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Archive for the ‘Lent’ Category

One of  the theme’s during Lent is that we are called to forgive others.  I saw an ex brother-in-law at my nephew’s wedding a few weeks ago and it was a very cordial gathering. It is weird how a moment in time many years ago a person can think that “he did quite a few awful things to my sister which in my opinion are unforgivable”.  While married to him and for a long time afterwards he treated my sister horribly.  Extremely awful things happened while they didn’t have a set custody arrangement.  There were certainly things that at the time I didn’t think that I would ever forgive my ex BIL for doing to my sister.

Over the past 15-20 years both my brother-in-law and I have changed. Thankfully he has changed for the better over the last 5 or so years.  At my nephew’s wedding my BIL gave an outstanding, heartfelt speech to his son where he acknowledged that he had made mistakes with how he treated my sister.  His speech was so passionate that I doubt there was a dry eye at the reception. I think that I had forgiven him before the wedding but his speech gave me the nudge to talk to my BIL and tell him that we all make mistakes, that I have made mistakes and that I will always consider him my brother-in-law regardless of he and my sister not being together anymore.

Jesus paid the ultimate price and sacrificed his own life to save us, forgive us for our sins. We are called to forgive, forgive even sins which we think are unforgivable.

 

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I found this in a PDF and am passing it on. 

St. John Chrysostom on Keeping a Fast

We have this fast too as an ally, and as an assistant in this
good intercession. Therefore, as when the winter is over
and the summer is appearing, the sailor draws his vessel
to the deep; and the soldier burnishes his arms, and
makes ready his steed for the battle; and the husbandman
sharpens his sickle; and the traveler boldly undertakes a
long journey, and the wrestler strips and bares himself for
the contest.
So too, when the fast makes its appearance, like a kind of
spiritual summer, let us as soldiers burnish our weapons;
and as husbandmen let us sharpen our sickle; and as
sailors let us order our thoughts against the waves of
extravagant desires; and as travelers let us set out on the
journey towards heaven; and as wrestlers let us strip for
the contest.
For the believer is at once a husbandman, and a sailor,
and a soldier, a wrestler, and a traveler.
Hence St. Paul saith, “We wrestle not against flesh and
blood, but against principalities, against powers. Put on
therefore the whole armour of God.” Hast thou observed
the wrestler? Hast thou observed the soldier? If thou art a
wrestler, it is necessary for thee to engage in the conflict
naked. If a soldier, it behooves thee to stand in the battle
line armed at all points.
How then are both these things possible, to be naked, and
yet not naked; to be clothed, and yet not clothed! How? I
will tell thee. Divest thyself of worldly business, and thou
hast become a wrestler. Put on the spiritual armour, and
thou hast become a soldier. Strip thyself of worldly cares,
for the season is one of wrestling. Clothe thyself with the
spiritual armour, for we have a heavy warfare to wage with
demons.
Therefore also it is needful we should be naked, so as to
offer nothing that the devil may take hold of, while he is
wrestling with us; and to be fully armed at all points, so as
on no side to receive a deadly blow.
Cultivate thy soul. Cut away the thorns. Sow the word of
godliness. Propagate and nurse with much care the fair
plants of divine wisdom, and thou hast become a
husbandman. And Paul will say to thee, “The
husbandman that laboureth must be first partaker of the
fruits. He too himself practiced this art. Therefore writing
to the Corinthians, he said, “I have planted, Apollos
watered, but God gave the increase.” Sharpen thy sickle,
which thou hast blunted through gluttony–sharpen it by

