Week 5 of Lent

Sunday, April 2nd, Fifth Sunday of Lent

Then a voice came from the sky: "I have glorified it, and will glorify it again." (John 12:28)

Reflection

Prayer to be Freed of the Seven Deadly Sins

O meek Savior and Prince of Peace, implant in me the virtues of gentleness and patience. Let me curb the fury of anger and restrain all resentment and impatience so as to overcome evil with good, attain your peace, and rejoice in your love.

O Model of humility, divest me of all pride and arrogance. Let me acknowledge my weakness and sinfulness, so that I may bear mockery and contempt for your sake and esteem myself as lowly in your sight.

O Teacher of abstinence, help me to serve you rather than our appetites. Keep me from gluttony - the inordinate love of food and drink and let me hunger and thirst for your justice.

O Lover of purity, remove all lust from my heart, so that I may serve you with a pure mind and a chaste body.

O Father of the poor, help me to avoid all covetousness for earthly goods and give me a love for heavenly things. Inspire me to give to the needy, just as you gave your life that I might inherit eternal treasures.

O Exemplar of love, keep me from all envy and ill-will. Let the grace of your love dwell in me that I may rejoice in the happiness of others and bewail their adversities.

O zealous Lover of souls, keep me from all sloth of mind or body. Inspire me with zeal for your glory, so that I may do all things for you and in you.

Lenten Fact

Passiontide is the last two weeks of Lent, when the readings and prayers of the liturgy focus on the Passion of Our Lord. The word 'passion', in the Christian sense, does not mean an intense emotion; it refers to the historical events of Jesus' suffering and death. Although for several centuries the Fifth Sunday of Lent was known as Passion Sunday, after the Second Vatican Council this name was restored to the Sunday at beginning of Holy Week , formerly called Palm Sunday. As a penitential season of the Church, Passiontide is evidently even more ancient than Lent.

Lenten Action

Reach out to someone who is alienated from your group.

Prayer

Father, help us keep in mind that Christ our Savior lives with you in glory and promised to remain with us until the end of time. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
Amen.

April 3rd - April 8th

Monday, April 3rd

"Nor do I condemn you. You may go." (John 8:11)

Reflection

Forgiveness, in its truest and highest form, is a free act of
love. But precisely because it is an act of love, it has its own
intrinsic demands: the first of which is .
God alone is absolute truth. But He made the human heart open to the desire for truth, which He then fully revealed in His
Incarnate Son. .... Pope John Paul II

Lenten Fact

In 1342, the Franciscans were appointed as guardians of the shrines of the Holy Land. The faithful received indulgences for praying at the following stations: At Pilate's house, where Christ met His mother, where He spoke to the women, where He met Simon of Cyrene, where the soldiers stripped Him of His garments, where He was nailed to the cross, and at His tomb.

Lenten Action

Spend the day fasting from consumerism.

Prayer

Ever-living God, help us to celebrate our joy in the resurrection of the Lord and to express in our lives the love we celebrate.
Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and
ever. Amen.

Tuesday, April 4th

Because He spoke this way, many came to believe in Him. (John 8:30)

Reflection

Though holy doctors have uncovered many mysteries and wonders, and devout souls have understood them in this earthly condition of ours, yet the greater part still remains to be unfolded by them, and even to be understood by them.
We must then dig deeply in Christ. He is like a rich mine with many pockets containing treasures: however deep we dig, we will never find their end or their limit. Indeed, in every pocket new seams of fresh riches are discovered on all sides.
For this reason the apostle Paul said of Christ, "In Him are hidden all the treasures of the wisdom and knowledge of God." The soul cannot enter into these treasures, nor attain them, unless it first crosses into and enters the thicket of suffering, enduring interior and exterior labors, and unless it first receives from God very many blessings in the intellect and in the senses, and has undergone long spiritual training.
The gate that gives entry into these riches of his wisdom is the cross; because it is a narrow gate, while many seek the joys that can be gained through it, it is given to few to desire to pass through it. ..Saint John of the Cross

Lenten Fact

When the Moslem Turks blocked the access to the Holy Land, reproductions of the Stations of the Cross were erected at popular spiritual centers, including the Dominican Friary at Cordova and Poor Clare Convent of Messina (early 1400s); Nuremberg (1468); Louvain (1505); Bamberg, Fribourg and Rhodes (1507); and Antwerp 1520). Many of these stations were reproduced by renowned artists and are considered masterpieces today.

