by not playing instrumental music in their homes at this time.)

In the Middle Ages and throughout the 16th century, the "burying" of the Alleluia was a solemn ritual on Septuagesima Sunday. A procession of children carrying a wooden plaque bearing the word "Alleluia" laid it at the feet of the statue of the Blessed Virgin, covering it with a purple cloth. It remained there until Easter at the Gospel procession, when the plaque was carried as the priest intoned the three Alleluias before the Easter Gospel. In Paris, a straw figure inscribed with the word was carried out of the choir at the end of the service and burned in the church yard.

Although the practice of literally removing the Alleluia from the Church may have disappeared, even today in some parish celebrations of the Easter Vigil an Alleluia card is carried in procession and placed in front of the altar during the singing of the first Alleluias before the Gospel for Easter.

The hymn Alleluia, Song of Gladness and the one that follows date from the early 9th and 10th centuries; both refer to the farewell to the Alleluia in the liturgy.

From the Mozaribic Liturgy of Spain
Stay with us today, Alleluia,
When the morning rises,
thou shalt go thy way.
Alleluia, alleluia.

May the Lord be thy custodian, Alleluia.
And the angel of God accompany thee.
May the Lord keep thee alive
And protect thee from every evil.
Alleluia, alleluia.

The mountains and hills shall rejoice, Alleluia,
While they await thy glory.
Thou goest, Alleluia; may the way be blessed,
Until thou shalt return with joy.
Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.

Suggestions for Families

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.

Fasting
The value of self-denial must be learned early in a person's life. Lent provides an excellent opportunity to teach our children the necessity of self-denial in our permissive society.

The whole family will observe the Lenten fast according to the Church. Fasting means restricting the food we eat, and also the size and number of meals. Abstinence means abstaining from eating meat.

Catholics abstain from meat on Ash Wednesday as well as on all Fridays during Lent. The strict fast for Ash Wednesday and Good Friday means that we will eat only one main meal on that day, with the other two being very light (and no snacking).

A spirit of fasting can include restriction of luxuries such as television watching, shopping and going out with friends. The entire family could choose main "give-ups" that all will observe (for example, desserts, television, or a favorite show). Each child can select additional things to "fast" from during Lent ­ maybe a video, or candy. (No fair giving up homework or not hitting your sister!)

We can give away clothing or possessions to those in need or we can give time to the Lord by volunteering our services. It would be good to involve children in this special kind of giving.

There are special foods for Lent. Hot cross buns are traditinally eaten on Good Friday, for example. (An interesting recipe book is A Continual Feast, by Evelyn Birge Vitz, published by Ignatius Press.)

A food that symbolizes prayer and fasting is the pretzel (from the Latin word, bracellæ, "arms".) It is a traditional Lenten bread of very ancient origin. Early Christians made the bread from flour, salt and water only, shaping it to represent the folded arms in prayer, just as they are made to this day. The German tribes who invaded Rome called the bracellæ "brezel'" or "prezel". Pretzels are traditionally eaten throughout Lent, and in some places are especially associated with Saint Joseph's Day [March 19] which usually falls within Lent. A recipe for soft pretzels follows:

 

Pretzels
The pretzel represents the shape of the penitent's crossed arms, and was a traditional Lenten food in central European towns.This recipe is for a chewy soft pretzel, like those hot pretzel vendors sell.

Combine in a mixing bowl:
1 cup warm water
1 package (1 1/2 T) active dry yeast
1 tsp sugar

Add and beat at least 3 minutes:
1 1/2 cups sifted all purpose flour
2 Tbsp soft butter
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp sugar

Stir in 1 1/4 cups sifted all purpose flour and knead until the dough loses its stickiness.

Let the dough rise in a covered greased bowl until it is doubled in bulk (this is called "proofing" the dough). Punch down and divide it into 12 pieces. Roll each piece into a long rope and form it into a pretzel shape. Place the pretzels on a greased baking sheet and let them rise until almost doubled in bulk. Preheat oven to 475°F.

In a large non aluminum kettle, prepare a boiling solution of
4 cups water
5 tsp baking soda

With a slotted spoon, carefully lower the pretzels into the water and boil about 1 minute or until they float to the top. Return them to the greased sheet. Sprinkle them with coarse salt. (Sea salt or Kosher salt.) Bake the pretzels until they are nicely browned, about 10-12 minutes. Pretzels are best when eaten while still warm, but they may be stored in an air tight container for up to a week, or frozen. (Makes twelve 6-inch pretzels)

Special prayers and devotions

Lent is an appropriate time to begin to establish some family prayer traditions -- beginning with our attending Church on Ash Wednesday, to receive the cross of ashes on our foreheads.

The family can say the following prayer for Ash Wednesday:
Heavenly Father, Let us enter the season of Lent in the spirit of joy giving ourselves to spiritual strife, cleansing our soul and body, controlling our passions, as we limit our food, living on the virtues of the Holy Spirit;

Let us persevere in our longing for Christ so as to be worthy to behold His most solemn Passion and the most holy Passover, rejoicing the while with spiritual joy. Amen

Whenever possible we can go to daily Mass during Lent, and pray more often -- alone or with family members.

Make a point of taking school-age (and older) children to Eucharistic Adoration. (If your parish does not have Eucharist Adoration, consider asking your pastor about the possiblity of starting it -- and volunteer to help organize it.)

The Alleluia is not recited or sung during Lent. On Ash Wednesday, children could make an Alleluia card or banner to be "buried" during Lent and displayed prominently during the Easter season. This could be made of gold paper and decorated with ribbons or flowers, as elaborately as they like. The Alleluia would reappear on Easter morning with their Easter baskets.

Initiate a practice of saying the Angelus at family meals. You can print copies of the Angelus from this web site, or order enough "holy cards" copies from WFF for your whole family (with our compliments -- just tell us how many you need. Call 314-863-8385 or e-mail us.)

An ancient prayer that reminds us of the multifaceted nature of penance is the following, said by the Eastern Church during the Lenten fast. Your family might say this together after the evening meal, or before bedtime:

O Lord and Ruler of Life,
take from me the spirit of idleness, despair, cupidity, and empty talking.
Yea, O Lord grant that I may see my own sins and not judge my brother.
For thou art blessed forever and ever. Amen.

[Note: If you use this prayer with children, you might have to explain that "cupidity" is greed for wealth or power, not some little winged being from a Valentine!]

Read passages in Scripture that help to explain the meaning of fasting and of penance in our lives. Here are two suggested readings:

Joel 2:12-14a
Therefore, saith the Lord, turn ye to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping and with mourning: And rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the Lord your God: for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth Him of the evil. Who knoweth if He will return and repent, and leave a blessing behind Him.

Matthew 6:16-21
When you fast, be not as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance. For they disfigure their faces that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, they have received their reward. But thou, when thou fasteth, anoint thine head and wash thy face; that thou appear not unto men to fast, but to thy Father, in secret; and thy Father who seeth in secret, will reward thee openly. Lay not up to yourselves treasures on earth: where the moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal. But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven: where neither the moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

For study and reflection
"For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also."

Lent is a particularly appropriate time for families (as well as individuals!) to develop a Lenten reading program (reading can replace some of the television shows we've given up for Lent.) Also, reading aloud from the Bible, the Catechism of the Catholic Church or from a Catholic classic every evening for half an hour can be a way of fostering family conversation about the Catholic faith. This can bear so much good fruit that it is worth the effort to organize it. (We suggest picking one evening a week for this -- say Wednesdays.)

Maria von Trapp suggests that "every year we should divide our reading into three parts: something for the mind, something for the heart, something for the soul" [p. 104]. (We cannot regard mind, heart and soul as really separate, of course.)

The Holy Scripture fills all these categories. For example, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and the Book of Wisdom and the Old Testament books of Law and History might be "for the mind"; Psalms, Job, and Song of Songs, "for the heart"; and Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel other Old Testament prophets and the entire New Testament "for the soul". Following are a few other suggestions for each category, and other suggestions are in the bibliography section at the end of the Family Sourcebook for Lent and Easter:

Something for the mind

- Spend time with the Catechism of the Catholic Church (link on Vatican web site). It would be a very good thing if every family member who has been confirmed hadtheir own personal copy. But sections can be printed out for study.