fasting. Lay hold of the pathway which leads towards
heaven; rugged and narrow as it is, lay hold of it, and
journey on.
And how mayst thou be able to do these things? By
subduing thy body, and bringing it into subjection. For
when the way grows narrow, the corpulence that comes of
gluttony is a great hindrance. Keep down the waves of
inordinate desires. Repel the tempest of evil thoughts.
Preserve the bark; display much skill, and thou hast
become a pilot. But we shall have the fast for a
groundwork and instructor in all these things.
I speak not, indeed, of such a fast as most persons keep,
but of real fasting; not merely abstinence from meats; but
from sins too.
For the nature of a fast is such, that it does not suffice to
deliver those who practice it, unless it be done according
to a suitable law. “For the wrestler,” it is said, “is not
crowned unless he strive lawfully.” To the end then, that
when we have gone through the labour of fasting, we
forfeit not the crown of fasting, we should understand
how, and after what manner, it is necessary to conduct
this business; since that Pharisee also fasted, but
afterwards when down empty, and destitute of the fruit of
fasting.
The Publican fasted not; and yet he was accepted in
preference to him who had fasted; in order that thou
mayst learn that fasting is unprofitable, except all other
duties follow with it. The Ninevites fasted, and won the
favour of God. The Jews fasted too, and profited nothing,
nay they departed with blame.

Since then the danger in fasting is so great to those who
do not know how they ought to fast, we should learn the
laws of this exercise, in order that we may not “run
uncertainly,” nor “beat the air,” nor while we are fighting
contend with a shadow. Fasting is a medicine; but a
medicine, though it be never so profitable, becomes
frequently useless owing to the unskillfulness of him who
employs it.
For it is necessary to know, moreover, the time when it
should be applied, and the requisite quantity of it; and the
temperament of body that admits it; and the nature of the
country, and the season of the year; and the
corresponding diet; as well as various other particulars;
any of which, if one overlooks, he will mar all the rest that
have been named. Now if, when the body needs healing,
such exactness is required on our part, much more ought
we, when our care is about the soul, and we seek to heal

the distempers of the mind, to look, and to search into
every particular with the utmost accuracy.
I have said these things, not that we may disparage fasting,
but that we may honour fasting; for the honour of fasting
consists not in abstinence from food, but in withdrawing
from sinful practices; since he who limits his fasting only
to an abstinence from meats, is one who especially
disparages it.

Dost thou fast? Give me proof of it by thy works! Is it said
by what kind of works?

If thou seest a poor man, take pity on him!

If thou seest an enemy, be reconciled to him!

If thou seest a friend gaining honour, envy him not!

If thou seest a handsome woman, pass her by!

For let not the mouth only fast, but also the eye, and ear,
and the feet, and the hands, and all the members of our
bodies.

Let the hands fast, by being pure from rapine and avarice.
Let the feet fast, but ceasing from running to the unlawful
spectacles.

Let the eyes fast, being taught never to fix themselves
rudely upon handsome countenances, or to busy
themselves with strange beauties.

For looking is the food of the eyes, but if this be such as is
unlawful or forbidden, it mars the fast; and upsets the
whole safety of the soul; but if it be lawful and safe, it
adorns fasting.

For it would be among things the most absurd to abstain
from lawful food because of the fast, but with the eyes to
touch even what is forbidden.

Dost thou not eat flesh? Feed not upon lasciviousness by
means of the eyes.

Let the ear fast also. The fasting of the ear consists in
refusing to receive evil speakings and calumnies. “Thou
shalt not receive a false report,” it says.

 

Fasting is about more than food.  Fasting is about saying no to that which will harm our souls.  Fasting is about doing good works and reconciling relationships.  Lent is a time to grow in our faith. 

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crucifixion

Here is part of what Pope Francis spoke on the Via Crucis: 

I do not wish to add too many words. One word should suffice this evening, that is the Cross itself. The Cross is the word through which God has responded to evil in the world. Sometimes it may seem as though God does not react to evil, as if he is silent. And yet, God has spoken, he has replied, and his answer is the Cross of Christ: a word which is love, mercy, forgiveness. It also reveals a judgment, namely that God, in judging us, loves us. If I embrace his love then I am saved, if I refuse it, then I am condemned, not by him, but my own self, because God never condemns, he only loves and saves.