Lenten Action

Sit in the Chapel for fifteen minutes of quiet prayer. Just sit there affirming your belief in God's presence with you and of God's love for you. Let it be a prayer of affirmation. Don't ask for anything!

Prayer

O Lord Jesus, gentle and humble of heart, full of compassion and maker of peace, you lived in poverty and suffered persecution for the cause of justice. You chose the Cross as the path to glory to show us the way of salvation. May we receive the word of the Gospel joyfully and live by Your example as heirs and citizens of Your kingdom. Amen.

Wednesday, April 5th

"If you live according to my teaching, you are truly my disciples." (John 8:31)

Reflection

O Eternal Truth, true love and beloved eternity. You are my God. To You do I sigh day and night. When I first came to know You, you drew me to yourself so that I might see that there were things for me to see, but that I myself was not yet ready to see them. Meanwhile you overcame the weakness of my vision, sending forth most strongly the beams of your light, and I trembled at once with love and dread.
I sought a way to gain the strength which I needed to enjoy you. But I did not find it until I embraced "the mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who is above all, God blessed for ever." He was calling me and saying: "I am the way of truth, I am the life."
Late have I loved you, O Beauty ever ancient, ever new, late have I loved you! You were within me, but I was outside, and it was there that I searched for you. In my unloveliness I plunged into the lovely things which you created. You were with me, but I was not with you. Created things kept me from you; yet if they had not been in you they would have not been at all. You called, you shouted, and you broke through my deafness. You flashed, you shone, and you dispelled my blindness. You breathed you fragrance on me; I drew in breath and now I pant for you. I have tasted you, now I hunger and thirst for more. You touched me, and I burned for your peace. ... Saint Augustine

Lenten Fact

St. Leonard Casanova (1676-1751) of Porto Maurizio, Italy, reportedly erected over 600 sets of the Stations of the Cross throughout Italy.

Lenten Action

Surprise someone with an act of kindness.

Prayer

God of mercy, You wash away our sins in water, You give us a new birth in the Spirit, and redeem us in the blood of Christ. As we celebrate Christ's resurrection, increase our awareness of these blessings, and renew Your gift of life within us. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Thursday, April 6th

"I solemnly assure you, if a man is true to my word he shall never see death." (John 8:51)

Reflection

St. Bonaventure once said that the day you no longer burn with love and concern for souls, many others will die of the cold. Where can we go to increase our love? To whom can we turn to find help? I am convinced that the Holy Spirit has raised up hopes in this century to focus our attention and to concentrate our devotion upon the Holy Family. Because in the Holy Family we are going to find the source of strength. We are going to find the encouragement we need when we have distressful losses on all sides.
The Holy Family is the place where we go when we feel like weak nobodies, incapable of withstanding the onslaught of the enemies of the Church, because Christ has raised up the Holy Family as the model of the Christian home, to be sure, but as the nucleus of the New Covenant Church-family of God showing that through detachment, through renunciation, through poverty, through mortification, through trials and sufferings, the war will be won. The Savior will be born and salvation will spill out in all directions and cover the earth. ... Scott Hahn

Lenten Fact

In the early 3rd century, Lent was lengthened to 6 days. About 800 AD it was changed to 40 days.
Those 40 days correspond with Christ's 40 days in the wilderness.

Lenten Action

Invite a friend who has been away to come to Church with you! Participate as fully as you can at Mass

Prayer

O Jesus, who out of love for me were willing to submit to Your own creatures, teach me to obey blindly.

