Week 4 of Lent

Sunday, March 26th, Fourth Sunday of Lent

"So must the Son of Man be lifted up, that all who believe may have eternal life in Him." (John 3:14,15)

Reflection

Faith always takes us on a journey beyond the obvious and tangible. This was often lacking in those who experienced Jesus and His teachings. When He spoke of offering His Body and Blood, they exclaimed: "How can this man give us flesh to eat?" They totally missed the spiritual dimension of His words and message. He was pointing them to a higher realm of understanding, while they chose to remain on an earthly level leading only to darkness and death.
Faith does not come easy. While we see and know people for whom faith seems like second nature, for many of us it is a gift that reveals itself only with the utmost diligence and care. It usually begins to appear in times of transition, distress and/or sickness, for it is in moments like these that the Lord is able to get our attention long enough, so that we can hear His voice above the noise and confusion of our daily lives. Whenever trouble breaks into the serenity of our daily existence, we can be sure the Divine potter is at work trying to mold us into something beautiful. ....Fr. Dominic P. Irace

Lenten Action

Pray for those who are being persecuted for their faith or race. Say thank you to one of your former teachers.

Prayer

O Jesus, true Bread of Eternal Life, appease my hunger.

March 27th - April 1st

Monday, March 27th

I am about to create new heavens and a new earth. (Isaiah 65:17)

Reflection

"I am with you always, to the close of the age". These words of Jesus assure us that in proclaiming and living the Gospel of charity we are not alone. Once again, during this Lent .. he invites us to return to the Father, who is waiting for us with open arms to transform us into living and effective signs of his merciful love.... Pope John Paul II

Lenten Action

Take some intense time with God.

Prayer

As I arise today, may the strength of God pilot me, the power of God uphold me, the wisdom of God guide me. May the eye of God look before me, the ear of God hear me, the word of God speak for me. May the hand of God protect me, the way of God lie before me, the shield of God defend me, the host of God save me. May Christ shield me today...Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me, Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me, Christ on my right, Christ on my left, Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit, Christ when I stand, Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me, Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me, Christ in every eye that sees me, Christ in every ear that hears me. Amen... Saint Patrick of Ireland, Bishop and Missionary

Tuesday, March 28th

I saw water flowing out from beneath the threshold of the temple. (Ezekiel 47:1)

Reflection

Holy water is a means of spiritual wealth -- a sacramental that remits venial sin. The Church strongly urges its use, especially when dangers threaten. The devil hates holy water because of its power over him. He cannot long abide in a place or near a person that is often sprinkled with this blessed water.
St. Theresa of Avila on holy water: "From long experience I have learned that there is nothing like holy water to put devils to flight and prevent them from coming back again. They also flee from the cross, but return; so holy water must have great value."

Lenten Action

How do you listen to God's voice and call?

Prayer

O Jesus, teach me to see only You in my superiors.

Wednesday, March 29th

"If you believed Moses you would then believe me, for it was about me that he wrote." (John 5:46)

Reflection

That first email was stiff and stilted, commenting about something on her page. It was not decorated with cheerful emotions, or saucy in humor. But it was a start.
She wrote back, and I replied, and soon we were emailing regularly. The stiffness and anger faded eventually to forgiveness. We each saw the wrongs we'd both committed against each other and asked forgiveness. Then something found its way into the messages that I had missed for ten long years. Love. The bond between mother and daughter had been ignited once more. I described in detail her three grandchildren: Michael, age five; David, age three; and Chrissy, a three-month-old babe. My mother had only seen pictures of them through other family members. I described them to her now. How they smiled. Their fears, and their joys. Their distinct and marvelous personalities. When they said something funny, I would type it in an email and send it to her, introducing her to their charm, and the sheer miracle of their existence.
She jotted off details of my childhood, tidbits I had forgotten. Funny stories to tell my children someday. Over a distance of 2,000 miles, she was getting to know her grandchildren, and reacquainting herself with me.
One day, an email arrived saying she was coming for a visit, if that was okay. Tears streaming down my face, I typed my reply, "Yes, come. The kids would love to see you. I would love to see you."
She came. She saw for herself all the details I'd written about my children. She held them in her arms, and smelled their hair. She hugged me, and met the man of my dreams, my husband.
While she was visiting, we wrote to my grandmother. Growing up, I hadn't known my grandmother very well. My mother and she had also been estranged. Funny how generations repeat themselves sometimes.
Gradually we began an email relationship, and now we converse regularly, spanning the miles and the lost years with the click of a send button. She has a sense of humor I adore, and her wit is razor sharp. I'm proud to call her Grandma. Even prouder that she calls me granddaughter.
I hear all the time that the internet is full of garbage and sex. I would say yes, if you are looking for it. But the internet is also full of rewarding experiences for those with the courage to take them.
It is a resource for finding lost relatives, educating your children, learning the wonderful diversity of humanity, and most importantly to me, keeping touch with family and friends. Don't fear this technology. Embrace the good in it!
I smile now to think I almost argued my husband out of this computer. It's one argument I'm glad I lost. The funny thing is, my husband rarely uses the computer. But I'm fairly sure I've made good use of it. My mother and Grandmother agree. ... Karman Wilson

