Tag Archives: Lent

#PrayTogether

Pope Francis

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How to pray with the Pope on Friday

Link above – Faithful across the world are invited to join Pope Francis spiritually in prayer on Friday, 27 March at 6 pm Rome time.

Full text from Pope Francis’ homily for the special ‘Urbi et Orbi’ blessing:

“When evening had come” (Mk 4:35). The Gospel passage we have just heard begins like this. For weeks now it has been evening. Thick darkness has gathered over our squares, our streets and our cities; it has taken over our lives, filling everything with a deafening silence and a distressing void, that stops everything as it passes by; we feel it in the air, we notice in people’s gestures, their glances give them away. We find ourselves afraid and lost. Like the disciples in the Gospel we were caught off guard by an unexpected, turbulent storm. We have realized that we are on the same boat, all of us fragile and disoriented, but at the same time important and needed, all of us called to row together, each of us in need of comforting the other. On this boat… are all of us. Just like those disciples, who spoke anxiously with one voice, saying “We are perishing” (v. 38), so we too have realized that we cannot go on thinking of ourselves, but only together can we do this.

It is easy to recognize ourselves in this story. What is harder to understand is Jesus’ attitude. While his disciples are quite naturally alarmed and desperate, he stands in the stern, in the part of the boat that sinks first. And what does he do? In spite of the tempest, he sleeps on soundly, trusting in the Father; this is the only time in the Gospels we see Jesus sleeping. When he wakes up, after calming the wind and the waters, he turns to the disciples in a reproaching voice: “Why are you afraid? Have you no faith?” (v. 40).

Let us try to understand. In what does the lack of the disciples’ faith consist, as contrasted with Jesus’ trust? They had not stopped believing in him; in fact, they called on him. But we see how they call on him: “Teacher, do you not care if we perish?” (v. 38). Do you not care: they think that Jesus is not interested in them, does not care about them. One of the things that hurts us and our families most when we hear it said is: “Do you not care about me?” It is a phrase that wounds and unleashes storms in our hearts. It would have shaken Jesus too. Because he, more than anyone, cares about us. Indeed, once they have called on him, he saves his disciples from their discouragement.

The storm exposes our vulnerability and uncovers those false and superfluous certainties around which we have constructed our daily schedules, our projects, our habits and priorities. It shows us how we have allowed to become dull and feeble the very things that nourish, sustain and strengthen our lives and our communities. The tempest lays bare all our prepackaged ideas and forgetfulness of what nourishes our people’s souls; all those attempts that anesthetize us with ways of thinking and acting that supposedly “save” us, but instead prove incapable of putting us in touch with our roots and keeping alive the memory of those who have gone before us. We deprive ourselves of the antibodies we need to confront adversity.

In this storm, the facade of those stereotypes with which we camouflaged our egos, always worrying about our image, has fallen away, uncovering once more that (blessed) common belonging, of which we cannot be deprived: our belonging as brothers and sisters.

“Why are you afraid? Have you no faith?” Lord, your word this evening strikes us and regards us, all of us. In this world, that you love more than we do, we have gone ahead at breakneck speed, feeling powerful and able to do anything. Greedy for profit, we let ourselves get caught up in things, and lured away by haste. We did not stop at your reproach to us, we were not shaken awake by wars or injustice across the world, nor did we listen to the cry of the poor or of our ailing planet. We carried on regardless, thinking we would stay healthy in a world that was sick. Now that we are in a stormy sea, we implore you: “Wake up, Lord!”.

“Why are you afraid? Have you no faith?” Lord, you are calling to us, calling us to faith. Which is not so much believing that you exist, but coming to you and trusting in you. This Lent your call reverberates urgently: “Be converted!”, “Return to me with all your heart” (Joel 2:12). You are calling on us to seize this time of trial as a time of choosing. It is not the time of your judgement, but of our judgement: a time to choose what matters and what passes away, a time to separate what is necessary from what is not. It is a time to get our lives back on track with regard to you, Lord, and to others. We can look to so many exemplary companions for the journey, who, even though fearful, have reacted by giving their lives. This is the force of the Spirit poured out and fashioned in courageous and generous self-denial. It is the life in the Spirit that can redeem, value and demonstrate how our lives are woven together and sustained by ordinary people – often forgotten people – who do not appear in newspaper and magazine headlines nor on the grand catwalks of the latest show, but who without any doubt are in these very days writing the decisive events of our time: doctors, nurses, supermarket employees, cleaners, caregivers, providers of transport, law and order forces, volunteers, priests, religious men and women and so very many others who have understood that no one reaches salvation by themselves. In the face of so much suffering, where the authentic development of our peoples is assessed, we experience the priestly prayer of Jesus: “That they may all be one” (Jn 17:21). How many people every day are exercising patience and offering hope, taking care to sow not panic but a shared responsibility. How many fathers, mothers, grandparents and teachers are showing our children, in small everyday gestures, how to face up to and navigate a crisis by adjusting their routines, lifting their gaze and fostering prayer. How many are praying, offering and interceding for the good of all. Prayer and quiet service: these are our victorious weapons.