Doesn’t it seem like sometimes God doesn’t react to evil?  The way we think He should? As I was thinking about Pope Francis’ words I could see how they could be applicable in our own lives.  Much of the time we want to be the driver because we believe that we know what’s best for ourselves.  But a good deal of the time we just need to sit back, be a passenger, and let God be the driver.  We need to follow God’s will, not ours. We need to let God take care of a troubled relationship, someone who is sick, an individual who is fighting addiction, a person who has withdrawn from the Faith, or when dealing with an unexpected bump in the road in our own lives.  Jesus died on the Cross to save all of humanity.  Sometimes our reactions can do more harm than good. I believe sometimes we are called to be silent, pray, and trust that God will change a person’s heart and take care of the situation in His good time. 

With my being childless and having a hysterectomy due to my health issues I could be angry at God, but I’m not. Maybe something bad would have happened during my pregnancy if I had become pregnant? While it may have been my will to have been able to have kids it wasn’t God’s will. I am called to trust that God’s will is better for me. Maybe God has called me to a different path? Something that I may not have been able to do if I had kids right now? So even though you may be going through a trial in your life right now or dealing with something unexpected maybe God is preparing a better way for you? Maybe He is leading you in a different direction for a very special purpose? 

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I have been pretty sad today and am struggling.  I was going to write a post on the Holy Thursday readings, on Passover and on Jesus washing His disciples’ feet but I am having trouble with what to say in reflection on the two readings.  I came up with a poem. Didn’t know what to name but here it is.

Today sadness is in the air

I know God is *there*

But the road has been like climbing a mountain

Jesus made the hardest journey of all

Taking the road to Golgotha

In the ultimate act of love

Jesus died on the cross for all of us

Trying to give my pain over to God

In union with Jesus on the Cross

But I’m struggling so bad due to my loss

Some thoughts: The lesson in Exodus 12: 1-8, 11-14 is that God is always there for His people, for those who follow Him. God is there for us when we repent. He is there for us during our troubles. I know this. But for some reason today I feel so empty and down in the dumps today. Part of it may be the medicine I’m on because sometimes I feel like I need to cry but it feels like I can’t cry due to the medicine I’m taking.

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While talking about Lent today I thought, “What is the meaning of Lent and when did it start?”. Since Kevin didn’t know I looked the term Lent up on the internet and what I found was quite interesting.  The word “Lent” originally simply meant the spring season.  It was then used to translate the Latin term Quadragesima which means “forty days” or more literally “fortieth day” and has been used from the time of the Anglo-Saxon period.  Quadragesima was the Latin rendering for the Greek name for what we now call Lent, tessarakoste (fortieth), a word formed on the analogy of Pentecost (pentekoste).

As I continued to read about Lent on the New Advent Catholic site I noticed that from the time of Eusebius and St. Irenaeus to St. Athanasius to the time of St. Gregory in the 6th century there was a no consensus on whether Lent would last forty days or a shorter period of time.  There was also no consensus on the type and timing of fasting among the Church Fathers during this period of time.  At the time of St. Gregory in Rome there were six weeks and six days per week that people fasted, which equaled thirty-six days of fasting.  The medieval writers continued this tradition and described the thirty-six day period, one tenth of three hundred sixty-five days, as spiritual tithing. It wasn’t until a later date that Lent as being a total of forty days starting from Ash Wednesday came into fruition.  This makes perfect sense since the Latin term Quadragesima means “forty days”.

“Some of the Fathers as early as the fifth century supported the view that this forty days’ fast was of Apostolic institution. For example, St. Leo (d. 461) exhorts his hearers to abstain that they may “fulfill with their fasts the Apostolic institution of the forty days” — ut apostolica institutio quadraginta dierum jejuniis impleatur (P.L., LIV, 633), and the historian Socrates (d. 433) and St. Jerome (d. 420) use similar language (P.G., LXVII, 633; P.L., XXII, 475).”

But there was such a wide spectrum of practices regarding Lent and Easter during the first three centuries that the modern scholars nearly unanimously reject the view by some of the Fathers that the forty days fast was of Apostolic origin.  But could the forty day period have been a revival from time of the Apostles? Were the Apostles following Jesus’ example of prayer and fasting in the desert for forty days?