Friday, April 7th

The Fridays of Lent are days of abstinence from meat.
Lord of hosts, you who test the just, who probe mind and heart...to you I have entrusted my cause. (Jeremiah 20:12)

Reflection

If Christ Jesus dwells in a man as His friend and noble leader, that man can endure all things, for Christ helps and strengthens us and never abandons us. He is a true friend. And I clearly see that is we expect to please Him and receive an abundance of His graces, God desires that these graces must come to us from the hands of Christ, through His most sacred humanity, in which God takes delight.
All blessings come to us through our Lord. He will teach us, for in beholding His life we find that he is the best example.
What more do we desire from such a good friend at our side? Unlike our friends in the world, He will never abandon us when we are troubled or distressed. Blessed is the one who truly loves him and always keeps Him near.
Whenever we think of Christ we should recall the love that led Him to bestow on us so many graces and favors, and also the great love God showed in giving us in Christ a pledge of his love; for love calls for love in return. Let us strive to keep this always before our eyes and to rouse ourselves to love him. For is at some time the Lord should grant us the grace of impressing his love on our hearts, all will become easy for us and we shall accomplish great things quickly and without effort.
....Saint Teresa of Avila

Lenten Fact

Wenceslaus, king of Bohemia, being seized with a malady which rendered it dangerous to his health to take Lenten diet, applied, in the year 1297, to Pope Boniface VIII., for leave to eat meat. The Pontiff commissioned two Cistercian abbots to inquire into the real state of the prince's health; they were to grant the dispensation sought for, if they found it necessary, but on the following conditions: that the king had not bound himself by a vow, for life, to fast during Lent; that the Fridays, the Saturdays, and the vigil of St. Mathias, were to be excluded from the dispensation; and, lastly, that the king was not to take his meal in presence of others, and was to observe moderation in what he took.

Lenten Action

Think about what God is asking of you in your current situation.

Prayer

O my God! Source of all mercy! I acknowledge Your sovereign power. While recalling the wasted years that are past, I believe that You, Lord, can in an instant turn this loss to gain. Miserable as I am, yet I firmly believe that You can do all things. Please restore to me the time lost, giving me Your grace, both now and in the future.

Saturday, April 8th

Jesus would die for the nation—and not for this nation only, but to gather into one all the dispersed children of God. (John 11:51-52)

Reflection

Eternal Trinity, Godhead, mystery deep as the sea, you could give me no greater gift than the gift of yourself. For you are a fire ever burning and never consumed, which itself consumes all the selfish love that fills my being. Yes, you are a fire that takes away the coldness, illuminates the mind with its light, and causes me to know your truth. And I know that you are beauty and wisdom itself. The food of angels, you gave yourself to man in the fire of your love. .... Saint Catherine of Siena

Lenten Question

Q: Why do we fast and abstain during Lent?
A: We fast and abstain: Because Jesus told us to. "Unless the grain of wheat fall into the ground and die, it remains alone; but if it dies, it will produce much fruit." Unless you do penance you shall all likewise perish. Whoever does not renounce all that he has, cannot be my disciple. The Christian must take up his Cross daily and follow Christ. Walk in the spirit and do not gratify the desires of the flesh. St. Paul says, those who belong to Christ have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If you live according to the flesh, you will die. Whoever seeks to lose his life, will gain it. Whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Many live as enemies of the Cross of Christ. Their end is destruction, their god is their belly. And their glory is their shame, with minds set on earthly things. If anyone will come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. You have died and your life is hid with Christ in God. Enter by the narrow gate for the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction and those who enter it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.

Lenten Action

Deliberately count your BLESSINGS in a prayerful way today.

Prayer

Hear, Lord, the prayers we offer from contrite hearts. Have pity on us as we acknowledge our sins. Lead us back to the way of holiness. Protect us now and always from the wounds of sin. May we ever keep safe in all its fullness the gift your love once gave us and your mercy now restores. Amen.