Lenten Question

Q: Aside from Ash Wednesday, which begins Lent, what are its principal events?
A: There are a variety of saints' days which fall during Lent, and some of these change from year to year since the dates of Lent itself change based on when Easter falls. However, the Sundays during the Lenten season commemorate special events in the life of Our Lord, such as his Transfiguration and his Triumphal Entrance into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, which begins Holy Week. Holy week climaxes with Holy Thursday, on which Christ celebrated the first Mass, Good Friday, on which he was Crucified, and Holy Saturday -- the last day of Lent -- during which Our Lord lay in the Tomb before his Resurrection on Easter Sunday, the first day after Lent.

Lenten Action

Give up drinking for today; give the money saved to the poor.

Prayer

Lord, during this Lenten season nourish us with Your word of life and make us one in love and prayer.

Thursday, March 30th

Can a mother forget her infant, be without tenderness for the child of her womb? Even should she forget, I will never forget you." (Isaiah 49:15)

Reflection

Flower of Obedience

I met Her in a garden,
A Lady made of stone.
There was a look about Her face,
Unfamiliar, peaceful grace.
I sat and whispered at Her feet
In a flower garden sweet.
As a little child orphaned and alone.
I felt a kinship in my heart,
Pain and sorrow seemed to part.
With each and every passing day,
I made haste to find my way
To come before this Lady made of stone.
As a little child orphaned and alone.
Speaking to Her of my sad affair,
In secret hoping someone would care.
She held one hand upon Her heart,
The other open wide.
How I longed to place a flower at Her side.
As a little child orphaned and alone.
But to Her no flower could be given.
To pick flowers from the garden was forbidden.
Having no flower to give that day,
I simply thought, "I must obey."
When to my surprise I heard Her say,
"My little child, cannot you see?
Your obedience means more to me."
How could I have ever known?
She wanted me for Her very own.
I found a real Mother in place of stone.
Now Her little child, no more orphaned or alone.
.... Cindy Speltz

Lenten Action

Say a special Rosary for the unborn.

Prayer

We fly to your protection, most holy Mother of God; please listen to our petitions and needs, and deliver us from all dangers.

Friday, March 31st

The Fridays of Lent are days of abstinence from meat.
"Let us beset the just one, because he is obnoxious to us." (Wisdom 2:12)

Reflection

There is a general rule concerning all special graces granted to any human being. Whenever the divine favor chooses someone to receive a special grace, or to accept a lofty vocation, God adorns the person chosen with all the gifts of the Spirit needed to fulfill the task at hand.
This general rule is especially verified in the case of Saint Joseph, the foster-father of our Lord, and the husband of the Queen of our world, enthroned above the angels. He was chosen by the eternal Father as the trustworthy guardian and protector of his greatest treasures, namely, his divine Son and Mary, Joseph's wife. He carried out this vocation with complete fidelity until at last God called him, saying "Good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of your Lord."
Remember us, Saint Joseph, and plead for us to your foster child. Ask your most holy bride, the Virgin Mary, to look kindly upon us, since she is the mother of Him who with the Father and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns eternally. ....Saint Bernardine of Siena

Lenten Fact

Since Lent is a penitential season of preparation for Easter, the Stations of the Cross, which follow the path of Christ from Pontius Pilate's praetorium to Christ's tomb have been a popular devotion in parishes. In the 16th century, this pathway was officially entitled the "Via Dolorosa" (Sorrowful Way) or simply Way of the Cross or Stations of the Cross.

Lenten Action

Think about St. Joseph's role in salvation history. Think about what God might be asking of you.

Prayer

O Great Saint Joseph, you were completely obedient to the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Obtain for me the grace to know the state of life that God in his providence has chosen for me. Since my happiness on earth, and perhaps even my final happiness in heaven, depends on this choice, let me not be deceived in making it.

Saturday, April 1st

Lord, my God, in you I take refuge! (Psalm 7:2)

Reflection

"Jesus embodies the rule of God in which no one is beyond God's forgiveness no matter who they are or what they have done. Endowed with the presence and power of God through baptism by John in the Jordan, Jesus comes proclaiming that the rule of God supplants all others now. When the scribes and the Pharisees chide him for eating with the traitorous Jewish tax collectors, Jesus responds: 'Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick; I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.' The answer to my parishioner's burning question [about divine forgiveness] was, of course: No, you cannot be too bad to be forgiven. You can only be too good. [For example: Too self-righteous to be humble, compassionate, or receptive to God's spirit.]" ... Lewis B. Smedes

Lenten Fact

Tradition holds that our Blessed Mother visited daily the scenes of our Lord's passion.

Lenten Action

Reach out to someone who is alienated from your group.

Prayer

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. Living one day at a time, enjoying one moment at a time, accepting hardships as the pathway to peace, taking, as He, did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it. Trusting that He will make all things right. If I surrender to His Will, that I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with him forever in the next.
Amen.