“Why are you afraid? Have you no faith”? Faith begins when we realize we are in need of salvation. We are not self-sufficient; by ourselves we founder: we need the Lord, like ancient navigators needed the stars. Let us invite Jesus into the boats of our lives. Let us hand over our fears to him so that he can conquer them. Like the disciples, we will experience that with him on board there will be no shipwreck. Because this is God’s strength: turning to the good everything that happens to us, even the bad things. He brings serenity into our storms, because with God life never dies.

The Lord asks us and, in the midst of our tempest, invites us to reawaken and put into practice that solidarity and hope capable of giving strength, support and meaning to these hours when everything seems to be floundering. The Lord awakens so as to reawaken and revive our Easter faith. We have an anchor: by his cross we have been saved. We have a rudder: by his cross we have been redeemed. We have a hope: by his cross we have been healed and embraced so that nothing and no one can separate us from his redeeming love. In the midst of isolation when we are suffering from a lack of tenderness and chances to meet up, and we experience the loss of so many things, let us once again listen to the proclamation that saves us: he is risen and is living by our side. The Lord asks us from his cross to rediscover the life that awaits us, to look towards those who look to us, to strengthen, recognize and foster the grace that lives within us. Let us not quench the wavering flame (cf. Is 42:3) that never falters, and let us allow hope to be rekindled.

Embracing his cross means finding the courage to embrace all the hardships of the present time, abandoning for a moment our eagerness for power and possessions in order to make room for the creativity that only the Spirit is capable of inspiring. It means finding the courage to create spaces where everyone can recognize that they are called, and to allow new forms of hospitality, fraternity and solidarity. By his cross we have been saved in order to embrace hope and let it strengthen and sustain all measures and all possible avenues for helping us protect ourselves and others. Embracing the Lord in order to embrace hope: that is the strength of faith, which frees us from fear and gives us hope.

“Why are you afraid? Have you no faith”? Dear brothers and sisters, from this place that tells of Peter’s rock-solid faith, I would like this evening to entrust all of you to the Lord, through the intercession of Mary, Health of the People and Star of the stormy Sea. From this colonnade that embraces Rome and the whole world, may God’s blessing come down upon you as a consoling embrace. Lord, may you bless the world, give health to our bodies and comfort our hearts. You ask us not to be afraid. Yet our faith is weak and we are fearful. But you, Lord, will not leave us at the mercy of the storm. Tell us again: “Do not be afraid” (Mt 28:5). And we, together with Peter, “cast all our anxieties onto you, for you care about us” (cf. 1 Pet 5:7).

You can offer your Plenary Indulgence for someone dying today.

Alone

When you see this photo and want to cry, because it seems Pope Francis was all alone. Don’t. He was not alone. We were ALL with him in prayer. Use the eyes of your heart and SEE the faith is alive and well.

Vatican Live

 

 

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March 27, 2020 · 8:31 am

Shelter From The Storm

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As I woke this morning, I noticed we were in the midst of another rain storm. I pondered the day’s of Noah, and when the rain began to fall.

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I was not afraid, because our Lord told us not to be. Also, due to the Ark of the New Covenant. Thinking about how we are all cooped up, separated from everything that can harm us and others, as our Lord protected us, from the virus.

Glory to our Lord. I prayed, and contemplated all we are going through, the entire world and simply accepted what I could not change. The “Ark” for Noah was not a prison for forty days, but a Sanctuary. As the New Ark was the womb for our Lord, which He was nurtured and grew.  So also, my home is not a prison, but a domestic Church, to continue to worship our Lord, to be a peaceful place. To nurture and protect the life within. We grow in this home and it is up to us how we grow. Do we grow wild and angry with one another? Or do we choose to grow in respect and love for one another?  That, I believe, is another grace our Lord is granting us, through this difficult time.

Learn to love again as our Lord has loved us.

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As in the days of Noah, we choose the Ark.

Pope calls for 9pm Rosary for protection of our families

St. Joseph, pray for us

READING
2 Samuel 7:28-29

Lord God, you are God and your words are truth; you have made this generous promise to your servant. Do, then, bless the house of your servant that it may be before you forever; for you, Lord God, have promised, and by your blessing the house of your servant shall be blessed forever.