- Read a Catholic classic such as G. K. Chesterton's Orthodoxy, Francois Mauriac's Holy Thursday, Pascal's Pensees, Hans Urs von Balthasar's Prayer, Henri de Lubac's Motherhood of the Church, or a work of Edith Stein, Paul Claudel, Cardinal Newman.

- Study Pope John Paul II's apostolic letter, Familiaris Consortio on the Christian family; or any of his writings, especially Original Unity of Man and Woman, Blessed are the Pure in Heart, or Reflections on Humanæ Vitæ.

Something for the heart

- Learn more about a courageous Christian of the past -- there are many good new biographies, for exampe, Saint Isaac Jogues, Saint Joan of Arc, Maximilian Kolbe, Saint Teresa of Avila, or the patron saints of family members. Many pages on the Liturgical Calendar on this site can be useful for readings of the day, background, and suggestions for family observance.

- Listen to music and study art works that are part of our rich Catholic heritage (see the suggested list of music available on recordings in the bibliography section of Family Sourcebook for Lent and Easter.)

Something for the soul

- Recite the Divine Office (Liturgy of the Hours), or memorize a devotion or classic Catholic prayer, perhaps one of those found in the Prayers and Devotions section of this web site.

- Read works of great spiritual writers of the past such as Saint Ignatius of Loyola, The Confessions of Saint Augustine, Imitation of Christ by Thomas á Kempis, The Way of Perfection, by Saint Teresa of Avila.

- Study contemporary spiritual writings, such as Pope John Paul II's meditation, The Light of Christ, quoted above, Sign of Contradiction, or The Way of Christ.

- Say the Rosary - If possible, together as a family at least once a week. If there are young children, Lent is a good time to begin to teach them to say the "Hail Mary" as part of their bedtime prayers, along with the "Our Father".


23 posted on 02/13/2013 9:05:20 AM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
What Is It About Ash Wednesday?
"When you fast. . .": An Ash Wednesday Post

Questions About Keeping the Ashes on Out in Public
Ash Wednesday in the Public Square (the phenomenon that draws in so many)
Ash Wednesday: It's Not Just For Catholics Anymore
Luxury hotel manager fired after making vulgar Ash Wednesday remarks
New York Palace Hotel boss Niklaus Leuenberger gets the door after Ash Wednesday slur
Homily for February 25, 2009 - Ash Wednesday - We just can’t live without ashes!
Remember, O Man [Ash Wednesday]
Ash Wednesday
The Day After Fat Tuesday [Ash Wednesday, Beginning of Lent]
Ash Wednesday and the Lenten Fast-Family observance Lenten season [Catholic/Orthodox Caucus]

Other Christians embrace Lent: "We are reclaiming a sense of history"
More turn to Ash Wednesday
Being Catholic: Sacred Things, Ashes
Ash Wednesday
Where does Ash Wednesday get its ashes?
Every Ash Wednesday comes the question about ashes: to burn or to buy?
Pope will preside at Ash Wednesday Mass, procession; act will renew ancient tradition
Ash Wednesday: Preparing For Easter
Ash Wednesday: Our Shifting Understanding of Lent
Ash Wednesday

24 posted on 02/13/2013 9:09:08 AM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All



Information: St. Catherine de Ricci

Feast Day: February 13
Born:

23 April 1522 at Florence, Italy

Died: 2 February 1590 at Prato, Italy
Canonized: 29 June 1746 by Pope Benedict XIV



25 posted on 02/13/2013 9:12:23 AM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
Interactive Saints for Kids

St. Catherine of Ricci

 
Feast Day: February 13
Born:1522 :: Died:1590

Alexandrina was born into the Ricci family of Florence, Italy. Here mother died when she was a baby. Although she was raised by her Godmother she loved Our Lady and considered her as her true mother.

As a child she could talk with her guardian Angel and her Angel taught her how to pray the Rosary. When she was six she entered the convent school of Montecelli where her aunt was the Abbess.

Then when she was thirteen, Alexandrina joined the Dominican order as a nun and she chose the name Catherine.

Even at that young age, Sister Catherine had a deep love for the passion of Jesus Christ. She used to think about Our Lord's sufferings often. Jesus gave her the great honor of receiving in her own body the marks of his wounds.

For twelve years every week from Thursday afternoon until Friday afternoon she would suffer the five wounds of Jesus. She was happy to accept all the pains of these wounds.

Catherine also felt very sorry for the poor souls suffering in purgatory. She realized how they longed to be with God in heaven. She realized, too, that this time in purgatory seemed to drag on endlessly.

St. Catherine prayed and did penance for them. Once God let her know that a certain man was in purgatory. So great was her love that she offered to suffer for him. God listened to her prayer and she suffered greatly for forty days.

Thousands of people came to see her and ask for her prayers including three future popes. After a long, painful illness, St. Catherine died on February 2, 1590, at the age of sixty-eight.

26 posted on 02/13/2013 9:16:23 AM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Salvation

Blessed Ash Wednesday, dear Salvation.


27 posted on 02/13/2013 10:19:48 AM PST by onyx (FREE REPUBLIC IS HERE TO STAY! DONATE MONTHLY! IF YOU WANT ON SARAH PALIN''S PING LIST, LET ME KNOW)
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To: onyx

Blessings to you, too, dear one.


28 posted on 02/13/2013 6:09:36 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
Daily Gospel Commentary

Ash Wednesday
Commentary of the day
Pope Benedict XVI
General Audience  17/02/2010 (trans. © copyright Libreria Editrice Vaticana)

"We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God" (2Cor 5,20)

Behold, now is the acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation" (2 Cor 6: 1-2). Indeed in the Christian vision of life every moment must be favorable and every day must be a day of salvation but the Church's Liturgy speaks of this in a very special way in the Season of Lent. This is the appeal that the austere rite of the imposition of ashes addresses to us...: "Turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospel"...

The appeal to conversion lays bare and denounces the facile superficiality that all too often marks our lives. To repent [or convert] is to change direction in the journey of life: not, however, by means of a small adjustment, but with a true and proper about turn. Conversion means swimming against the tide, where the "tide" is the superficial lifestyle, inconsistent and deceptive, that often sweeps us along, overwhelms us and makes us slaves to evil or at any rate prisoners of moral mediocrity.

With conversion, on the other hand, we are aiming for the high standard of Christian living, we entrust ourselves to the living and personal Gospel which is Jesus Christ. He is our final goal and the profound meaning of conversion, he is the path on which all are called to walk through life, letting themselves be illumined by his light and sustained by his power which moves our steps. In this way conversion expresses his most splendid and fascinating Face: it is not a mere moral decision that rectifies our conduct in life, but rather a choice of faith that wholly involves us in close communion with Jesus as a real and living Person... Repentance is the total "yes" of those who consign their whole life to the Gospel responding freely to Christ who first offers himself to humankind as the Way, the Truth and the Life (Jn 14,6), as the only One who sets us free and saves us. This is the precise meaning of the first words with which, according to the Evangelist Mark, Jesus begins preaching the "Gospel of God": "The time is fulfilled, and the Kingdom of God is at hand; repent, and believe in the Gospel" (Mk 1: 15).


29 posted on 02/13/2013 6:19:19 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
 
Catholic
Almanac:

Wednesday, February 13

Liturgical Color: Green


Today the Church honors Blessed Jordon of Saxony. He was a gifted preacher and writer who joined the Order of Preachers under St. Dominic in 1220. An especially powerful sermon of his convinced St. Albert the Great to join the order.