 

jesus-desert

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links_image1

Apparently there has been some hullabaloo about news sites claiming that Pope Francis as Cardinal Bergoglio endorsed civil unions back in 2010. That’s a bunch of hooey. According to one of the Pope’s confidants Francis was faced with gay “marriage” being thrust upon citizens in Argentina so he offered the lesser of two evils as to have further discussion on the matter. It is the same when voting for a piece of legislation. Canon law allows for the politician voting for the legislation that is the lesser of two evils when there is no good option.

Woites’s statements contradict a New York Times article published yesterday stating, “Faced with the near certain passage of the gay marriage bill, Cardinal Bergoglio offered the civil union compromise as the ‘lesser of two evils,’ said Sergio Rubin, his authorized biographer. ‘He wagered on a position of greater dialogue with society.'”

Here is the article http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/bergoglio-didnt-suggest-endorsing-homosexual-civil-unions-in-2010-says-conf

Fr. Orsi at Ave Maria is taking bishops to task for being unwilling to refuse Holy Communion to politicians who are in grave sin those who support abortion and euthanasia.  I’d add being in support of same-sex marriage to the list. Both Biden and Pelosi received Communion at Pope Francis’ installation mass. These type of politicians have been obstinate for so long and the bishops’ pastoral approach hasn’t worked over a lengthy period of time that a more visible act of standing for the faith and against scandal is necessary.  Here is a bit of what Fr. Orsi has to say:

Politicians such as Biden and Pelosi have been stubborn and contumacious in their pro-abortion policies and in presenting themselves for reception of the Eucharist. They know that the American bishops, for the most part, prefer a “pastoral approach,” which means basically let’s talk to them and help them to see the error of their ways. It has not worked, and there is no indication that it will. The topic of this essay is proof enough! They also know that Catholic priests are instructed not to cause a scene on the Communion line and that the person be permitted to receive. Thus, they opt to take advantage of these charitable loopholes.

There is a solution and perhaps some hope for stronger enforcement of Church policy on offending pols. The Vatican should clearly state that politicians who promote a culture of death, abortion, and euthanasia, are subject to excommunication by their bishop. Pope-Emeritus  Benedict XVI  made an unofficial statement on a trip to Mexico, in 2007, stating  that excommunication for pro choice legislators was not arbitrary and is part of canon law.  This would strengthen Canon 915 and some bishops’ backbones.

It is well known that Pope Francis forbade pro- choice politicians from receiving Holy Communion in his diocese, in Argentina.  Perhaps the new Pope can move this project along?

By the bishops refusing to take strong action, such as excommunication, politicians will continue their “in your face” attitude toward the church and her leaders. Such a failure will also continue to allow Catholics and people of good will to be scandalized. Even worse, it gives the impression that others may follow the behavior of wayward  politicians with impunity.

Biden and Pelosi only did at the Vatican what they have been allowed to do at home.  As the great Lutheran pastor Dietrich Bonheoffer stated so well, dear bishops;  Not to act is to act!

http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/ave-maria-law-priest-takes-bishops-to-task-for-failing-to-deny-communion-to?utm_source=LifeSiteNews.com+Daily+Newsletter&utm_campaign=80c9604d99-LifeSiteNews_com_US_Headlines_03_20_2013&utm_medium=email

Dang those sequester cuts. Bang. Bop. That hurts… Wait!!! Hold on… stop listening to the MSM meme. Were there really cuts to government agencies because of the sequester? To Find out you can visit The Sequester Lies: Where are the Republicans? at Conservative Hideout. It’s all laid out neatly in a graph.

The Conservative Lady has a post titled A New “Most Dangerous” Man in America?   This person is a mayor of a major city but he has much influence over national politics.  He is a radical who wants to change (er take away) your rights using force.  He is not only against illegal guns but is also against legal guns.

