Tag Archives: lent

Lent’s begun: let’s do spiritual battle against sin

“…is essentially a gesture of humility, which means that I recognise myself for what I am: a fragile creature made of earth and destined to return to the earth, but also made in the image of God and destined to return to him.” (Benedict XVI)

The pope’s teaching is heard here


In preparation for today, Ash Wednesday, pray with the readings for the day: Joel 2:12-18; Psalm 51, 12-13, 14 and 17; 2 Corinthians 5:20-6:2; Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18. It is a great lenten practice to review and pray with the daily scripture readings during Lent by visiting the U.S. bishops’ website, www.usccb.org/bible/readings

Asking Lord for forgiveness by receiving the Sacrament of Reconciliation and attending daily Mass.

Spending time with the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament is a superb spiritual practice. 15 minutes in quiet prayer is a true blessing. Time in silence and listening to the Lord and you talking with the Lord from your heart builds a relationship with Him.

Pray the Rosary.

Let’s pray for one another.

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Melkite and Maronite Churches begin Lent today

Transfiguration of Christ PPerugino.jpgThe Byzantine Catholic Church, along with the Maronite
Church, begin the Lenten observance. The Byzantines call today Clean Monday,
the first day of the Great Fast. Maronites call today “Ash Monday.” The
Byzantine Orthodox Church will open their Lent on Monday, February 27.

The Latin Church begins her Lent on Wednesday, 22 February.

the Byzantines the traditional liturgical practice is to celebrate Great
Compline, which will include the singing of a portion of the Great Canon of
Saint Andrew of Crete. Find a Melkite parish near you to celebrate
Compline tonight.

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Pope urges concern for others, reciprocity and personal holiness for lenten lessons

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The Pope’s lenten message for the Church is rooted in the Letter to the Hebrews by which he develops three aspects of Christian life: concern for others, reciprocity and one’s holiness. As he says at the start, Hebrews tells us to have confidence in, trust in, Jesus who is our high priest. The presentation of the message is made by Cardinal Robert Sarah.

Lent begins February 22 with the imposition of ashes beginning a 40 day season of fasting, prayer and almsgiving. In some segments of the Church, spiritual preparations have begun with observing the preparatory Sundays –the pre-Lent– whereby Christians begin engaging more and more in acts of penance. The Church recommends a gradual acceptance of penance rather than a full scale plunge. One of my favorite narratives in the Gospel is the Transfiguration of Christ. Here Giovanni Bellini does a terrific job in developing my Catholic imagination in helping me to focus on Christ rather than myself. With the assistance of Pope Benedict’s lenten message we can help grace become more and more part of our own humanity whereby we are transfigured from doing sinful things to doing things of true Charity.

“Let us be concerned for each other, to stir a response in love and good works”

(Hebrews 10:24)

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

The Lenten season offers us once again an opportunity to reflect upon the very heart of Christian life: charity. This is a favourable time to renew our journey of faith, both as individuals and as a community, with the help of the word of God and the sacraments. This journey is one marked by prayer and sharing, silence and fasting, in anticipation of the joy of Easter.

This year I would like to propose a few thoughts in the light of a brief biblical passage drawn from the Letter to the Hebrews: “Let us be concerned for each other, to stir a response in love and good works”. These words are part of a passage in which the sacred author exhorts us to trust in Jesus Christ as the High Priest who has won us forgiveness and opened up a pathway to God. Embracing Christ bears fruit in a life structured by the three theological virtues: it means approaching the Lord “sincere in heart and filled with faith” (v. 22), keeping firm “in the hope we profess” (v. 23) and ever mindful of living a life of “love and good works” (v. 24) together with our brothers and sisters. The author states that to sustain this life shaped by the Gospel it is important to participate in the liturgy and community prayer, mindful of the eschatological goal of full communion in God (v. 25). Here I would like to reflect on verse 24, which offers a succinct, valuable and ever timely teaching on the three aspects of Christian life: concern for others, reciprocity and personal holiness.

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Christ’s love is both horizontal and vertical

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Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said to fulfill the Scripture: “I thirst.” A bowl full of vinegar stood there; so they put a sponge full of the vinegar on hyssop and held it to his mouth. When Jesus had received the vinegar, he said, “It is finished”; and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

“I thirst.” “It is finished.” With these two phrases Jesus, looking first to humanity and then to the Father, bequeaths to us the burning passion at the heart of his person and mission: love for man and obedience to the Father. His is a love both horizontal and vertical: in the shape of the cross! And at the intersection of this twofold love, at the place where Jesus bows his head, the Holy Spirit wells up, the first fruits of his return to the Father.

This final breath which brings Jesus’ life to completion evokes the work of creation, which now is redeemed. But it is also a summons to all of us who believe in him to “bring to completion in our own flesh what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions”. That all may be complete!

Lord Jesus, who died for our sake!
You ask, that you may give,
you die, that you may leave a legacy,
and thus you make us see that the gift of self
opens a space for unity.
Pardon the gall of our rejection and unbelief,
pardon the deafness of our hearts
to your cry of thirst
which echoes in the suffering of our many brothers and sisters.

Come, Holy Spirit,
parting gift of the Son who dies for us:
may you be the guide who “leads us into all the truth”
and “the root which sustains us in unity”!

Spy Wednesday: dancing with the devil?

Last supper detail Duccio.jpgHere we are: Spy Wednesday, the eve of the sacred Triduum. Lent is about to end and we’re entering into a liturgical period and facing the Paschal Mystery of Christ. The term “Spy Wednesday” is not heard often these but we get the point: the struggle between life and death, sin and grace, friendship and betrayal, good and evil.

Jesus shares the Passover meal his closest collaborators, he was having “Communio” with his friends and not strangers and one among them has already set in motion the process of betrayal. The intimacy once shared vigorously is now betrayed; it is one of the most terrible experiences any person can live through.
Spy Wednesday is not a day to point the finger at someone else’s problem. It’s a day to examine the soul to understand the ways we’ve betrayed Christ in simple and also likely profound ways. There is portion of Judas in all of us. While we may not have used 30 pieces of silver but perhaps we’ve opened the door to evil.
How different are you going to live today?

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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