Lent

LENTEN FIRE: Thursday After Ash Wednesday

February 15, 2013

From Becoming Fire: Through the Year with the Desert Fathers and Mothers  The Mirror of Sins Abba Macarius said: If you look into a mirror to observe yourself, it will inform you of your beauty or of your ugliness.  You cannot hide anything from it nor will it lie to you in any way; no, it produces a lifelike image and reflects back your own image and reproduces all your features and characteristics: if you smile, you see what sort of a smile it is; it will show you that your black hair is black and your gray hair is gray and it will real you to yourself and show you what you really look like. It will be the same at the place of judgment, from which one cannot flee.  There it is not a mirror made by human hands but deeds laid bare that [...]

FURSA IN LENT: Day Two by Paul Wallis

February 14, 2013

From Be Thou My Breastplate May the yoke of the Law of God be upon this shoulder. (Fursa’s Breastplate) The yoke’s technology is simple yet profound.  The rigid strength of a two-oxen yoke ensures that the power of both animals is harnessed for, if one beast outpaces the other, the faster ox soon realizes that it is bearing the burden of the whole load.  The ox-master would quickly sense it too because his machine would lose power.  Not only would the farmer find he was plowing with the power of a single ox but that animal’s power would itself be diminished by the added burden of having to drag, along with the plow, the dawdling second beast.  This would be painful for the leading ox and a loss to the ox-master.  But [...]

ASH WEDNESDAY: Rend Your Hearts by Wendy M. Wright

February 14, 2013

From The Rising: Living the Mysteries of Lent, Easter, and Pentecost  It is common to think of Heaven, God’s place, as ordered and harmonious.  Dante depicted it this way in the third book of his Divine Comedy.  Shining, light-filled, an eternal pearl, Dante’s holy spheres reflect the Divine Intelligence in their circling unity.  So, too, Hildegard of Bingen, the twelfth-century Benedictine abyss, in her visionary treatise, Scivias, beheld the heights of Heaven and in it the choirs of angels arranged in ever-widening concentric circles, mandala-like, their celestial voices raised in magnificent and mellifluous chorus. As with Heaven, so with God.  Our most common imaginings about God are of peace, beauty, fullness, wholeness, [...]

LENTEN FIRE: Ash Wednesday

February 14, 2013

From Becoming Fire: Through the Year with the Desert Fathers and Mothers  On Not Judging Others A brother did wrong one time at Scetis and when a council was called about it, they sent for Abba Moses, but he refused to come.  So the priest sent someone to him, saying, “Come, the community is waiting for you.” He got up and went and, picking up a large basket with a hole in the bottom, filled it with sand, and carried it with him.  When he arrived at the meeting, those who came out to meet him said to him, “What’s this, father?” The old man said, “My sins trickle out behind me and I do not see them and yet I have come today to judge someone else’s sins.” When they heard this, they did not [...]

FURSA IN LENT: Day One by Paul Wallis

February 13, 2013

From Be Thou My Breastplate May the yoke of the Law of God be upon this shoulder. (Fursa’s Breastplate) Of all the things mankind has made, few inventions have ever surpassed the phenomenal importance of the humble yoke. Think of it: in the time before the yoke our distant ancestor was able to plow just enough land for himself. With an animal and a plow, perhaps this man could farm just enough for his family to make a living from their humble little strip of land. Bear in mind that if the family ever outgrew the men’s ability to farm, the family would become scattered – its members disconnected from the land and dispersed to a life of serving others as serfs or wandering the country as nomads. Thus scattered, the [...]

POETRY: The Last Miracle by J. Barrie Shepherd

April 18, 2012

What did you, could you think as they pounded through your open palms forcing coarse, bloody iron nails to sink deep into the splintered wood? Did you feel the grasp of panic, that sudden, stomach-wrenching sense that this, at the very last, is it — no further chance of changing, turning back? Were you, perhaps, bewildered, having hoped, despite defiant words, for at least one late and minor miracle on your own behalf, considering all the rest? Did flooding fear compound with rage and hate at the sheer blind brutality of soldiers, fellow sons of God, treating you like meat to be hung raw in a butcher’s window? Or dare we yet believe what was written, that your concern was, even at the end, to shield, to plead the cause of all who wield [...]

