Category Archives: Lent

Righteousness – A Word Study

Just finished reading Chapters 3 and 4 of Matthew’s Gospel.  There is so much there that it would take pages to discuss.  It is about His baptism by John and His temptation in the desert.  Satan was tempting Jesus’ identity as the Son of God.  He wants Him to embrace an earthly and political mission and thus subvert from His real mission of suffering and dying for our salvation.

Unlike us, Jesus could not have sinned at any time during His earthly life.  His “temptations” were entirely the suggestions of the devil and had nothing to do with any kind of inner struggle or disordered desire of a fallen nature.  We, of course, experience temptation because of our fallen nature.  However, just because He couldn’t sin, doesn’t mean that He didn’t show us how the devil should be treated when he comes around with his “suggestions.”

According to St. John Chrysostom, Jesus gives us a perfect example of Christian obedience.  Earthly life is our wilderness.  Our goal is to get to the “land” of heaven.  This life is like a probationary period for us.  God wills that we  overcome temptations (from the world, the flesh, and the devil) through the practice of penance and obedience to God’s word.   We must desire Christ’s humility.  And this is how we can increase the gift of righteousness:  penance, obedience, and humility.

Righteousness is a gift from God.  The word itself is used 7 times in Matthew and 85 times in the rest of the New Testament.  Christ first gives us this gift in Baptism when we are restored in our relationship as an adopted son or daughter of God.  It always means (from the Greek) the uprightness and faithfulness of God and His people.  It is part of the unique covenant vocabulary that runs throughout the old and new testaments.  God’s righteousness is because He is holy and is revealed as He takes care of Israel.  Now, He has demonstrated His righteousness through the saving work of His Son, Jesus Christ.  Jesus wants us to be righteous, like He and His Father, are righteous.

“Submit yourselves therefore to God.  Resist the devil and he will flee from you.  Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.  Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you men of double mind.  Humble yourselves before the Lord and He will exalt you.”  Jn 4: 7-8, 10

And, I might add, fill you with righteousness.

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Filed under Almsgiving, Catholic, Faith, Fasting, Gospel, Holiness, James, Jesus, Lent, New Testament

Dust thou art, and into dust thou shalt return. (Gn 3: 19)

About three years ago, my husband and I began to read the Gospels, (out loud) two chapters at a time, on Ash Wednesday.  We found that by doing so we could read all four Gospels by Holy Saturday.  The first time, we continued after Easter and read until the end of the NT.  Then we began the New Testament again and read it through 2 chapters a night.  Then, we began to read the Old Testament, the same way.  We are only to the end of Wisdom, so we have set it aside and began the Gospels again tonight.

Everyone else reads other books for their spiritual reading during Lent.  We just stick with the Gospels.  Doing so, we have had great Lents for the past three years.

So after dinner tonight, we began.  Matthew Chapters 1 and 2.  What is Jesus’ ancestry and where was He born?  I especially like the verses about St. Joseph dreaming of angels.  He was such a man of faith!  That we would have just a bit of his faith and humility, we too could dream of angels.

Finally, today’s liturgy is an invitation to penance.  The predominant thought of the day should be that while physical penance is okay, we need spiritual penance–humility, recognition of our faults, a steadfast heart, and the reformation of our lives.  The Lord wants us to be converted to Him with all our hearts, in fasting, and in weeping, and in mourning.  He wants us to “rend our hearts; not just our garments.”

Lord, protect us in our struggle against evil.  As we begin the discipline of Lent, make this day holy by our self-denial.  Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  (Liturgy of the Hours for Ash Wednesday-Evening Prayer)

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Filed under 40 Days for Life, Fasting, Gospel, Jesus, Lent, Liturgy of the Hours, New Testament, Old Testament, Sacred Scripture

Jesus and Temptation

Jesus was tempted because He willed it.  Wow!  Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way for us.  Because of concupiscence, we are constantly tempted.  In fact, if we aren’t being tempted we’re probably dead.

Don’t make the mistake of thinking that the devil doesn’t exist.  He still goes about the world like a roaring lion devouring souls.  Jesus showed us how to do battle with the devil, however.

Jesus had been fasting rigorously for 40 days when the devil showed up.  So Jesus was very, very hungry and the devil wanted Him to turn some stones into bread.  Jesus responds with something that we quote all the time in our house.  “Man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.”  I love this, because here is the Word of God; the bread of life really sending a smashing volley back to Lucifer.  So Jesus shows us that immersion in His Word and partaking of His Body and Blood at frequent Holy Communion, is a good offense against the devil during times of temptation.

The devil wasn’t finished yet.  Unable to tempt Him with bread; he tempts Him with power.  This fails, too.  Jesus knows that a miracle such as being borne on the hands of angels if He cast Himself down from the high place, would win the admiration and the enthusiasm of the people; but that is not to be the Way for Jesus.  His Way will be the way of the Cross, so he very resolutely rejects this temptation to pride.  Jesus shows us that the way to conquer temptations to pride and vanity is by choosing what humiliates us in the sight of others.

