Readings for Monday 10 March 2014 (First Week of Lent)
Lev 19:1-2, 11-18. Ps 18:8-10, 15, R/ Jn 6:64. Mt 25:31-46. www.catholicbishops.ie/readings
The Gospel reminds us that Jesus came to preach good news to the poor. At the beginning of Lent we again get a reminder that good works are essential to our proper observance of the season, along with prayer and fasting.
Fasting and Asceticism
Paul Evdokimov, a Russian Orthodox lay theologian who was an observer at the Second Vatican Council had this to say about fasting and self-discipline and it is appropriate during this Lenten season:
“Asceticism today would be a liberation from all kinds of doping: speed, noise, stimulants, drugs, alcohol of all kinds. It would involve imposed rest, a discipline of calm and silence where the person finds again the ability to stop for prayer and contemplation, even amid the noise of the world, in the underground, in the crowd, at the crossroads of the town; above all, the ability to be attentive to the presence of others, the friends of each meeting. Fasting would be the joyful renunciation of all that is superfluous, sharing with the poor, a joyous, natural balance.
“Asceticism therefore becomes an attentiveness to the call of the gospel, to the demands of the beatitudes: humility, purity of heart, in order to take one’s neighbour and return them to God. Our task is to find and to live a “spiritual childhood”, an evangelical freshness and simplicity of the “little way” which leads us to sit down at the table of sinners, to bless and to break bread together.”
(Translated from French)
Music during Lent
Seán Ó Riada – Kyrie eleison
Seán Ó Riada (1 August 1931 – 3 October 1971), was an Irish composer and bandleader, and perhaps the single most influential figure in the renaissance of traditional Irish music from the 1960s, through his participation in Ceoltóirí Chualann, his compositions, his writings and his broadcasts on the topic.
Click here to listen to a beautiful version of his Kyrie.
Excerpt from Evangelii Gaudium (The Joy of the Gospel) by Pope Francis
“To believe in a Father who loves all men and women with an infinite love means realizing that “he thereby confers upon them an infinite dignity”. To believe that the Son of God assumed our human flesh means that each human person has been taken up into the very heart of God. To believe that Jesus shed his blood for us removes any doubt about the boundless love which ennobles each human being. Our redemption has a social dimension because “God, in Christ, redeems not only the individual person, but also the social relations existing between men”. To believe that the Holy Spirit is at work in everyone means realizing that he seeks to penetrate every human situation and all social bonds: “The Holy Spirit can be said to possess an infinite creativity, proper to the divine mind, which knows how to loosen the knots of human affairs, even the most complex and inscrutable”. Evangelization is meant to cooperate with this liberating work of the Spirit. The very mystery of the Trinity reminds us that we have been created in the image of that divine communion, and so we cannot achieve fulfilment or salvation purely by our own efforts. From the heart of the Gospel we see the profound connection between evangelization and human advancement, which must necessarily find expression and develop in every work of evangelization. Accepting the first proclamation, which invites us to receive God’s love and to love him in return with the very love which is his gift, brings forth in our lives and actions a primary and fundamental response: to desire, seek and protect the good of others.” – Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium 178
To read the full text of Evangelii Gaudium please click here.
Bishop Brendan Leahy’s Lenten Message
“Lent is an opportunity for the people in thrall to addictions to try to break them and it is also an opportunity for those close to them to make a sacrifice in solidarity with them.
“Our Lenten commitment does not only have to be about giving up something we will miss but don’t need. It can simply be about giving; whether that is more of our time to people affected by additions or to their family members in supporting them through a very difficult situation, to volunteerism or by simply donating money towards worthy causes. It can be also be by giving more of our time to offering up prayers for them.”
Click here for the full text of Bishop Leahy’s Lenten message.
Daily Lenten Prayers
(i) Tearmann – Do phaidir laethúil ar líne – www.sacredspace.ie
Tugaimid cuireadh duit Spás Tearmainn a chur isteach i do lá, agus deich nóiméad a chaitheamh ag guí anois láithreach, agus tú ag suí os comhair do ríomhaire, le cabhair ó threoir scáileáin agus le scrioptúr a roghnaítear go speisialta gach lá.
(ii) Lenten Prayer for Spiritual Renewal
God, heavenly Father, look upon me and hear my prayer during this holy Season of Lent. By the good works You inspire, help me to discipline my body and to be renewed in spirit.
Without You I can do nothing. By Your Spirit help me to know what is right and to be eager in doing Your will. Teach me to find new life through penance. Keep me from sin, and help me live by Your commandment of love. God of love, bring me back to You. Send Your Spirit to make me strong in faith and active in goodworks. May my acts of penance bring me Your forgiveness, open my heart to Your love, and prepare me for the coming feast of the Resurrection of Jesus.
Lord, during this Lenten Season, nourish me with Your Word of life and make me one with You in love and prayer.
Fill my heart with Your love and keep me faithful to the Gospel of Christ. Give me the grace to rise above my human weakness. Give me new life by Your Sacraments, especially the Mass.
Father, our source of life, I reach out with joy to grasp Your hand; let me walk more readily in Your ways. Guide me in Your gentle mercy, for left to myself I cannot do Your Will.
Father of love, source of all blessings, help me to pass from my old life of sin to the new life of grace. Prepare me for the glory of Your Kingdom. I ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, Who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever.
Reflections for Lent from the Diocese of Elphin
Week 1: Temptation of Jesus Mt 4:1-11
How easy it is to make decisions without reference to God or a true reverence for God! Have you noticed too how temptation often presents as a quick route to immediate happiness, tugging at our heartstrings, elevating self-sufficiency, self-satisfaction and even self-aggrandisement (living as if our choices were of no interest to God)? And yet the reality never matches the expectation.
Over the years many people, strengthened in the Spirit, have modelled the good fight against temptation for us. Living bibles, they have illuminated the way to God and true happiness. Now it is our turn. For all our short-comings we remain the Lord’s disciples in this time and place. Is the road an easy one? Not for most of us. We too have crosses to carry (Mk 9:34), wounded natures to contend with, but for all that we are not alone.
Is there a simple prayer or biblical phrase that helps you in your struggle? St. Philip Neri was many times heard to pray “Lord, do not trust Philip!” For others the phrase “Lord, be merciful to me a sinner!” has engendered confidence.
This Lent may we be true to the deeper yearning of our hearts. St. Augustine put it well: “For you have made us for yourself O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you”.
Resources on the Vatican website for Lent 2014
The Vatican is collating all the resources for Lent 2014 on a special link on the home page of www.vatican.va. It includes the catechesis, addresses and homilies of the Holy Father, information on liturgical events and video and other multimedia content. Click here to access it.
The Meaning of Lent
The English word ‘Lent’ comes from the Anglo-Saxon word Lencten, meaning ‘Spring’. In other languages the word comes from the Latin, Quadragesima – a period of 40 days. In the Christian tradition the forty days is understood to refer to a time of intense prayer and preparation; we remember the biblical stories of Noah and the flood of 40 days, the forty years the Israelites spent wandering in the wilderness and Christ’s forty day fast in the desert in preparation for his earthly ministry.