1CatholicSalmon has a good post called Palm Sunday – the day after tomorrow, and Holy Week begins. Doesn’t it seem like Lent has flown by? Hard to believe it’s already almost one day before Holy Week begins.

Biltrix has a great post called Father, Forgive Them!  Fr. Jason Smith explains about having the urge to throw away his anger toward Judas betrayal when he hears the words “Father forgive them.”  This had me questioning, should we really be angry at Judas? Wasn’t he apart of God’s divine plan? An essential part? Without Judas would Jesus have died to save our sins? Possibly…. but since this is what happened in God’s divine plan to save all of humanity from sin wouldn’t giving thanks to Judas be more appropriate?  We all sin and whether the sin be big or small if we ask for forgiveness God will grant His mercy and forgive us. For this reason and with there being conflicting accounts of Judas’ death  I do believe that it is possible that Judas repented before his death. This would mean that Judas would have been forgiven by God just as the rest of us are forgiven when we repent in Reconciliation.

 

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Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the Season of Lent. It is a season of penance, reflection, and fasting which prepares us for Christ’s Resurrection on Easter Sunday, through which we attain redemption.

Why we receive the ashes

Following the example of the Nine vites, who did penance in sackcloth and ashes, our foreheads are marked with ashes to humble our hearts and reminds us that life passes away on Earth. We remember this when we are told

“Remember, Man is dust, and unto dust you shall return.”

Ashes are a symbol of penance made sacramental by the blessing of the Church, and they help us develop a spirit of humility and sacrifice.

Biblical significance

The distribution of ashes comes from a ceremony of ages past. Christians who had committed grave faults performed public penance. On Ash Wednesday, the Bishop blessed the hair shirts which they were to wear during the forty days of penance, and sprinkled over them ashes made from the palms from the previous year. Then, while the faithful recited the Seven Penitential Psalms, the penitents were turned out of the church because of their sins — just as Adam, the first man, was turned out of Paradise because of his disobedience. The penitents did not enter the church again until Maundy Thursday after having won reconciliation by the toil of forty days’ penance and sacramental absolution. Later, all Christians, whether public or secret penitents, came to receive ashes out of devotion. In earlier times, the distribution of ashes was followed by a penitential procession.

Ashes were used in ancient times to express mourning. Dusting oneself with ashes was the penitent’s way of expressing sorrow for sins and faults. An ancient example of one expressing one’s penitence is found in Job 42:3–6. Job says to God: “I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee. The other eye wandereth of its own accord. Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.” (vv. 5–6, KJV) The prophet Jeremiah, for example, calls for repentance this way: “O daughter of my people, gird on sackcloth, roll in the ashes” (Jer 6:26). The prophet Daniel recounted pleading to God this way: “I turned to the Lord God, pleading in earnest prayer, with fasting, sackcloth and ashes” (Daniel 9:3). Just prior to the New Testament period, the rebels fighting for Jewish independence, the Maccabees, prepared for battle using ashes: “That day they fasted and wore sackcloth; they sprinkled ashes on their heads and tore their clothes” (1 Maccabees 3:47; see also 4:39).

Other examples are found in several other books of the Bible including,Numbers 19:9, 19:17, Jonah 3:6, Matthew 11:21, and Luke 10:13, and Hebrews 9:13. Ezekiel 9 also speaks of a linen-clad messenger marking the forehead of the city inhabitants that have sorrow over the sins of the people. All those without the mark are destroyed.

It marks the start of a 43-day period which is an allusion to the separation of Jesus in the desert to fast and pray. During this time he was tempted. Matthew 4:1–11, Mark 1:12–13, and Luke 4:1–13.[19] While not specifically instituted in the Bible text, the 40-day period of repentance is also analogous to the 40 days during which Moses repented and fasted in response to the making of the Golden calf. (Jews today follow a 40-day period of repenting in preparation for and during the High Holy Days from Rosh Chodesh Elul to Yom Kippur.)

All this information was posted from Catholic Online 

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