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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

Saint Ephraem and Prayer

Prayer of Saint Ephraim


O Lord and Master of my life,
Grant not unto me a spirit of idleness,
of discouragement,
of lust for power,
and of vain speaking.

But bestow upon me, Thy servant,
the spirit of chastity,
of meekness,
of patience,
and of love.

Yea, O Lord and King,
grant that I may perceive
my own transgressions,
and judge not my brother,
for blessed art Thou
unto ages of ages.
Amen.

ASH WEDNESDAY

Today’s email from the Poor Clare Colettines TMD

Remember, O man, that you are dust and unto dust you shall return-Turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospel

Praise to you, O Christ, King of eternal glory!

A pure heart create for me , O God,

And give me again the joy of your help.

Praise to you, O Christ, king of eternal glory!

(Gospel acclamation)

Dear Little hearts,

A grace filled Ash Wednesday to you all, you are all in our prayers this day, may you know joy be your ‘return’ this day be great or small, lovingly all your sisters

As Gods co-workers, we beg you once again not to neglect the grace of God that you have received. For he says at a favourable time, I have listened to you; on the day of salvation I came to your help. Well now is the favourable time; this is the day of salvation.-2Cor: 6-2.

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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.

……………………………………………………..

Pope Francis’ Message for Lent 2020

· Feb 24th, 2020

The title of Pope Francis’ Message for Lent this year is: ‘We implore you on behalf of Christ: be reconciled to God’, a quote from St Paul’s Second Letter to the Corinthians.

In his Message the Holy Father points to the paschal mystery – the mystery of Jesus’ Passion, Death, and Resurrection – as the basis of conversion.

“This kerygma (fundamental proclamation of the Gospel message) sums up the mystery of a love ‘so real, so true, so concrete, that it invites us to a relationship of openness and fruitful dialogue’ (Christus vivit, 117)”, the Pope writes. “Whoever believes this message rejects the lie that our life is ours to do as we will.”

Pope Francis says that during this season of Lent, he wants to invite the faithful to fix their eyes on the crucified Lord, and allow ourselves “to be saved over and over again.” “Jesus’ Pasch is not a past event; rather, through the power of the Holy Spirit it is ever present, enabling us to see and touch with faith the flesh of Christ in those who suffer.”

The Holy Father emphasises the importance of prayer during Lent, as a means of responding to God’s love, “which always precedes and sustains us”. We are also called to hear and respond to the Word of Jesus, in order to experience “the mercy He freely gives us.”

God is always engaged in a “dialogue of salvation with us,” despite our weaknesses and failings, the Pope says. This desire to save us “led the Father to burden His Son with the weight of our sins, thus, in the expression of Pope Benedict XVI, ‘turning of God against Himself’ (Deus caritas est, 12)”.

“Putting the paschal mystery at the centre of our lives means feeling compassion towards the wounds of the crucified Christ present in the many innocent victims of wars, in attacks on life, from that of the unborn to that of the elderly, and various forms of violence”. This means being personally committed to and involved in “the building of a better world”, the Pope says. In commending charitable giving, the Pope notes the meeting he has convened for the end of March “with young economists, entrepreneurs and change-makers, with the aim of shaping a more just and inclusive economy.”

Pope Francis concludes his message with a prayer to the Blessed Virgin Mary “that our Lenten celebration will open our hearts to hear God’s call to be reconciled to Himself, to fix our gaze on the paschal mystery, and to be converted to an open and sincere dialogue with Him”.

The full text follows:

MESSAGE OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS FOR LENT 2020

“We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God” (2 Cor 5:20)

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

This year the Lord grants us, once again, a favourable time to prepare to celebrate with renewed hearts the great mystery of the death and resurrection of Jesus, the cornerstone of our personal and communal Christian life. We must continually return to this mystery in mind and heart, for it will continue to grow within us in the measure that we are open to its spiritual power and respond with freedom and generosity.

1. The paschal mystery as the basis of conversion

Christian joy flows from listening to, and accepting, the Good News of the death and resurrection of Jesus. This kerygma sums up the mystery of a love “so real, so true, so concrete, that it invites us to a relationship of openness and fruitful dialogue” (Christus Vivit, 117). Whoever believes this message rejects the lie that our life is ours to do with as we will. Rather, life is born of the love of God our Father, from his desire to grant us life in abundance (cf. Jn 10:10). If we listen instead to the tempting voice of the “father of lies” (Jn 8:44), we risk sinking into the abyss of absurdity, and experiencing hell here on earth, as all too many tragic events in the personal and collective human experience sadly bear witness.