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Around Italy In Quarantine

Pope Francis leads Benediction outside Basilica of St. Mary Major in Rome

“Yesterday in Italy the military flew over some areas affected by the Coronavirus with the Blessed Sacrament and an image of the Virgin of Fatima!”

“A great priest who never ceases to be present with his parish community. Thanks Father Ricotta”

 

 

Did you know the word “quarantine” was taken from the Italian quaranta giorni, meaning “forty days”? Penance & Lent

ALSO – Pope urges priests to bring Eucharist to sick during Italy coronavirus quarantine

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Little Faith

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This morning, I sat in with second graders about to make their First Holy Communion through our RCIA classes. The children were learning about the Mass, but also covered a little section in their books on how our Lord spoke in parables. The kingdom of heaven is like…

A mustard seed..

As the children listened to the teacher ask about the mustard seed, they answered her questions. I sat watching them pondering these little ones sitting in their chairs, waiting to sprout and grow.  They all were playing with their pencils, looking around, getting distracted as normal children do. Nothing I could see in them regarding our faith was freely being applied right now, because they were like tiny little furrows who were placed in a row, as the seeds of faith were being planted.

As one child held his pencil, I looked at his blank paper in front of him and was able to see how nothing is accomplished if we do not put our faith to work. We can read the bible, we can study scripture, we can even sit in RCIA forever learning but if we do not follow our Lords direction and apply it, its just words to us and not the Word. If we truly believe, we act on that faith. If we do not act on His word, we remain a simple seed which sprouts and quickly dies producing no fruit.

A pencil must be put to paper with effort on our part for its purpose to be revealed. One can say that they want to be an artist, but if they never draw, or sculpture or paint, or even try, simply saying I want to be an artist, needs actions on our part to be one. If I say I want to go to heaven, but I do not do what our Lord has asked of us, to follow Him, and go off in my own way and follow my own feelings and do what ever I want, what shall that get me? False hope comes to mind.

Little faith requires much action on our part. It must be regularly watered and nourished by practicing THE faith or we lose it completely and follow our own directions, creating our own gods who we worship instead, inventing our own faith, creating false hopes in our own powers.  We must attend Mass, we must regularly attend the sacrament of confession, we must pray, we must fast, we must produce good works and keep producing them even in the little things so the weeds of sin and selfishness that are also planted along side by the world in which we live, do not strangle the faith growing within us. Applying this faith not just on Sunday, but every day, in every way in all our actions. In this way we are living the faith in Word and Deed, in our speech and actions.

It was a beautiful morning with these little ones. I can’t wait to see what our Lord teaches me through them next week. Please pray for these children and their family’s, that the faith they are learning, is nurtured by family who live the faith with them, as role models for them, that it may sprout, grow strong and produce good fruit for the next generation.

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First Week Of Lent 2020

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How can I describe this week, but best week ever. Normally we begin Lent on Ash Wednesday, but my family, due to unforeseen unintended consequences of overspending the week before, began our fast the Saturday before Ash Wednesday. We had many bills that all hit the bank at the same time. Mortgage, school for my youngest daughter, auto registration and a few other major things, that just could not be put off. So we started the week before lent, already in the negative.

My husband & I began to take stock of all the items we had in the pantry and freezer, ensuring we had enough food for the week, including what we would need for school lunches. I had not shopped yet so we didn’t have much, but our Lord ensured  us that we had everything we needed, and we were at peace, knowing that no matter what, we would do the best we could this week.

I had a little flour and olive oil, (in all honesty, as I found those two items, I pondered Elijah and the Widow, and I will get to that in a moment)  sugar, eggs , rice, a few bags of vegetables in the freezer along with a couple of pounds of different meat that had been frozen. A jar of peanut butter and some jelly, half a loaf of white bread and five apples.

We had already paid in advance for our youngest daughters hot lunch for a couple of days, and only needed to make sure she had three lunches for the week.  As dinner time arrived on Sunday evening, I took what I had found, prayed and did the best I could, with what I had. It was enough for us all and was good and very  filling.