30 posted on 02/13/2013 6:35:55 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Salvation
Matthew
  English: Douay-Rheims Latin: Vulgata Clementina Greek NT: Byzantine/Majority Text (2000)
  Matthew 6
1 TAKE heed that you do not your justice before men, to be seen by them: otherwise you shall not have a reward of your Father who is in heaven. Attendite ne justitiam vestram faciatis coram hominibus, ut videamini ab eis : alioquin mercedem non habebitis apud Patrem vestrum qui in cælis est. προσεχετε την ελεημοσυνην υμων μη ποιειν εμπροσθεν των ανθρωπων προς το θεαθηναι αυτοις ει δε μηγε μισθον ουκ εχετε παρα τω πατρι υμων τω εν τοις ουρανοις
2 Therefore when thou dost an almsdeed, sound not a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be honoured by men. Amen I say to you, they have received their reward. Cum ergo facis eleemosynam, noli tuba canere ante te, sicut hypocritæ faciunt in synagogis, et in vicis, ut honorificentur ab hominibus. Amen dico vobis, receperunt mercedem suam. οταν ουν ποιης ελεημοσυνην μη σαλπισης εμπροσθεν σου ωσπερ οι υποκριται ποιουσιν εν ταις συναγωγαις και εν ταις ρυμαις οπως δοξασθωσιν υπο των ανθρωπων αμην λεγω υμιν απεχουσιν τον μισθον αυτων
3 But when thou dost alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doth. Te autem faciente eleemosynam, nesciat sinistra tua quid faciat dextera tua : σου δε ποιουντος ελεημοσυνην μη γνωτω η αριστερα σου τι ποιει η δεξια σου
4 That thy alms may be in secret, and thy Father who seeth in secret will repay thee. ut sit eleemosyna tua in abscondito, et Pater tuus, qui videt in abscondito, reddet tibi. οπως η σου η ελεημοσυνη εν τω κρυπτω και ο πατηρ σου ο βλεπων εν τω κρυπτω αυτος αποδωσει σοι εν τω φανερω
5 And when ye pray, you shall not be as the hypocrites, that love to stand and pray in the synagogues and corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men: Amen I say to you, they have received their reward. Et cum oratis, non eritis sicut hypocritæ qui amant in synagogis et in angulis platearum stantes orare, ut videantur ab hominibus : amen dico vobis, receperunt mercedem suam. και οταν προσευχη ουκ εση ωσπερ οι υποκριται οτι φιλουσιν εν ταις συναγωγαις και εν ταις γωνιαις των πλατειων εστωτες προσευχεσθαι οπως αν φανωσιν τοις ανθρωποις αμην λεγω υμιν οτι απεχουσιν τον μισθον αυτων
6 But thou when thou shalt pray, enter into thy chamber, and having shut the door, pray to thy Father in secret: and thy Father who seeth in secret will repay thee. Tu autem cum oraveris, intra in cubiculum tuum, et clauso ostio, ora Patrem tuum in abscondito : et Pater tuus, qui videt in abscondito, reddet tibi. συ δε οταν προσευχη εισελθε εις το ταμιειον σου και κλεισας την θυραν σου προσευξαι τω πατρι σου τω εν τω κρυπτω και ο πατηρ σου ο βλεπων εν τω κρυπτω αποδωσει σοι εν τω φανερω
[...]
16 And when you fast, be not as the hypocrites, sad. For they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Amen I say to you, they have received their reward. Cum autem jejunatis, nolite fieri sicut hypocritæ, tristes. Exterminant enim facies suas, ut appareant hominibus jejunantes. Amen dico vobis, quia receperunt mercedem suam. οταν δε νηστευητε μη γινεσθε ωσπερ οι υποκριται σκυθρωποι αφανιζουσιν γαρ τα προσωπα αυτων οπως φανωσιν τοις ανθρωποις νηστευοντες αμην λεγω υμιν οτι απεχουσιν τον μισθον αυτων
17 But thou, when thou fastest anoint thy head, and wash thy face; Tu autem, cum jejunas, unge caput tuum, et faciem tuam lava, συ δε νηστευων αλειψαι σου την κεφαλην και το προσωπον σου νιψαι
18 That thou appear not to men to fast, but to thy Father who is in secret: and thy Father who seeth in secret, will repay thee. ne videaris hominibus jejunans, sed Patri tuo, qui est in abscondito : et Pater tuus, qui videt in abscondito, reddet tibi. οπως μη φανης τοις ανθρωποις νηστευων αλλα τω πατρι σου τω εν τω κρυπτω και ο πατηρ σου ο βλεπων εν τω κρυπτω αποδωσει σοι

31 posted on 02/13/2013 7:20:46 PM PST by annalex (fear them not)
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To: annalex
1. Take heed that you do not your alms before men, to be seen of them; otherwise you have no reward of your Father which is in Heaven.

GLOSS. Christ having now fulfilled the Law in respect of commandments, begins to fulfill it in respect of promises, that we may do God's commandments for heavenly wages, not for the earthly which the Law held out. All earthly things are reduced to two main heads, viz. human glory, and abundance of earthly goods, both of which seem to be promised in the Law. Concerning the first is that spoken in Deuteronomy, The Lord shall make thee higher than all the nations who dwell on the face of the earth (Deut 28:1). And in the same place it is added of earthly wealth, The Lord shall make thee abound in all good things. Therefore the Lord now forbids these two things, glory and wealth, to the attention of believers.

CHRYS.Yet be it known that the desire of fame is near a kin to virtue.

PSEUDO-CHRYS For when anything truly glorious is done, there ostentation has its readiest occasion; so the Lord first shuts out all intention of seeking glory, as He knows that this is of all fleshly vices the most dangerous to man. The servants of the devil are tormented by all kinds of vices; but it is the desire of empty glory that torments the servants of the Lord more than the servants of the devil.

AUG. How great strength the love of human glory has, none feels, but he who has proclaimed war against it. For though it is easy for any not to wish for praise when it is denied him, it is difficult not to be pleased with it when it is offered.

CHRYS. Observe how He has begun as it were describing some beast hard to be discerned, and ready to steal upon him who is not greatly on his guard against it; it enters in secretly, and carries off insensibly all those things that are within.

PSEUDO-CHRYS. And therefore He enjoins this to be more carefully avoided, Take heed that you do not your righteousness before men. It is our heart we must watch, for it is an invisible serpent that we have to guard against, which secretly enters in and seduces; but if the heart be pure into which the enemy has succeeded in entering in, the righteous man soon feels that he is prompted by a strange spirit; but if his heart were full of wickedness, he does not readily perceive the suggestion of the devil, and therefore He first taught us, Be not angry, Lust not, for that he who is under the yoke of these evils cannot attend to his own heart. But how can it be that we should not do our alms before men. Or if this may be, how can they be so done that we should not know of it. For if a poor man come before us in the presence of anyone, how shall we be able to give him alms in secret? If we lead him aside, it must be seen that he shall give him. Observe then that He said not simply, Do not before men, but added, to be seen of them. He then who does righteousness not from this motive, even if he does it before the eyes of men, is not to be thought to be herein condemned; for he who does any thing for God's sake sees nothing in his heart but God, for whose sake he does it, as a workman has always before his eyes him who has entrusted him with the work to do.

GREG. If then we seek the fame of giving, we make even our public deeds to be hidden in His sight; for if herein we seek our own glory, then they are already cast out of His sight, even though there be many by whom they are yet unknown. It belongs only to the thoroughly perfect, to suffer their deeds to be seen, and to receive the praise of doing them in such sort that they are lifted up with no secret exultation; whereas they that are weak, because they cannot attain to this perfect contempt of their own fame, must needs hide those good deeds that they do.

AUG. In saying only, That you be seen of men, without any addition, He seems to have forbidden that we should make that the end of our actions. For the Apostle who declared, If I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ (Gal 1:10); says in another place, I please all men in all things (1 Cor 10:33). This he did not that he might please men, but God, to the love of whom he desires to turn the hearts of men by pleasing them. As we should not think that he spoke absurdly, who should say, In this my pains in seeking a ship, it is not the ship I seek, but my country.

ID.He says this, that you be seen by men, because there are some who so do their righteousness before men that themselves may not be seen, but that the works themselves may be seen, and their Father who is in Heaven may be glorified; for they reckon not their own righteousness, but His, in the faith of Whom they live.

ID.That He adds, Otherwise you shall not have your reward before your Father who is in heaven, signifies no more than that we ought to take heed that we seek not praise of men in reward of our works.