In this Lent of 2020, I would like to share with every Christian what I wrote to young people in the Apostolic Exhortation Christus Vivit: “Keep your eyes fixed on the outstretched arms of Christ crucified, let yourself be saved over and over again. And when you go to confess your sins, believe firmly in his mercy which frees you of your guilt. Contemplate his blood poured out with such great love, and let yourself be cleansed by it. In this way, you can be reborn ever anew” (No. 123). Jesus’ Pasch is not a past event; rather, through the power of the Holy Spirit it is ever present, enabling us to see and touch with faith the flesh of Christ in those who suffer.

2. The urgency of conversion

It is good to contemplate more deeply the paschal mystery through which God’s mercy has been bestowed upon us. Indeed, the experience of mercy is only possible in a “face to face” relationship with the crucified and risen Lord “who loved me and gave himself for me” (Gal 2:20), in a heartfelt dialogue between friends. That is why prayer is so important in Lent. Even more than a duty, prayer is an expression of our need to respond to God’s love which always precedes and sustains us. Christians pray in the knowledge that, although unworthy, we are still loved. Prayer can take any number of different forms, but what truly matters in God’s eyes is that it penetrates deep within us and chips away at our hardness of heart, in order to convert us ever more fully to God and to his will.

In this favourable season, then, may we allow ourselves to be led like Israel into the desert (cf. Hos 2:14), so that we can at last hear our Spouse’s voice and allow it to resound ever more deeply within us. The more fully we are engaged with his word, the more we will experience the mercy he freely gives us. May we not let this time of grace pass in vain, in the foolish illusion that we can control the times and means of our conversion to him.

3. God’s passionate will to dialogue with his children

The fact that the Lord once again offers us a favourable time for our conversion should never be taken for granted. This new opportunity ought to awaken in us a sense of gratitude and stir us from our sloth. Despite the sometimes tragic presence of evil in our lives, and in the life of the Church and the world, this opportunity to change our course expresses God’s unwavering will not to interrupt his dialogue of salvation with us. In the crucified Jesus, who knew no sin, yet for our sake was made to be sin (cf. 2 Cor 5:21), this saving will led the Father to burden his Son with the weight of our sins, thus, in the expression of Pope Benedict XVI, “turning of God against himself” (Deus Caritas Est, 12). For God also loves his enemies (cf. Mt 5:43-48).

The dialogue that God wishes to establish with each of us through the paschal mystery of his Son has nothing to do with empty chatter, like that attributed to the ancient inhabitants of Athens, who “spent their time in nothing except telling or hearing something new” (Acts 17:21). Such chatter, determined by an empty and superficial curiosity, characterizes worldliness in every age; in our own day, it can also result in improper use of the media.

4. A richness to be shared, not kept for oneself

Putting the paschal mystery at the centre of our lives means feeling compassion towards the wounds of the crucified Christ present in the many innocent victims of wars, in attacks on life, from that of the unborn to that of the elderly, and various forms of violence. They are likewise present in environmental disasters, the unequal distribution of the earth’s goods, human trafficking in all its forms, and the unbridled thirst for profit, which is a form of idolatry.

Today too, there is a need to appeal to men and women of good will to share, by almsgiving, their goods with those most in need, as a means of personally participating in the building of a better world. Charitable giving makes us more human, whereas hoarding risks making us less human, imprisoned by our own selfishness. We can and must go even further, and consider the structural aspects of our economic life. For this reason, in the midst of Lent this year, from 26 to 28 March, I have convened a meeting in Assisi with young economists, entrepreneurs and change-makers, with the aim of shaping a more just and inclusive economy. As the Church’s magisterium has often repeated, political life represents an eminent form of charity (cf. Pius XI, Address to the Italian Federation of Catholic University Students, 18 December 1927). The same holds true for economic life, which can be approached in the same evangelical spirit, the spirit of the Beatitudes.

I ask Mary Most Holy to pray that our Lenten celebration will open our hearts to hear God’s call to be reconciled to himself, to fix our gaze on the paschal mystery, and to be converted to an open and sincere dialogue with him. In this way, we will become what Christ asks his disciples to be: the salt of the earth and the light of the world (cf. Mt 5:13-14).

Francis

Rome, at Saint John Lateran, 7 October 2019
Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary

community@marianhouseoftheholyspiritpcc.org