Monday came and our daughters had lunches for school and I prayed and pondered what I could do for them for dinner. With the little flour and oil I had, I made a pizza crust by hand for the very first time. I had a small jar of yeast in the refrigerator I had bought a few months ago, which was still good to use. I had a half a bag of cheese which I used for stuffed shells the week before, a tiny can of chopped olives and three frozen Italian sausages. Every time I had tried to make bread it had failed miserably. I could never get the temperature right with the water and yeast, and ended up killing the yeast. Not this time. I mixed the warm water and the yeast, got the flour and measured just what I needed, having only two cups of flour left, with a little olive oil left. I added the yeast mixture to the flour, salt and sugar I had measured, placed it in the oven covered, and left it. When I checked on it later, it had doubled in size. It WORKED! I was dancing because I was so happy! Didn’t have a clue how it would taste, but it didn’t matter. I had a crust! Later that day, I assembled it for dinner & placed it in the oven for dinner, thanking our Lord in gratitude that it all came together and worked.

Monday Pizza

It was the BEST pizza we had ever had. My husband and children now want me to make it for them all the time. We will no longer be getting carry out, because it is just that good.

Tuesday came and lunches were provided for and as far as dinner, we had plans to attend Palm Burning and the Mardi Gras at our parish, which the youth group was sponsoring. I needed to bring a dish for my family, and a side dish to share. I made mashed sweet potatoes & meat loaf for us. Again, our Lord providing what we needed, through a little cash we had set aside.

Ash Wednesday and our children had minimal lunches, and we fasted until our Parish held soup night, just before the 7:00 PM Holy Mass. Our Lord providing again, and again.

Thursday came and our children had lunches. My husband’s check would register this night. We had nothing left but the flour, olive oil, left over tomato sauce, a little cheese and a sausage left in the fridge. I made that pizza again for them for dinner and just like the first time, the crust worked and everyone was satisfied. Although that evening we all realized how hungry we were after fasting the day before. We waited a little longer until Friday when I was able to shop again for what we needed.

That entire week, was one of the best weeks we had ever had as a family. No one was upset about our situation. No one missed being able to run to the store for things they wanted. Everyone understood that we were doing the best we could and we all made the most of it and I give the praise, glory and honor to our Lord, Jesus Christ for providing it all. Especially the understand and the peace among us. We all LIVED, trusting in our Lord who provides for all our needs.

Joyful

 

 

 

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Holy Week – Building Up Again

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The out pouring of hearts in regards to the burning of Notre Dame Cathedral has been a silent moment of pure grace, in which I pray we all hold on to. Notre Dame, intercede for us.

 

I find myself pondering this moment, in regards to how many times we burn ourselves down by our sins, becoming nothing but heaps of ash, and therefore repenting, turning back to our Lord, we come to realize with His grace, it is He who remains unscathed, to rebuild the temple within us back up, “I Am reminded: “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.”, as He has created us to be. Lent begins with ash, and ends with Resurrection.

Its not worth getting upset about what Notre Dame may look like after it is rebuilt as they petition the architects to come together.. What matters is if our Lord is present. I ponder Cardinal Nguyen Van Thuan and how he turned the concentration camp in Vietnam into a cathedral and the palm of his hand into an altar. He turned his shirt pocket into a tabernacle.

Even as many were amazed at him—
so marred were his features,
beyond that of mortals
his appearance, beyond that of human beings— Isaiah 52:14

Something else grabbed my attention today.

For all the people complaining about all that money being pledged to rebuild Notre Dame Cathedral and NOT to feed the poor, it was not Jesus who said that, but Judas.

The Anointing at Bethany.

Then Judas the Iscariot, one [of] his disciples, and the one who would betray him, said,“Why was this oil not sold for three hundred days’ wages* and given to the poor?”He said this not because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief and held the money bag and used to steal the contributions.e

The building is the house of the Community where the Church comes together to feed the hungry. “He said, “Go into the city to a certain man and tell him, ‘The teacher says, my appointed time draws near; in your house I shall celebrate the Passover with my disciples.” The building belongs to the French Gov. The Vatican gives what it has. Just as anyone else, who can give what they can.

Today, this Tuesday of Holy Week, is the day before “Spy Wednesday”.  The day in which Judas, after turning his back on the Light, grabbed hold of his idol in the dark instead and sold our Lord for thirty pieces of silver. We all may want to ponder what that 30 pieces of silver bought him, and keep our Lord.

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 Giovanni Canavesio (1450 – 1500) , hanged Judas

 

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St. Joseph And The Little Flower

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“I just asked St. Joseph to obtain for me from God the grace of spending my Heaven doing good on earth.” 

via Quote of the day: 19 March

St. Joseph, pray for us

(Painting: Pieter van Lint  (1609-1690) — Saint Joseph and the Christ Child )

 

Also, please see:

SAINT JOSEPH: OUR PATRON SAINT

A Reflection on the Official Inauguration

of the Carmelite Provincial Commissariat in Vietnam

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March 18, 2019 · 10:06 pm