PSEUDO-CHRYS. What shall you receive from God, who have given God nothing? What is done for God's sake is given to God, and received by Him; but what is done because of men is cast to the winds. But what wisdom is it, to bestow our goods, to reap empty words, and to have despised the reward of God? Nay, you deceive the very man for whose good word you look; for he thinks you do it for God's sake, otherwise he would rather reproach than commend you. Yet we must think him only to have done his work because of men, who does it with his whole will and intention governed by the thought of them. But if an idle thought, seeking to be seen of men, mount up in any one's heart, but is resisted by the understanding spirit, he is not thereupon to be condemned of man-pleasing; for that the thought came to him was the passion of the flesh, what he chose was the judgment of his soul.

2. Therefore when you do your alms, do not sound a trumpet before yourself, as the hypocrites do in the Synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say to you, They have their reward.
3. But when you do alms, let not your left hand know what your right hand is doing,
4. That your alms may be in secret; and your Father who sees in Secret Himself shall reward you openly.

AUG. Above the Lord had spoken of righteousness in general. He now pursues it through its different parts.

PSEUDO-CHRYS. He opposes three chief virtues - alms, prayer, and fasting - to three evil things against which the Lord undertook the war of temptation. For He fought for us in the wilderness against gluttony, against covetousness on the mount, against false glory on the temple. It is alms that scatter abroad against covetousness which heaps up, fasting against gluttony which is its contrary, prayer against false glory, seeing that all other evil things come out of evil, this alone comes out of good; and therefore it is not overthrown but rather nourished of good, and has no remedy that may avail against it but prayer only.

AMBROSIASTER; The sum of all Christian discipline is comprehended in mercy and piety, for which reason He begins with almsgiving.

PSEUDO-CHRYS. The trumpet stands for every act or word that tends to a display of our works; for instance, to do alms if we know that some other person is looking on, or at the request of another, or to a person of such condition that he may make us return; and unless in such cases not to do them. Yea, even if in some secret place they are done with intent to be thought praiseworthy, then is the trumpet sounded.

AUG. Thus what He says, Do not sound a trumpet before yourself, refers to what He had said above, Take heed that you do not your righteousness before men.

JEROME; He who sounds a trumpet before himself when he does alms is a hypocrite. Whence he adds, as the hypocrites do.

ISID. The name 'hypocrite' is derived from the appearance of those who in the shows are disguised in masks, variously colored according to the character they represent, sometimes male, sometimes female, to impose on the spectators while they act in the games.

AUG. As then the hypocrites (a word meaning 'one who feigns'), as impersonating the characters of other men, act parts which are not naturally their own; for he who impersonates Agamemnon, is not really Agamemnon, but feigns to be so; so likewise in the Churches, whoever in his whole conduct desires to seem what he is not, is a hypocrite; he feigns himself righteous and is not really so, seeing his only motive is praise of men.

GLOSS. In the words, in the streets and villages, he marks the public places which they selected; and in those, that they may receive honor of men, he marks their motive.

GREG. It should be known, that there are some who wear the dress of sanctity, and are not able to work out the merit of perfection, yet who must in no wise be numbered among the hypocrites, because it is one thing to sin from weakness, another from crafty affectation.

AUG. And such sinners receive from God the Searcher of hearts none other reward than punishment of their deceitfulness; Verily I say to you, they have their reward.

JEROME; A reward not of God, but of themselves, for they receive praise of men for the sake of which it was that they practiced their virtues.

AUG. This refers to what He had said above, otherwise you shall have no reward of your Father which is in heaven; and He goes on to show them that they should not do their alms as the hypocrites, but teaches them how they should do them.

CHRYS. Let not your left hand know what your right hand is doing, is said as an extreme expression, as much as to say, If it were possible, that you should not know yourself, and that your very hands should he hidden from your sight, that is what you should most strive after.

PSEUDO-CHRYS. The Apostles in the book of the Constitutions interpret thus: The right hand is the Christian people which is at Christ's right hand; the left hand is all the people who are on His left hand. He means then, that when a Christian does alms, the unbeliever should not see it.

AUG. But according to this interpretation, it will be no fault to have a respect to pleasing the faithful; and yet we are forbidden to propose as the end of any good work the pleasing of any kind of men. Yet if you would have men to imitate your actions which may be pleasing to them, they must be done before unbelievers as well as believers. If again, according to another interpretation, we take the left hand to mean our enemy, and that our enemy should not know when we do our alms, why did the Lord Himself mercifully heal men when the Jews were standing round Him? And how too must we deal with our enemy himself according to that precept, If your enemy hunger, feed him (Prov. 25:21). A third interpretation is ridiculous; that the left hand signifies the wife, and that because women are wont to be more close in the matter of expense out of the family purse, therefore the charities of the husband should be secret from the wife, for the avoiding of domestic strife. But this command is addressed to women as well as to men, what then is the left hand, from which women are bid to conceal their alms? Is the husband also the left hand of the wife? And when it is commanded such that they enrich each other with good works, it is clear that they ought not to hide their good deeds; nor is a theft to be committed to do God service. But if in any case something must needs be done covertly, from respect to the weakness of the other, though it is not unlawful, yet that we cannot suppose the wife to be intended by the left hand here is clear from the purport of the whole paragraph; no, not even such a one as he might well call left. But that which is blamed in hypocrites, namely, that they seek praise of men, this you are forbidden to do; the left hand therefore seems to signify the delight in men's praise; the right hand denotes the purpose of fulfilling the divine commands. Whenever then a desire to gain honor from men mingles itself with the conscience of him that does alms, it is then the left hand knowing what the right hand, the right conscience, does, Let not the left hand know, therefore, what the right hand is doing, means, let not the desire of men's praise mingle with your conscience. But our Lord does yet more strongly forbid the left hand alone to work in us, than its mingling in the works of the right hand. The intent with which He said all this is shown in that He adds, that your alms may be in secret; that is, in that your good conscience only, which human eye cannot see, nor words discover, though many things are said falsely of many. But your good conscience itself is enough for you towards deserving your reward, if you look for your reward from Him who alone can see your conscience. This is that He adds, And your Father who sees shall reward you. Many Latin copies have, openly.

PSEUDO-CHRYS. For it is impossible that God should leave in obscurity any good work of man; but He makes it manifest in this world, and glorifies it in the next world, because it is the glory of God, as likewise the Devil manifests evil, in which is shown the strength of his great wickedness. But God properly makes public every good deed only in that world the goods of which are not common to the righteous and the wicked; therefore to whomever God shall there show favor, it will be manifest that it was as reward of his righteousness. But the reward of virtue is not manifested in this world, in which both bad and good are alike in their fortunes.

AUG. But in the Greek copies, which are earlier, we have not the word, openly.

CHRYS.If therefore you desire spectators of your good deeds, behold you have not merely Angels and Archangels, but the God of the universe.

5. And when you pray, you shall not be as the hypocrites are; for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say to you, They have their reward.
6. But you, when you pray, enter into your closet, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father which is in secret; and your Father which sees in secret shall reward you openly.

PSEUDO-CHRYS. Solomon says, Before prayer, prepare your soul (Sir 18:23). This he does who comes to prayer doing alms; for good works stir up the faith of the heart, and give the soul confidence in prayer to God. Alms then are a preparation for prayer, and therefore the Lord after speaking of alms proceeds accordingly to instruct us concerning prayer.

AUG. He does not now bid us pray, but instructs us how we should pray as above He did not command us to do alms but showed the manner of doing them.

PSEUDO-CHRYS.Prayer is as it were a spiritual tribute which the soul offers of its own bowels. Wherefore the more glorious it is, the more watchfully ought we to guard that it is not made vile by being done to be seen of men.

CHRYS. He calls them hypocrites, because feigning that they are praying to God, they are looking round to men; and, He adds, they love to pray in the synagogues.