STATIONS OF THE CROSS: Part 14 — Jesus Is Laid In The Tomb, by Michel Quoist

April 2, 2012

From: Prayer On The Way Of The Cross  Christ is still dying. He continues to offer himself to his Father for the redemption of the world through the men who today suffer and die around us. The Way of the Cross is also the way to life; this a real Christian should never forget. In this mortal frame of mine, I help to pay off the debt which the afflictions of Christ still leave to be paid, for the sake of his body, the Church. (Colossians 1:24) The sufferings of Christ, it is true, overflow into our lives; but there is overflowing comfort, too, which Christ brings to us. (II Corinthians 1:5) Let’s forget it now, And all go home. He is buried and the stone is in place. His family is in tears, his friends are lost. This time it is [...]

STATIONS OF THE CROSS: Part 13 — Jesus Is Given To His Mother, by Michel Quoist

April 2, 2012

From: Prayer On The Way Of The Cross Christ is still dying. He continues to offer himself to his Father for the redemption of the world through the men who today suffer and die around us. The Way of the Cross is also the way to life; this a real Christian should never forget. And his mother said to him, “My son, why hast thou treated us so?  Think, what anguish of mind thy father and I have endured, searching for thee.”  But he asked them, “What reason had you to search for me?  Could you not tell that I must needs be about my Father’s business?”  (Luke 2:48-49) Your work is done. You can leave your Cross, You can come down to rest, you have surely earned it. Slowly you slip down, like a man weary of [...]

STATIONS OF THE CROSS: Part 12 —Jesus Dies On The Cross, by Michel Quoist

April 2, 2012

From Prayer On The Way Of The Cross  Christ is still dying. He continues to offer himself to his Father for the redemption of the world through the men who today suffer and die around us. The Way of the Cross is also the way to life; this a real Christian should never forget. He dispossessed himself, and took the nature of a slave, fashioned in the likeness of men, and presenting himself to us in human form; and then he lowered his own dignity, accepted an obedience which brought him to death, death on a cross. (Philippians 2:7-8) We too must be ready to lay down our lives for the sake of our brethren. (1 John 3:16) A few hours more, A few minutes more, A few instants more. For thirty-three years it has been going on. For thirty-three [...]

STATIONS OF THE CROSS: Part 11 — Jesus Is Nailed To The Cross, by Michel Quoist

April 2, 2012

From: Prayer On The Way Of The Cross Christ is still dying. He continues to offer himself to his Father for the redemption of the world through the men who today suffer and die around us. The Way of the Cross is also the way to life; this a real Christian should never forget. With Christ I hang upon the cross, and yet I am alive; or rather, not I; it is Christ that lives in me.  True, I am living, here and now, this mortal life; but my real life is the faith I have in the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:19-20) Lord, you stretch at full length on the Cross. There. Without a doubt, it is made for you. You cover it entirely, and to adhere to it more surely, you allow men to nail you carefully to it. Lord, it [...]

STATIONS OF THE CROSS: Part 10 — Jesus Is Stripped Of His Garments, by Michel Quoist

April 1, 2012

From: Prayer On The Way Of The Cross Christ is still dying. He continues to offer himself to his Father for the redemption of the world through the men who today suffer and die around us. The Way of the Cross is also the way to life; this a real Christian should never forget. The time has come now for the Son of Man to achieve his glory. Believe me when I tell you this: a grain of wheat must fall into the ground and die, or else it remains nothing more than a grain of wheat; but if it dies, then it yields rich fruit. (John 12:23-24) You had nothing left but your own cloak; You were fond of it, your Mother had woven it for you. But this, too, had to go. One thing only is needful, Lord, your Cross. Nothing comes now between you and the [...]

