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Tag Archives: renewal

JESUS CHRIST’S WORK OF MERCY HAS TWO PARTS

JESUS CHRIST’S WORK OF MERCY HAS TWO PARTS

Christ’s work of mercy has two chief parts: what he did for all men, what he does for each; what he did once for all, what he does for one by one continually; what he did externally to us, what he does within us; what he did on earth, what he does in heaven; what he did in his own person, what he does by his Spirit; his death, and the water and blood after it; his meritorious sufferings, and the various gifts thereby purchased, of pardon, grace, reconciliation, renewal, holiness, spiritual communion; that is, his atonement, and the application of his atonement, or his atonement and our justification; he atones by the offering of himself on the cross; and as certainly (which is the point before us) he justifies by the mission of his Spirit.

– St John Henry Newman; Christ died for our sins and rose again for our justification. (Jfc., 203-4)

 

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LIVING FOR GOD AND NEIGHBOUR AND DYING TO SELF

LENTEN REFLECTION

“As at the end of winter the summer season returns and the navigator launches his boat into the sea, the soldier polishes his arms and trains the horse for battle, the farmer sharpens the scythe, the wayfarer strengthened continues his journey, and the athlete sets aside his vestments and prepares for the race; so we too, at the start of this fast, like returning to a spiritual springtime, we polish the arms like soldiers, we sharpen the scythe like the farmers, and as the mariners we launch the boat of our spirit to confront the waves of senseless passions, like the wayfarer we continue the journey to heaven, and as the athlete we prepare ourselves for the fight by totally setting everything aside.”
– St John Chrysostom

 

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“FLY, FLY AT ONCE TO THE PROTECTION OF THE WORD!”

“In the Wounds of Jesus Christ the Christian soul finds its refuge and its strength.

‘COME TO ME, ALL YOU WHO ARE BURDENED…’

The adorable Humanity of the Word is the assured and unassailable refuge which shelters from the attacks of the enemy all who seek its protection.

The Saviour Himself invites us to gather behind this sacred rampart, when He says: ‘Come to Me, all you who are burdened, and I will refresh you.’

THE ‘DIVINE ARSENAL’

Yes, he, who bethinks himself of applying to this divine arsenal, soon finds his flagging forces renewed. When your enemies pursue you, when you find that their forces are superior to yours, when distress and fear have nearly persuaded you to yield to the treacherous counsels of those who hate you, – ah! do not delay!

Fly, fly at once to the protection of the Word, take refuge in the clefts of the rock, in the wounds of the divine Redeemer. He always protects powerfully and mercifully those who invoke Him.
– S. Lawrence Justinian

 

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12th MARCH, RESPONSORIAL PSALM (PSALM 50)

R. A humbled, contrite heart, O God, you will not spurn.

1. Have mercy on me, God, in your kindness.
In your compassion blot out my offence.
O wash me more and more from my guilt
and cleanse me from my sin. (R.)

2. A pure heart create for me, O God,
put a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me away from your presence,
nor deprive me of your holy spirit. (R.)

3. For in sacrifice you take no delight,
burnt offering from me you would refuse,
my sacrifice, a contrite spirit.
A humbled, contrite heart you will not spurn. (R.)

ACCLAMATION

I take pleasure, not in the death of a wicked man – it is the Lord who speaks – but in the turning back of a wicked man who changes his ways to win life.

 

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JESUS FULL OF THE HOLY SPIRIT… WAS LED BY THE SPIRIT INTO THE DESERT (Lk 4:1)

• The whole of the Bible simply narrates the love of God.

• Jesus full of the Holy Spirit… was led by the Spirit into the desert. (Luke 4:1)

• Our Gospel for the First Sunday of Lent focuses on Jesus’ temptations in the desert. At the heart of the devil’s attack was the seductive temptation for the Lord to lose confidence in the Father’s love. Jesus resisted, standing firm in faith. He was victorious, being strengthened and comforted by the Holy Spirit. God knows we are tempted in many ways. We are all weak and frail. However, our greatest temptation is that we too might lose confidence in God’s love. Lent is a time for us to come and rely afresh on the love God has for us. We do this through prayer, fasting and almsgiving but also by getting to know the scriptures better, for they proclaim God’s love in every age.

• Lord, renew within me a sure and solid grasp of your love for me. Help me to grasp this in deeper measure so that I will walk with you every day in peace and confidence.

• Our Father…, Ten Hail Marys…, Glory be…

• Today my prayer is for… ”
– This short meditation was published in “A Lenten Journey of Prayer for 2013” by AlivePublishing. For information about their booklets please visit http://www.alivepublishing.co.uk (external link)

 

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“FACING THE FUNDAMENTAL CHALLENGES WHICH JESUS PUTS BEFORE US” – THE ARCHBISHOP’S LETTER AT THE BEGINNING OF LENT

“THE MOST REVEREND PETER SMITH L.L.B., J.C.D., K.C.*H.S.
ARCHBISHOP OF SOUTHWARK,
ARCHBISHOP’S HOUSE, 150 ST. GEORGE’S ROAD, SOUTHWARK, LONDON, SE1 6HX [United Kingdom]