PSEUDO-CHRYS But I suppose that it is not the place here that the Lord refers to, but the motive of him that prays; for it is praiseworthy to pray in the congregation of the faithful, as it is said, In your churches bless God (Ps 63:26). Whoever then so prays as to be seen of men does not look to God but to man, and so far as his purpose is concerned he prays in the synagogue. But he, whose mind in prayer is wholly fixed on God, though he pray in the synagogue, yet seems to pray with himself in secret. In the corners of the streets, namely, that they may seem to be praying retiredly and thus earn a twofold praise: that they pray, and that they pray in retirement.

GLOSS. Or, the corners of the streets, are the places where one way crosses another, and makes four cross-ways.

PSEUDO-CHRYS.He forbids us to pray in an assembly with the intent of being seen of that assembly, as He adds, that they may be seen of men. He that prays therefore should do nothing singular that might attract notice; as crying out, striking his breast, or reaching forth his hands.

AUG. Not that the mere being seen of men is an impiety, but the doing this, in order to be seen of men.

CHRYS.It is a good thing to be drawn away from the thought of empty glory, but especially in prayer. For our thoughts are apt to stray of themselves; if then we address ourselves to prayer with this disease upon us, how shall we understand those things that are said by us?

AUG. The privity of other men is to be so far shunned by us, as it leads us to do anything with this mind that we look for the fruit of their applause.

PSEUDO-CHRYS.Verily I say to you, they have received their reward, for every man where he sows, there he reaps, therefore they who pray because of men, not because of God, receive praise of men, not of God.

CHRYS. He says, have received, because God was ready to give them that reward which comes from Himself, but they prefer rather that which comes from men. He then goes on to teach how we should pray.

JEROME; This if taken in its plain sense teaches the hearer to shun all desire of vain honor in praying.

PSEUDO-CHRYS. That none should be there present save he only who is praying, for a witness impedes rather than forwards prayer.

CYPRIAN; The Lord has bid us in His instructions to pray secretly in remote and withdrawn places, as best suited to faith, that we may be assured that God who is present everywhere hears and sees all, and in the fullness of His Majesty penetrates even hidden places.

PSEUDO-CHRYS. We may also understand by the door of the chamber, the mouth of the body; so that we should not pray to God with loudness of tone, but with silent heart, for three reasons. First, because God is not to be gained by vehement crying, but by a right conscience, seeing He is a hearer of the heart; secondly, because none but myself and God should be privy to your secret prayers; thirdly, because if you pray aloud, you hinder any other from praying near you.

CASSIAN. Also we should observe close silence in our prayers, that our enemies, who are ever most watchful to ensnare us at that time, may not know the purport of our petition.

AUG. Or, by our chambers are to be understood our hearts of which it is spoken in the fourth Psalm: What things you utter in your hearts, and wherewith you are pricked in your chambers (Ps 4:4). The door is the bodily senses; without are all worldly things, which enter into our thoughts through the senses, and that crowd of vain imaginings which beset us in prayer.

CYPRIAN. What insensibility is it to be snatched wandering off by light and profane imaginings, when you are presenting your entreaty to the Lord as if there were anything else you ought rather to consider than that your converse is with God! How can you claim of God to attend to you, when you do not attend to yourself? This is altogether to make no provision against the enemy; this is when praying to God, to offend God's Magesty by the neglectfulness of your prayer.

AUG. The door then must be shut, that as we must resist the bodily sense, that we may address our Father in such spiritual prayer as is made in the inmost spirit where we pray to Him truly in secret.

REMIG. Let it be enough for you that He alone know your petitions, who knows the secrets of all hearts; for He Who sees all things, the same shall listen to you.

CHRYS.He said not 'shall freely give you,' but, shall reward you; thus He constitutes Himself your debtor.

5. And when you pray, you shall not be as the hypocrites are; for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say to you, They have their reward.
6. But you, when you pray, enter into your closet, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father which is in secret; and your Father which sees in secret shall reward you openly.

PSEUDO-CHRYS. Solomon says, Before prayer, prepare your soul (Sir 18:23). This he does who comes to prayer doing alms; for good works stir up the faith of the heart, and give the soul confidence in prayer to God. Alms then are a preparation for prayer, and therefore the Lord after speaking of alms proceeds accordingly to instruct us concerning prayer.

AUG. He does not now bid us pray, but instructs us how we should pray as above He did not command us to do alms but showed the manner of doing them.

PSEUDO-CHRYS.Prayer is as it were a spiritual tribute which the soul offers of its own bowels. Wherefore the more glorious it is, the more watchfully ought we to guard that it is not made vile by being done to be seen of men.

CHRYS. He calls them hypocrites, because feigning that they are praying to God, they are looking round to men; and, He adds, they love to pray in the synagogues.

PSEUDO-CHRYS But I suppose that it is not the place here that the Lord refers to, but the motive of him that prays; for it is praiseworthy to pray in the congregation of the faithful, as it is said, In your churches bless God (Ps 63:26). Whoever then so prays as to be seen of men does not look to God but to man, and so far as his purpose is concerned he prays in the synagogue. But he, whose mind in prayer is wholly fixed on God, though he pray in the synagogue, yet seems to pray with himself in secret. In the corners of the streets, namely, that they may seem to be praying retiredly and thus earn a twofold praise: that they pray, and that they pray in retirement.

GLOSS. Or, the corners of the streets, are the places where one way crosses another, and makes four cross-ways.

PSEUDO-CHRYS.He forbids us to pray in an assembly with the intent of being seen of that assembly, as He adds, that they may be seen of men. He that prays therefore should do nothing singular that might attract notice; as crying out, striking his breast, or reaching forth his hands.

AUG. Not that the mere being seen of men is an impiety, but the doing this, in order to be seen of men.

CHRYS.It is a good thing to be drawn away from the thought of empty glory, but especially in prayer. For our thoughts are apt to stray of themselves; if then we address ourselves to prayer with this disease upon us, how shall we understand those things that are said by us?

AUG. The privity of other men is to be so far shunned by us, as it leads us to do anything with this mind that we look for the fruit of their applause.

PSEUDO-CHRYS.Verily I say to you, they have received their reward, for every man where he sows, there he reaps, therefore they who pray because of men, not because of God, receive praise of men, not of God.

CHRYS. He says, have received, because God was ready to give them that reward which comes from Himself, but they prefer rather that which comes from men. He then goes on to teach how we should pray.

JEROME; This if taken in its plain sense teaches the hearer to shun all desire of vain honor in praying.

PSEUDO-CHRYS. That none should be there present save he only who is praying, for a witness impedes rather than forwards prayer.

CYPRIAN; The Lord has bid us in His instructions to pray secretly in remote and withdrawn places, as best suited to faith, that we may be assured that God who is present everywhere hears and sees all, and in the fullness of His Majesty penetrates even hidden places.

PSEUDO-CHRYS. We may also understand by the door of the chamber, the mouth of the body; so that we should not pray to God with loudness of tone, but with silent heart, for three reasons. First, because God is not to be gained by vehement crying, but by a right conscience, seeing He is a hearer of the heart; secondly, because none but myself and God should be privy to your secret prayers; thirdly, because if you pray aloud, you hinder any other from praying near you.

CASSIAN. Also we should observe close silence in our prayers, that our enemies, who are ever most watchful to ensnare us at that time, may not know the purport of our petition.

AUG. Or, by our chambers are to be understood our hearts of which it is spoken in the fourth Psalm: What things you utter in your hearts, and wherewith you are pricked in your chambers (Ps 4:4). The door is the bodily senses; without are all worldly things, which enter into our thoughts through the senses, and that crowd of vain imaginings which beset us in prayer.

CYPRIAN. What insensibility is it to be snatched wandering off by light and profane imaginings, when you are presenting your entreaty to the Lord as if there were anything else you ought rather to consider than that your converse is with God! How can you claim of God to attend to you, when you do not attend to yourself? This is altogether to make no provision against the enemy; this is when praying to God, to offend God's Magesty by the neglectfulness of your prayer.

AUG. The door then must be shut, that as we must resist the bodily sense, that we may address our Father in such spiritual prayer as is made in the inmost spirit where we pray to Him truly in secret.

REMIG. Let it be enough for you that He alone know your petitions, who knows the secrets of all hearts; for He Who sees all things, the same shall listen to you.