Finally, the devil, undaunted by this second failed attempt, offers the King of Kings the whole world with all its riches, if He would just bow down and worship him (the devil.)  Jesus replies “The Lord thy God shalt thou adore and Him only shalt thou serve.”  Smack down!  Jesus: 3.  The devil: 0.  Jesus is showing us that a heart that is firmly anchored in God will not be drawn away from His service by attraction to or envy of worldly goods.

What’s the final lesson?  The devil exists; however we have weapons for combat.  First, remember that our virtue does not consist of being exempt from temptations, but in being able to overcome them.  Second, we must have great confidence in God.  We must entrust everything to Him:  our whole life and everything in it.  Thirdly, and finally, turn to God with prayer and fasting and use faithfully the grace that God always gives when we are being tempted.  He won’t let us be tempted beyond our strength to resist especially if we trust in Him and His love and mercy.

Remember, He has commanded His angels to watch over all our paths, and they will bear us up in their hands lest our feet strike against a stone.”   What more can we ask for?

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Filed under Catholic, Christian, Faith, Fasting, Holiness, Holy Spirit, Lent, Love, Prayer, Sacraments, temptation, Uncategorized

Desolation

During any reading of the Passion, there are two things that touch my heart.  Yesterday, was no different.

First, I always cringe when we are “the Crowd” and I have to read the part that says “Crucify Him.”  Second, I am always struck by the utter desolation that is in the cry of Jesus.  “My God, my God, why have You forsaken Me?”

About the first:  my sins crucified my Lord.  And that is part of the reason that I cringe.  I might not have been there, on the scene, but I was there.  When His arms were stretched out, He saw me and He saw every sin I would ever commit.  Yes, He died for me. Personally.

About the second:  Life is a spiritual roller coaster.  We are either in a period of Consolation or in a period of Desolation or somewhere in between at any given point of our lives.  The periods of Consolation are awesome and a time of great spiritual joy.  The periods of Desolation are dry and sterile.  Sometimes when I am there, I don’t think I will ever experience great spiritual joy again.  Then I remember Jesus on the Cross.  “My God, my God, why have You forsaken Me?”  And, that gives me strength to begin the ascent again, up the hill of the roller coaster, to a period of Consolation.

I am going to be making my weekend Ignatius Retreat: Consoling the Heart of Jesus beginning on Thursday evening.  & I will not be back on here again until Easter Monday.

I hope this Holy Week is a time of great consolation to you.  That’s my plan for me.

 

 

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Filed under Catholic, Easter, Holiness, Lent, Palm Sunday, Resurrection, Sacrifice, suffering, The Cross, Triduum

Sunday’s Comin’

forty days for life40 Days for Life is over on Sunday.  I thought this was quite appropriate so I decided to share.

 

Reflection by Fr. Frank Pavone

This meditation, based on a sermon I once heard, is adapted for pro-life concerns.

It’s Friday. Jesus is on the cross. He has been killed by his enemies; he is off the scene.

But that’s because it’s Friday. Sunday’s comin’!

It’s Friday. Abortionists continue their work 3,300 times a day, tearing off the arms and legs of little babies and crushing their heads.

But that’s because it’s Friday. Sunday’s comin’!

It’s Friday. Pro-abortion groups receive blood money from billionaires who are as deceived as they are.

But that’s because it’s Friday. Sunday’s comin’!

It’s Friday. Liars attempt to speak for all women and hide the pain of abortion, and ignore the evidence of how it harms women, and call abortion a blessing.

But that’s because it’s Friday. Sunday’s comin’!

It’s Friday. People of hardened hearts guard the clinics and usher desperate women in to have their abortions, while keeping them from the pro-life people who want to give them hope.

But that’s because it’s Friday. Sunday’s comin’!

Hope does not mean that we ignore or minimize the evils around us. It means, rather, that we see the whole picture, which is that evil is conquered because of what happened one Sunday morning.

We are called to proclaim, celebrate, and serve that victory, waiting in joyful hope for Christ’s return and the full flowering of the Culture of Life!

Indeed, Sunday’s comin’!

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Filed under 40 Days for Life, Catholic, Christian, Easter, Lent, Prolife, Resurrection

I Think It is Amazing. . .

How the Lord will bring some things together for me.  Especially when I am struggling or praying over something hard.

Here is the morning meditation from The Morning Offering:

“Temptation to a certain sin, to any sin whatsoever, might last throughout our whole life, yet it can never make us displeasing to God’s Majesty provided we do not take pleasure in it and give consent to it. You must have great courage in the midst of temptation. Never think yourself overcome as long as they are displeasing to you, keeping clearly in mind the difference between feeling temptation and consenting to it.”
— St. Teresa of Avila

 

And here is an article that I found before I read this meditation:

http://restlesshart.com/why-i-love-confession/

See what I mean?

 

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Filed under Catholic, Holiness, Lent, reconciliation, Sacraments, temptation

“We are the Church Militant; not the Church Pansy.”

Don’t you love it?

I do not agree with this post 100%.  However, I think it is very interesting and wanted to share it with you, today.

http://supertradmum-etheldredasplace.blogspot.com/2014/03/are-you-fighting-wrong-battles-could-be.html

Hope you are having a great Lent, so far!

I am.  (including my small sharing in the cross 🙂 )

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Filed under Catholic, Faith, Holiness, Lent, Liturgy, Papacy