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February 28, 2020

‘A reading from the Holy Gospel/Matthew’

‘Jesus was led by the Spirit out into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. He fasted for 40 days and forty nights, after which he was very hungry and the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to turn into loaves.” But he replied, “ Scripture says: Man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”

Dear Little hearts,

Now we again look forward to the Liturgy of the first Sunday of Lent.

The key points are, the WORD, Fasting and Temptation. Fasting takes real effort and self-discipline on our part, but there is no doubt about it that it sharpens up our spiritual sensitivities and helps us regarding self-control in various areas of our lives. Fasting as it is understood in a Christian sense is much abused, it is not about dieting. It is about saying no to our self-indulgences, greed, and self-gratification with food etc

Jesus’s 40 Days of fasting enabled him to have the strength he needed to resist the Devil, it took all he had physically to persevere but he was motivated by love, love for his Father and his mission. As St Clare says, ‘our fasting needs to be seasoned with salt’ meaning we are not too fast to such an extent that we abuse our bodies and make ourselves ill , a degree of prudence is called for.

Many of us are not able to fast from food, so what then? Then in prayer we have to find and name our own abuses, misuses of our eyes and tongues, and it is a very real fast to fast from a lack of charity, to refrain from the unkind word, gestures, to refrain from ignoring the difficult person(s) in our lives.

Each of us knows where we fail, and it is the attitude we have that needs changing.

If we are able to fast from excesses in food that is praiseworthy providing we keep it between us and the Lord. Always examine your motivation.

Jesus defended himself against Satan with the WORD, true the evil one knew the scriptures, but his use of it was a lie, a distortion of truth, it certainly was not spoken in love, desiring the good.

We too this Lent need to defend ourselves by immersing our hearts and soul in the word.

We all know how compelling, all engaging our temptations can be, especially when they pertain in some way or another with our relationships with others.

Sometimes a temptation can be relentless and there are varying degrees of the temptation, but its aim is to lead us into sin. The Christian journey is a battle it is not an easy option, so be prepared and ward the shadows off with fasting and PRAISE!! The evil one hates singing!! So Praise the Lord !!

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Behold- Hold- Enfold.

Lectio Divina

Prepare. ( Silencio) -We prepare by making ourselves aware that we need to come to stillness, surrendering to the silence, and then pray from the Heart, in our own words, to the Holy Spirit to guide us and help us through this time of prayer.

Read. (Lectio)- Now read the text slowly, then pause- read it again, allowing the Holy Spirit space to breathe, then pause, and read it or even sing it out aloud. When you find that your heart connects with some word, phrase, verse in particular, allow time for that verse to speak its own message.

Reflect. (Meditatio)- Re-read the Passage , the verse over again, and then reflect quietly what this word is saying to you at this moment, …….. sit in silence thinking upon the word, what is it saying to you in your life now. Try and enter in to the scene.

Pray. (Oratio)- Now pray with the text in your own simple words, respond to what God has given to you in this word, tell God what your response is, enter into a conversation, an exchange with him, pray with this word as you feel the Holy Spirit is enlightening you.

Rest ( Contemplatio) Now abide- rest in His Presence, allow him to enfold you in his love, just be!! Words at this stage are not needed, or if they are whispered words of love and praise between your hearts. The time that you allow for this is your choice.

*The latin terms used here are of course from the Benedictine Tradition and give one a good framework, but the steps of :

Behold- (read), Hold-( ponder in the heart), Enfold (Embrace, let the silence of love speak, surrender to the Lord, dwell in His love ).

These three steps are easily remembered and practised, but both approaches have their place.

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Pope: During Lent, turn off TV, smartphones, open Bible

· Feb 27th, 2020

Source: Vatican News

During his General Audience with pilgrims in St Peter’s Square on Ash Wednesday, Pope Francis said “Lent,” Pope Francis is a time in which to turn off the television and open the Bible.”

During his catechesis the Pope reflected on the 40 days spent by Jesus in the desert as He prepared for His public ministry and said that, in a sense, it is a time for us to imitate Jesus and seek a place of silence, where we are free to hear the Lord’s word and experience His call.

“In the desert one hears the Word of God,” he said, “one finds intimacy with God and the love of the Lord,” noting that Jesus taught us how to seek the Father, who speaks to us in silence.

He remarked on the fact that, for many of us, it is not easy to be in silence as we live in an environment that is “polluted by too much verbal violence,” by so many “offensive and harmful words” which are amplified by the internet.

“Lent is a time to disconnect from cell phones and connect to the Gospel,” he said, recalling that when he was a child there was no television, but his family would make a point of not listening to the radio.

“It is the time to give up useless words, chatter, rumours, gossip, and talk and to speak directly to the Lord,” he said, it is a time in which to dedicated ourselves to an ecology of the heart.

In a world in which we often struggle to distinguish the voice of the Lord, Jesus calls us into the desert and invites us to listen to what matters, Pope Francis explained. And he recalled that when the devil tempted Him, Jesus replied “One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes forth from the mouth of God.”

Thus the desert, represented by the journey of Lent, he continued, is a place of life, a place in which to dialogue in silence with the Lord who gives us life.

The Pope also reflected on how an important part of our Lenten desert experience is the practice of fasting, which trains us to recognize, in simplicity of heart, how often our lives are spent in empty and superficial pursuits.

“Fasting is being capable of giving up the superfluous and going to the essential. Fasting is not only losing weight, it is seeking the beauty of a simpler life,” he said.

The Pope also noted that the solitude of the desert increases our sensitivity to those who quietly cry out for help.

“Even today, close to us, there are many deserts, many lonely people: they are the lonely and the abandoned. How many poor and old people live near us in silence, marginalized and discarded, “he said.

The desert of Lent leads us to them, he continued. It is a journey of charity towards those who are weak and in need.

Pope Francis concluded his catechesis reiterating that the path through the Lenten desert is made up of “prayer, fasting, works of mercy”, so that it may lead us “from death to life”.

“If we enter the desert with Jesus, we will leave it at Easter when the power of God’s love renews life,” he said, and just like those deserts that bloom in spring with buds and plants suddenly sprouting from the sand, if we follow Jesus, our deserts will also bloom.

At the end of the audience Pope Francis expresses his closeness to those who are ill with the coronavirus, to doctors, nurses, hospital staff caring for them and civil authorities working to contain the spread of the virus.

Latest figures show that Covid-19 is spreading in Europe, the Middle East and other parts of the world, while parts of China begin to lower their emergency response level as the number of new cases reported there continues to slow.

More deaths have been reported in Italy, while South Korea on Wednesday said an 11th person had died of the disease there.

Globally, at least 80,000 people have been diagnosed with the illness.

community@marianhouseoftheholyspiritpcc.org

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