CHRYS.He said not 'shall freely give you,' but, shall reward you; thus He constitutes Himself your debtor.

16. Moreover when you fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear to men to fast. Verily I say to you, they have their reward.

PSEUD-CHRYS. Forasmuch as that prayer which is offered in a humble spirit and contrite heart, shows a mind already strong and disciplined; whereas he who is sunk in self-indulgence cannot have a humble spirit and contrite heart; it is plain that without fasting prayer must be faint and feeble; therefore, when any would pray for any need in which they might be, they joined fasting with prayer, because it is an aid thereof. Accordingly the Lord, after His doctrine respecting prayer, adds doctrine concerning fasting, saying, When you fast, be not you as the hypocrites, of sad countenance. The Lord knew that vanity may spring from every good thing, and therefore bids us root out the bramble of vain-gloriousness which springs in the good soil, that it choke out the fruit of fasting. For though it cannot be that fasting should not be discovered in any one, yet is it better that fasting should show you, than that you should show your fasting. But it is impossible that any in fasting should be gay, therefore He said not, Be not sad, but Be not made sad; for they who discover themselves by any false displays of their affliction, they are not sad, but make themselves; but he who is naturally sad in consequence of continued fasting, does not make himself sad, but is so.

JEROME; The word exterminare, so often used in the ecclesiastical Scriptures through a blunder of the translators, has a quite different meaning from that in which it is commonly understood. It is properly said of exiles who are sent beyond the boundary of their country. Instead of this word, it would seem better to use the word demoliri, 'to destroy,' in translating the Greek. The hypocrite destroys his face, in order that he may feign sorrow, and with a heart full of joy wears sorrow in his countenance.

GREG. For by the pale countenance, the trembling limbs, and the bursting sighs, and by all so great toil and trouble, nothing is in the mind but the esteem of men.

LEO; But that fasting is not pure, that comes not of reasons of continence, but of the arts of deceit.

PSEUD-CHRYS. If then he who fasts, and makes himself of sad countenance, is a hypocrite, how much more wicked is he who does not fast, yet assumes a fictitious paleness of face as a token of fasting.

AUG. On this paragraph it is to be specially noted, that not only in outward splendor and pomp, but even in the dress of sorrow and mourning, is their room for display, and that the more dangerous, inasmuch as it deceives under the name of God's services. For he who by inordinate pains taken with his person, or his apparel, or by the glitter of his other equipage, is distinguished, is easily proved by these very circumstances to be a follower of the pomps of this world, and no mean is deceived by any semblance of a feigned sanctity in him. But when any time in the profession of Christianity draws men's eyes upon Him by unwonted beggary and slovenliness in dress, if this be voluntary and not compulsory, then by his other conduct may be seen whether he does this to be seen of men, or from contempt of the refinements of dress.

REMIG. The reward of the hypocrites' fast is shown, when it is added, That they may seem to men to fast; verily I say to you, They have their reward; that is, that reward for which they looked.

17. But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face;
18. That you appear not to men to fast, but to your Father which is in secret: and your Father, which sees in secret, shall reward you openly.

GLOSS. The Lord having taught us what we ought not to do, now proceeds to teach us what we ought to do, saying, When you fast, anoint your head, and wash your face.

AUG. A question is here wont to be raised; for none surely would literally enjoin, that, as we wash our faces from daily habit, so we should have our deeds anointed when we fast; a thing which all allow to be most disgraceful.

PSEUD-CHRYS. Also if He bade us not to be of sad countenance that we might not seem to men to fast, yet if anointing of the head and washing of the face are always observed in fasting, they will become tokens of fasting.

JEROME; But He speaks in accordance with the manners of the province of Palestine, where it is the custom on festival days to anoint the head. What He enjoins then is, that when we are fasting we should wear the appearance of joy and gladness.

PSEUD-CHRYS. Therefore the simple interpretation of this is, that is added as an hyperbolical explanation of the command; as though He had said, Yea, so far should you be from any display of your fasting, that if it might be (which yet it may not be) so done, you should even do such things as are tokens of luxury and feasting.

CHRYS. In alms-giving indeed, He did not say simply, 'Do not your alms before men,' but added,' to be seen of them.' But in fasting and prayer He added nothing of this sort; because alms cannot be so done as to be altogether hid, fasting and prayer can be so done. The contempt of men's praise is no small fruit, for thereby we are freed from the heavy slavery of human opinion, and become properly workers of virtue, loving it for itself and not for others. For as we esteem it an affront if we are loved not for ourselves but for others' sake, so ought we not to follow virtue on the account of these men, nor to obey God for men's sake but for His own. Therefore it follows here, But to your Father which sees in secret.

GLOSS. That is, to your heavenly Father, who is unseen, or who dwells in the heart through faith. He fasts to God who afflicts himself for the love of God, and bestows on others what he denies himself.

REMIG. For it is enough for you that He who sees your conscience should be your rewarder.

PSEUD-CHRYS. Spiritually interpreted - the face may be understood to mean the mental conscience. And as in the eyes of man a fair face has grace, so in the eyes of God a pure conscience has favor. This face the hypocrites, fasting on man's account, disfigure, seeking thereby to cheat both God and man; for the conscience of the sinner is always wounded. If then you have cast out all wickedness from your heart, you have washed your conscience, and fast well.

LEO; Fasting ought to be fulfilled not in abstinence of food only, but much more in cutting off vices . For when we submit ourselves to that discipline in order to withdraw that which is the nurse of carnal desires, there is no sort of good conscience more to be sought than that we should keep ourselves sober from unjust will, and abstinent from dishonorable action. This is an act of religion from which the sick are not excluded, seeing integrity of heart may be found in an infirm body.

PSEUD-CHRYS. Spiritually again, your head denotes Christ. Give the thirsty drink and feed the hungry, and therein you have anointed your head, that is, Christ, who cries out in the Gospel, In that you have done this to one of the least of these my brethren, you have done it to me.

GREG. For God approves that fasting, which before His eyes opens the hands of alms. This then that you deny yourself, bestow on another, that wherein your flesh is afflicted, that of your needy neighbor may be refreshed.

AUG. Or; by the head we rightly understand the reason, because it is preeminent in the soul, and rules the other members of the man. Now anointing the head has some reference to rejoicing. Let him therefore joy within himself because of his fasting, who in fasting turns himself from doing the will of the world, that he may be subject to Christ.

GLOSS. Behold how everything in the New Testament is not to be taken literally. It were ridiculous to be smeared with of when fasting; but it is behoveful for the mind to be anointed with the spirit of His love, in whose sufferings we ought to partake by afflicting ourselves.

PSEUD-CHRYS. And truly we ought to wash our face, but to anoint, and not to wash, our head. For as long as we are in the body, our conscience is foul with sin. But Christ who is our head has done no sin.

Catena Aurea Matthew 6
32 posted on 02/13/2013 7:21:18 PM PST by annalex (fear them not)
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To: annalex


Saint Catherine of Alexandria at Prayer

Titian

1567
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

33 posted on 02/13/2013 7:21:46 PM PST by annalex (fear them not)
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To: annalex


St Dominic in Prayer

El Greco

1586-90
Oil on canvas, 118 x 86 cm
Private collection

34 posted on 02/13/2013 7:24:52 PM PST by annalex (fear them not)
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To: annalex


Madonna del Rosario

Caravaggio

1607
Oil on canvas, 364,5 x 249,5 cm
Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna

35 posted on 02/13/2013 7:25:24 PM PST by annalex (fear them not)
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To: All
Catholic Culture

Daily Readings for: February 13, 2013
(Readings on USCCB website)

Collect: Grant, O Lord, that we may begin with holy fasting this campaign of Christian service, so that, as we take up battle against spiritual evils, we may be armed with weapons of self-restraint. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Lent: February 13th

Ash Wednesday

Old Calendar: Ash Wednesday

The time has now come in the Church year for the solemn observance of the great central act of history, the redemption of the human race by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. In the Roman Rite, the beginning of the forty days of penance is marked with the austere symbol of ashes which is used in today's liturgy. The use of ashes is a survival from an ancient rite according to which converted sinners submitted themselves to canonical penance. The Alleluia and the Gloria are suppressed until Easter.