STATIONS OF THE CROSS: Part 9 — Jesus Falls For The Third Time, by Michel Quoist

April 1, 2012

From: Prayer On The Way Of The Cross Christ is still dying. He continues to offer himself to his Father for the redemption of the world through the men who today suffer and die around us. The Way of the Cross is also the way to life; this a real Christian should never forget. Jesus said to him, “Believe me, this night, before the cock crows, thou wilt thrice disown me. ” (Matthew 26:34) Peter was deeply moved when he was asked a third time, “Dost thou love me?”  and said to him, “Lord, thou knowest all things; thou canst tell that I love thee.” (John 21:17) Again. You do not move, for all the soldiers’ beating. Lord, are you dead? No, but utterly spent. A minute of terrible anxiety. But you [...]

STATIONS OF THE CROSS: Part 8 — Jesus Rebukes The Daughters Of Jerusalem, by Michel Quoist

April 1, 2012

From: Prayer On The Way Of The Cross Christ is still dying. He continues to offer himself to his Father for the redemption of the world through the men who today suffer and die around us. The Way of the Cross is also the way to life; this a real Christian should never forget. How is it that thou canst see the speck of dust which is in thy brother’s eyes, and art not aware of the beam which is in thy own?  By what right wilt thou say to thy brother, “Brother, let me rid thy eye of that speck,” when thou canst not see the beam that is in thy own?  Thou hypocrite, take the beam out of thy own first, and so thou shalt have clear sight to rid thy brother’s of the speck. (Luke 6:41-42) They weep. They sob. It’s [...]

STATIONS OF THE CROSS: Part 7 — Jesus Falls For The Second Time, by Michel Quoist

March 31, 2012

From: Prayer On The Way Of The Cross Christ is still dying. He continues to offer himself to his Father for the redemption of the world through the men who today suffer and die around us. The Way of the Cross is also the way to life; this a real Christian should never forget. They all grew drowsy, and fell asleep. (Matthew 25:5) Only look well to yourselves; do not let your hearts grow dull.  Keep watch, then, praying at all times, so that you may be found worthy to come safe through all that lies before you, and stand erect to meet the presence of the Son of Man. (Luke 21:34,36) Lord, you are spent. Again you have fallen to the ground. This time you fall not only from the weight of the Cross, but from exhaustion. Recurrent suffering [...]

STATIONS OF THE CROSS: Part 6 — A Woman Wipes The Face Of Jesus, by Michel Quoist

March 31, 2012

From: Prayer On The Way Of The Cross Christ is still dying. He continues to offer himself to his Father for the redemption of the world through the men who today suffer and die around us. The Way of the Cross is also the way to life; this a real Christian should never forget. We carry about continually in our bodies the dying state of Jesus, so that the living power of Jesus may be manifested in our bodies, too. (II Corinthians 4:10) At present, we are looking at a confused reflection in a mirror; then, we shall see face to face. (I Corinthians 13:12) For a long time, Lord, her eyes were on you; She suffered from your suffering. Unable to bear it any longer, she pushed the soldiers aside, and with a cloth of fine linen wiped your face. [...]

STATIONS OF THE CROSS: Part 5 — Simon Of Cyrene Helps Carry Jesus’s Cross, by Michel Quoist

March 31, 2012

From: Prayer On The Way Of The Cross Christ is still dying. He continues to offer himself to his Father for the redemption of the world through the men who today suffer and die around us. The Way of the Cross is also the way to life; this a real Christian should never forget. And led him away to be crucified.  As for his cross, they forced a passer-by who was coming in from the country to carry it, Simon of Cyrene.  (Mark 15:20-21) Bear the burden of one another’s failings; then you will be fulfilling the law of Christ. (Galatians 6:2) He passed by on the road; They pressed him into service. The first to come along, a stranger. Lord you accepted his help. You did not want the help of a friend, the solace of a gesture of love, [...]