Pastoral Letter to be read
at the beginning of Lent 2014

My Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Last Wednesday we began the season of Lent; an opportunity the Church gives us every year for conversion and renewal – conversion of mind, heart and action so that we can better fulfil the two great commandments: ‘You must love the Lord your God with your whole heart, mind and strength… You must love your neighbour as yourself.’ (Mk 12:30-31) It is a time for us to rediscover the joy of the Gospel and to be ‘set free from sin, sorrow, inner emptiness and loneliness.’ (Evangelii Gaudium 1) In this year’s Lenten message to the Church throughout the world, Pope Francis prays that ‘…this Lenten season may find the whole Church ready to bear witness, to all those who live in material, moral and spiritual destitution, the Gospel message of the merciful love of God our Father, who is ready to embrace everyone in Christ. We can do this to the extent that we imitate Christ who became poor and enriched us by his poverty. Lent is a fitting time for self-denial; we would do well to ask ourselves what we can give up in order to help and enrich others by our poverty. Let us not forget that real poverty hurts: no self-denial is real without this dimension of penance. I distrust a charity that costs nothing and does not hurt.’

Lent is a season of prayer, fasting and practical concern for those in need. It offers all of us an opportunity to prepare for Easter by a serious discernment about our lives, with particular attention to the word of God which enlightens the daily journey of all who believe. So our particular focus in Lent must be first of all on God, not ourselves. Secondly it must be on our neighbour who is in need, because in that neighbour we are called to look with compassion on the face of the suffering Christ and try to alleviate his suffering.

So, we might fruitfully spend our Lent by reading the gospels and facing the fundamental challenges which Jesus puts before us. Then we might ask ourselves some challenging questions. Does my life reflect an evident commitment to the exhortation given to us on Ash Wednesday to ‘turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospel’? Does my love and compassion truly embrace the poorest and the most needy, or am I selective in giving of myself, and the riches God has given to me, only to those whom I know and like? Do I really pursue the path of reconciliation, or do I allow prejudice and bigotry to promote the rejection and rubbishing of those whom I dislike? Do I give of my time and talents to help build up my local community, to welcome the stranger and those in need?

Our response to these questions must be rooted in our love for the person of Jesus Christ, and in his command to each of us that we must love one another as he has first loved us. The season of Lent is given to us so that we can open our hearts once again to God and to each other with renewed generosity and compassion. But we can’t do that solely through our own efforts. We can only respond fruitfully with the help of the Holy Spirit. As Pope Francis said in his homily to the newly appointed Cardinals two weeks ago in Rome: ‘… we are called to listen to the Holy Spirit who enlivens and guides the Church. By his creative and renewing power, the Spirit always sustains the hope of God’s People as we make our pilgrim way through history.’ He went on to say that ‘… whilst we tend to be so selfish and proud… the Holy Spirit is able to purify, transform and shape us day by day. To make the effort to be converted, to experience a heartfelt conversion: this is something that all of us – especially you Cardinals and myself – must do.’

Listening to those words made me pause and reflect on the goodness of God and how fortunate most of us are. We have so much to thank God for. Most of us have homes and jobs and families, good friends and supportive relationships. Many of us have more than sufficient to meet our material and spiritual needs. Yet I am also very conscious that there are people both here in our own country and abroad who are not so fortunate. I am aware that there are many people who are vulnerable, defenceless and poor. For these, the beauty of life and the joy of living are obscured by suffering, by fear, and by great need, both material and spiritual. The danger in Lent is that we can focus in the wrong way on ourselves and the particular ways we choose to live out this penitential Season. The purpose of Lent is to open our hearts to the life-giving Word of God who, in quiet prayer and reflection, will reveal to us the truth about ourselves, our motives, and our priorities in life. All that we do in Lent, our prayer, our fasting and our almsgiving are means to this end – not ends in themselves. The end and purpose of Lent is to allow God’s grace to change us so that we truly ‘repent and believe the Good News’; so that we become ever more aware that ‘the Kingdom of God is close at hand’ and confidently live out and proclaim that Gospel to the people of our times.

In May this year we shall be gathering in the three areas of the Diocese to reflect on Pope Francis’ Apostolic Exhortation, ‘Evangelii Gaudium’. These will be gatherings of the clergy, religious and laity to begin to discern how we respond to Pope Francis’ call for the conversion and renewal of the whole Church, and how better to proclaim the Gospel with confidence to those who have yet to hear it. I encourage you to come to these gatherings, and to make this Lent a real preparation for these meetings so that we can all respond generously to the challenge which Pope Francis has given us.

Wishing you every blessing for Lent
and an assurance of my prayers for you all,

+ Peter

Archbishop of Southwark

Given at Southwark, 25th February 2014”

 

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“MAY OUR CITIES BE FILLED WITH LOVE”

PRAYER FOR CITIES

Cities are for needs and wants, divine Father, that cannot be met in isolation. Have we expected from them too much and put in too little? Spur us to renew our cities as You renew the earth in spring, that families my have decent living space, that the poor may have hope fulfilled, that the sick and aged may be treated as persons. May our cities be filled with love, truly homes and not merely structures. Amen.

 

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