Abstinence from eating meat is to be observed on all Fridays during Lent. This applies to all persons 14 and older. The law of fasting on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday applies to all Catholics from age 18 through age 59.

Historically today is the feast of St. Catherine de Ricci a native of Florence, Italy, who became a Dominican tertiary in 1535 and eventually filled the offices of novice-mistress and prioress. She was famous for her ecstasies in which she beheld and enacted the scenes of our Lord's passion. It is said that she met St. Philip Neri, in a vision who was still alive in Rome. Three future popes were among the thousands who flocked to her convent to ask her prayers.

Stational Church


Ash Wednesday
At the beginning of Lent, on Ash Wednesday, ashes are blessed during Mass, after the homily. The blessed ashes are then "imposed" on the faithful as a sign of conversion, penance, fasting and human mortality. The ashes are blessed at least during the first Mass of the day, but they may also be imposed during all the Masses of the day, after the homily, and even outside the time of Mass to meet the needs of the faithful. Priests or deacons normally impart this sacramental, but instituted acolytes, other extraordinary ministers or designated lay people may be delegated to impart ashes, if the bishop judges that this is necessary. The ashes are made from the palms used at the previous Passion Sunday ceremonies.

Ceremonies of the Liturgical Year, Msgr. Peter J. Elliott

The act of putting on ashes symbolizes fragility and mortality, and the need to be redeemed by the mercy of God. Far from being a merely external act, the Church has retained the use of ashes to symbolize that attitude of internal penance to which all the baptized are called during Lent. — Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy

From the very early times the commemoration of the approach of Christ's passion and death was observed by a period of self-denial. St. Athanasius in the year 339 enjoined upon the people of Alexandria the 40 days' fast he saw practiced in Rome and elsewhere, "to the end that while all the world is fasting, we who are in Egypt should not become a laughing stock as the only people who do not fast but take our pleasure in those days." On Ash Wednesday in the early days, the Pope went barefoot to St. Sabina's in Rome "to begin with holy fasts the exercises of Christian warfare, that as we do battle with the spirits of evil, we may be protected by the help of self-denial."

Daily Missal of the Mystical Body

Things to Do:


Stational churches are the churches that are appointed for special morning and evening services during Lent, Easter and some other important days. The tradition started in order to strengthen the sense of community within the Church in Rome, as this system meant that the Holy Father would visit each part of the city and celebrate Mass with the congregation.

The first stational church during Lent is St. Sabina at the Aventine. It was built in the 5th century, presumably at the site of the original Titulus Sabinae, a church in the home of Sabina who had been martyred c. 114. The tituli were the first parish churches in Rome. St Dominic lived in the adjacent monastery for a period soon before his death in 1221. Among other residents of the monastery were St Thomas Aquinas.

Visit "Station Churches", a Lenten Journey by Fr. Bill for more information about stational churches.


36 posted on 02/13/2013 8:18:38 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
The Word Among Us

Meditation: Joel 2:12-18

Ash Wednesday

Return to the Lord, your God. For gracious and merciful is he. (Joel 2:13)

So! Are you ready for Lent to begin? Have you decided what you’re going to give up? Have you ramped up your new, more aggressive schedule for prayer and Mass attendance? Have you decided how much money you’re going to give to the poor? Have you done enough? Planned enough? Resolved enough?

If these questions are making you anxious, take a deep breath. The last thing anyone wants to do is reduce this season of grace to a to-do list.

If you want to find the right tone and focus for this Lent, you don’t have to look any further than today’s first reading. Your heavenly Father is gracious and merciful. He is calling out to you so that he can bless you. Yes, there is “fasting, weeping, and mourning,” but not out of fear or anxiety (Joel 2:12). They are meant to arise from a heart that wants to know a deeper freedom from sin and fear—a heart that is looking to God for more of his love.

Here is the key to finding God this Lent—a soft heart. That’s why we are encouraged to fast, to pray, and to give alms during this season. They help prepare our hearts to receive God’s blessings. We don’t do them to prove ourselves to God or convince him to bless us. We do them because they can help us feel the presence of God. We do them because they can change our hearts and make us more like Jesus.

For the next forty days, we will have opportunity after opportunity to discover just how gracious and merciful our heavenly Father is. We will also have countless opportunities to respond to his grace and mercy—through repentance, generosity, worship, forgiveness, and acts of service. So let’s try our best to keep our hearts soft and open to the Lord, because that’s when the changes really happen.

“Father, thank you for inviting me to come to you this Lent. By your Spirit, help me to soften my heart toward you and the people around me.”

Psalm 51:3-6, 12-14, 17; 2 Corinthians 5:20–6:2; Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18


37 posted on 02/13/2013 8:21:29 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
A Christian Pilgrim

REMEMBER YOU ARE DUST 

Ash-Wednesday-Mass

Today is ASH WEDNESDAY. It ushers liturgically the somber 40-day season of Lent. 

Lent affords us the opportunity for introspection, of looking into our spiritual life and examine where we have failed and where we can improve. 

RABU ABU

Lent should inspire us to ask such questions like how is my relationship with God, with others? Has my life been spent only in money-making, pleasure and selfish enjoyments? 

Is there something I cannot give up which is hurting my relationship with God, with my family and friends? Are my values and priorities in proper order? 

Ultimately, when you reflect on your material possessions, let alone your fame, titles and positions, you won’t take them along with you to your grave. 

Hence the wisdom of Ash Wednesday’s message: “Remember you’re dust, and unto dust you shall return.” 


38 posted on 02/13/2013 8:42:33 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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Marriage = One Man and One Woman
Til' Death Do Us Part

Daily Marriage Tip for February 13, 2013:

(Ash Wednesday) Today we begin the penitential season of Lent. As you reflect on what personal penitential practice you might take on during Lent, also consider if there is something that you’d like to do as a team. Pray together, fast from sweets, no complaining…


39 posted on 02/13/2013 8:46:15 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
Regnum Christi

Joyful Reparation
| SPIRITUAL LIFE | SPIRITUALITY
Ash Wednesday



Father Alex Yeung, LC

 

Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18

Jesus said to his disciples: “Take care not to perform righteous deeds in order that people may see them; otherwise, you will have no recompense from your heavenly Father. When you give alms, do not blow a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets to win the praise of others. Amen, I say to you they have received their reward. But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your almsgiving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will repay you. When you pray, do not be like the hypocrites who love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on street corners so that others may see them. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go into your inner room, close the door, and pray to your Father in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will repay you. When you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, they neglect their appearance so that they may appear to be fasting. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, so that you may not appear to be fasting, except to your Father who is hidden. And your Father who sees what is hidden will repay you.”

Introductory Prayer: Lord, you know how much I need you and depend on you. You know my weakness and my faults. I put all my confidence in your love and mercy in my daily actions. I hope to learn to trust more in your power, your promise, and your grace. Lord, I wish to start this season of Lent with a sincere desire to grow in love, preparing myself worthily to celebrate the mysteries of your passion, death and resurrection.

Petition: Lord, help me learn to change what needs to change in my life.

1. Lenten Practices: As we begin the Lenten season, we are reminded of the need to make reparation for our sins and be reconciled with God. Any attempt to build a spiritual life that neglects the pillars of prayer, fasting and almsgiving is building on sand. Prayer purifies our intentions and relates all we do to God. Fasting detaches us from our comfort and from ourselves. Almsgiving reflects our brotherhood with the poor of Jesus’ family and reminds us that our true wealth is not in things, but in the love of God. We all need to do a reality check on our spiritual lives to make sure we are committed to prayer, fasting and almsgiving.

2. Not for Show: Jesus is severe in criticizing the hypocrites who parade their works before others to get attention. Such parades are of no use in pleasing God or making up for our sins; they only add to our sinfulness. He encourages us to pray in private, to fast and to give alms in secret, without calling the attention of others to what we are doing. In this way we can be sure we are doing all for love of God and not for love of self. Those who make an outward show of piety or generosity “have already received their reward” in this world, and they store up no treasure in heaven. Let us work silently and discreetly, with no other intention but pleasing God alone.