STATIONS OF THE CROSS: Part 4 — Jesus Meets His Mother, by Michel Quoist

March 29, 2012

From: Prayer On The Way Of The Cross Christ is still dying. He continues to offer himself to his Father for the redemption of the world through the men who today suffer and die around us. The Way of the Cross is also the way to life; this a real Christian should never forget. As for thy own soul, it shall have a sword to pierce it. (Luke 2:35) Lord, I pity your poor mother. She follows, She follows you, She follows mankind on its Way of the Cross. She walks in the crowd, unknown, but she doesn’t take her eyes off you. Every gesture of yours, every sigh, every blow dealt you, every wound, pierces her heart. She knows your sufferings, She suffers your sufferings, And without coming near you, without touching you, without speaking to [...]

STATIONS OF THE CROSS: Part 3 — Jesus Falls For The First Time, by Michel Quoist

March 29, 2012

From: Prayer On The Way Of The Cross Christ is still dying. He continues to offer himself to his Father for the redemption of the world through the men who today suffer and die around us. The Way of the Cross is also the way to life; this a real Christian should never forget. Jesus said to them [Simon and Simon’s brother, Andrew], “Come and follow me; I will make you into fishers of men.”  And they dropped their nets immediately, and followed him. (Mark 1:17-18) But Jesus said to them [James and John], “Have you strength to drink of the cup I am to drink of, to be baptized with the baptism I am to be baptized with?”  They said to him, “We have.” (Mark 10:38-39) But he took Peter and James and [...]

STATIONS OF THE CROSS: Part 2 — Jesus Bears His Cross, by Michel Quoist

March 29, 2012

From: Prayer On The Way Of The Cross Christ is still dying. He continues to offer himself to his Father for the redemption of the world through the men who today suffer and die around us. The Way of the Cross is also the way to life; this a real Christian should never forget. If any man has a mind to come my way, let him renounce self, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.  He who tries to save his life will lose it; it is the man who loses his life for my sake, that will save it. (Luke 9:23-24) Lord, here is your Cross. Your Cross!  As if it were your cross! You had no cross and you came to get ours, and all through your life, and along the way to Calvary, you took upon you, one by one, the sins of the world. You have to go [...]

STATIONS OF THE CROSS: Part 1 — Jesus Is Condemned To Death, by Michel Quoist

March 29, 2012

From: Prayer On The Way Of The Cross Christ is still dying. He continues to offer himself to his Father for the redemption of the world through the men who today suffer and die around us. The Way of the Cross is also the way to life; this a real Christian should never forget. So it was, brethren, that when I came to you and preached Christ’s message to you, I did so without any high pretensions to eloquence, or to philosophy.  I had no thought of bringing you any other knowledge than that of Jesus Christ, and of him as crucified.  It was with distrust of myself, full of anxious fear, that I approached you; my preaching, my message depended on no persuasive language, devised by human wisdom, but rather on the proof I gave you of [...]

POETRY: Evening — Zero Weather by Thomas Merton

March 28, 2012

Now the lone world is streaky as a wall of marble With veins of clear and frozen snow. There is no bird song there, no hare’s track No badger working in the russet grass: All the bare fields are silent as eternity. And the whole herd is home in the long barn. The brothers come, with hoods about their faces, Following their plumes of breath Lugging the gleaming buckets one by one. This was a day when shovels would have struck Full flakes of fire out of the land like rock: And ground cries out like iron beneath our boots When all the monks come in with eyes as clean as the cold sky And axes under their arms, Still paying out Ave Marias With rosaries between their bleeding fingers. We shake the chips out of our robes outside the door [...]

PRAYER: Lenten Novena

March 8, 2012

Author unknown Father, all-powerful and everlasting God, during the holy season of Lent you call me to a closer union with you. Help me to prepare to celebrate the Paschal Mystery with mind and heart renewed.  Give me a spirit of loving reverence for you, my father, and of willing service to my neighbor.  As I recall the great events that gave me new life in Christ, bring the image of your son to perfection within my soul. This great season of grace is your gift to your family to renew me in spirit.  Give me strength to purify my heart, to control my desires, and so to serve you in freedom.  Teach me how to live in this passing world with my heart set on the world that will never end. I ask for the grace to master my sinfulness and [...]