3. God Loves a Joyful Giver: Nothing brings us closer to Christ than walking alongside him and doing the things he did for love of God the Father. During Lent, God invites us to purify our hearts and minds and to turn our intentions back to him. Christ’s public ministry was lived each day in loving obedience to the Father’s will. Our Lenten program should reflect that same simple, yet demanding, obedience and love. What can I do for God today? What sacrifice can I offer that will be pleasing to him? Once I decide on it, I will carry it out with no one else knowing.

Conversation with Christ: Jesus, give me the grace to begin this Lent with great enthusiasm and love. Help me live it with joy, knowing that I am living it in your presence to please you and you alone.

Resolution: I will make a Lenten program of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving.


40 posted on 02/13/2013 8:52:42 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All

Lent Begins

 

by Food For Thought on February 13, 2013 · 

 

FASTING: If we lament over the sacrifice of food it means we give more importance in pleasing our belly than in healing our soul. The most bitter of medicine heals a strong ailment, so sin that abides in us can be killed by fasting. Fasting makes the flesh docile in order to love God.

PRAYER is an intimate relationship with God. Let us set aside thoughts of offenses done to us, just as we wish God not to remember our wicked actions against our neighbors. Let us be aware of our offenses and ask forgiveness.

ALMSGIVING: Let us honor Christ while there is still time. We can visit and care for him. He waits to be fed, to be clothed. We can be charitable because Christ loves us generously. We can extend our helping hand to help the poor. That hand can be yours or mine.


41 posted on 02/13/2013 9:00:57 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
One Bread, One Body

One Bread, One Body

 


<< Wednesday, February 13, 2013 >> Ash Wednesday
 
Joel 2:12-18
2 Corinthians 5:20—6:2

View Readings
Psalm 51:3-6, 12-14, 17
Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18

 

A LIMITED LENT?

 
"They are already repaid." —Matthew 6:2, 5, 16
 

When Jesus says that those who perform religious acts for human recognition are "repaid," He uses a Greek word which suggests commercial payment, that is, payment in full for a service rendered (Mt 6:2, 5, 16). As an example of this term, a plumber fixes your sink and gets the full payment, but only that amount of pay. Jesus says that those who give alms, pray, and fast to further their reputation are looking for the wages of applause. So they get their satisfaction: the repayment. They get nothing more.

Jesus uses a different Greek word when He promises that when you keep your almsgiving, prayer, and fasting secret, your heavenly Father "will repay you" (Mt 6:4, 6, 18). This term means a reward of unspecified amount, determined only by the generosity of the Giver. The entire reward, if any, is up to the One Who is merciful and kind, gracious and unlimited in generosity (Ps 103:8; Ex 20:6; Mt 10:41-42; 2 Cor 9:10). He might give no reward whatsoever, or He might open "the floodgates of heaven, to pour down blessing upon you without measure" (Mal 3:10).

Will the focus of your self-denials this Lent be simply to get the repayment of feasting at Easter, or to receive the lavish outpoured reward of God? (see Ti 3:6) This Lent, place no limits on what the Lord wishes to do in your life. Give Him free rein in directing your prayer, fasting, charity, and suffering. Let Him speak, love, forgive, and work through you. Let Him bless you superabundantly.

 
Prayer: Father, may I do everything for an audience of One: You.
Promise: "For our sakes God made Him Who did not know sin, to be sin, so that in Him we might become the very holiness of God." —2 Cor 5:21
Praise: Margaret reads the Bible for the blind.

42 posted on 02/13/2013 9:04:15 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
Pro-Life or Pro-Choice? by AJV777.

43 posted on 02/13/2013 9:06:56 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Salvation
A Christian Pilgrim

PRAYER, FASTING AND ALMSGIVING

 lent (1)

Yesterday was ASH WEDNESDAY, the beginning of Lent. Please recall yesterday’s Gospel Reading (Matthew 6:1-6,16-18). It sets before us Jesus’ reflections on the three great cardinal works of the spiritual life: prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. We are invited to become involved in all three, so it is only right that we should reflect on Jesus’ advice which is the word of God for us. 

Before speaking on any of the three, Jesus first gives an opening warning about practicing piety in order to be seen by people, about being publicly pious while keeping a wondering eye alert on audience reaction. Jesus’ position is clear and unambiguous: He’s against it. He’s not against people sharing their light with others, for the point of that is to give glory to God. He’s against people using religion to direct attention to themselves. 

PRAYER

TANGAN-TANGAN YANG TERKATUB UNTUK BERDOA

The Jews were required to pray at set times of the day: at 9 in the morning, at noontime, and at 3 in the afternoon. Wherever they were, they were supposed to stop, stretch out their arms with hands facing heavenwards, and bow their heads. But some people would make sure that it so happened that they were on a top step or at a busy street corner on the stroke of noon, so that they could do a muscular demonstration of fidelity in public, ensuring that their prayers were loud and long. Jesus doesn’t think much of posturing prayers which stop the traffic and which are calculated for home consumption, when people might confuse length with fidelity, or confuse fluency with sincerity. 

The point about prayer is that is addressed to the Father, not to those who have their tape recorders switched on. And Jesus gives the test of true prayer: that it is an activity that goes on in the secret places of our lives, when the audience has all gone home, when the tape-recorders are off, when our doors are closed, and when our hearts are open to the Father who loves us. As one of the great rabbis put it: “God says to Israel, pray in the synagogue of your city; if you cannot, pray in your bed; if you cannot, commune with your heart and be still.” 

FASTING

Like prayer, fasting was an important part of the spiritual tradition and was a sign of repentance. Fasting was always linked to repentance: if it is not, it can be reduced simply to the theology of weightwatchers. Jesus criticises those who make sure that their faces look sufficiently collapsed to leave nobody in any doubt that their owners are on the job. In Palestine the two day of fasting were Monday and Thursday, which also happened to the market days. People could use the market-place to advertise their religious fervor. Jesus says no to this. Undertaker faces are no guarantee of authentic Christianity. Your face should look as if you have rented the sun. Again, what is important is that God knows what you do. 

What are we to fast from? St. John Chrysostom wrote: “I tell you it is possible to fast while not fasting. Is this a riddle? By enjoying food while having no taste for sin. That is a better kind of fasting.” We are first obliged to fast from sin. There is no point in missing dinner and spending the evening demolishing our neighbor. We must starve our sins before we starve our stomachs, and that will keep fasting linked to repentance. 

ALMSGIVING

The_Rain_Beggar_by_aR_Ka

When it comes to giving alms to the poor, Jesus thinks little of those who make sure that the trumpet sounds first, that people are paying attention before the gift is given. Jesus gives the maxim: “your left hand must not know what your right hand is doing.” In the temple there was a room called the Chamber of the Silent, where people could atone for their sins by making offerings anonymously from which the poor could be helped secretly. This is the kind of giving approved by Jesus: it is quiet and it is for the benefit of the poor. 

What can we give? We should share the most precious gifts we have received: love, compassion, understanding and forgiveness. That is what forgiveness is for – it is for giving. We are asked to give ourselves, and in that we have the marvelous example of Jesus. He gave generously of Himself: He was at great pains to share with others His time, His energy, His many gifts. In the end He gave Himself away and shares with us His body and blood. 

CONCLUSION

So the Church asks us at the beginning of Lent to renew our own lives in the great spiritual works of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving, and to heed Jesus’ advice in Gospel. Yesterday – on the Ash Wednesday – we tried to begin and we received the ashes as a sign that we are willing to undertake the Gospel way of life. Hopefully we still remember, that when we received the ashes yesterday, we heard again the first words of Jesus in Mark’s Gospel, “Repent, and believe in the Gospel” (Mark 1:15). 

Note: Taken (with some small changes) from Fr. Dennis McBride, CSsR, SEASONS OF THE WORD, Redemptorist Publications, September 1993 [Third printing], pages 68-69. 


44 posted on 02/14/2013 9:18:08 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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