Category Archives: Lent

Act of Reparation from The Racolta

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A beautiful act of reparation to perhaps be offered daily during Lent.  From The Racolta:

O most merciful Heart of Jesus, divine mercy-seat, for whose sake the Eternal Father has promised that He would always hear our prayers! I unite myself to Thee in offering to Thine Eternal Father this poor and needy heart of mine, contrite and humbled in His divine presence, and desirous of making complete reparation for the offenses that are committed against Him, especially those which Thou dost continually suffer in the Holy Eucharist, and more particularly those which I myself have unhappily so often committed. Would that I could wash them away with my tears, O Sacred Heart of Jesus, and blot out with my own heart’s blood the ingratitude wherewith we have repaid Thy tender love. I unite my sorrow, slight as it is, with the mortal agony which caused Thy sweat to become as droops of blood in the Garden of Olives at the very thought of our sins. Do Thou offer it, dear Lord, to Thine Eternal Father in union with Thy Sacred Heart. Render Him infinite thanks for the manifold blessings which He constantly showers upon us, and let Thy love supply for our want of thankfulness and remembrance. Grant me grace always to present myself in a spirit of deepest reverence before the face of Thy divine Majesty, in order thus to repair in some measure the irreverences and outrages which I have dared to commit before Thee; grant also, that from this day forth, I may devote myself with all my might to drawing, both by word and example, many souls to know Thee and to experience the riches of Thy Heart. From this moment I offer and dedicate myself wholly to propagating the honor due to Thy most sweet Sacred Heart. I choose It as the object of all my affections and desires, and from this hour forevermore I set up in It my perpetual abode, thanking, adoring and loving It with all my heart, inasmuch as It is the Heart of my Jesus, who is worthy to be loved, the Heart of my King and sovereign Lord, the Bridegroom of my soul, my Shepherd and Master, my truest Friend, my loving Father, my sure Guide, my unfailing protection and my everlasting blessedness. Amen.

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Badge of Christian Warfare

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Doing violence to our sins & temptations is the proving ground for any Catholic, to practice what we preach & make amendment for our failure to live up to our calling. This is what the season of Lent is all about.

“The observance of Lent is the very badge of Christian warfare. By it we prove ourselves not to be enemies of the cross of Christ. By it we avert the scourges of divine justice. By it we gain strength against the princes of darkness, for it shields us with heavenly help. Should mankind grow remiss in their observance of Lent, it would be a detriment to God’s glory, a disgrace to the Catholic religion, and a danger to Christian souls. Neither can it be doubted that such negligence would become the source of misery to the world, of public calamity, of private woe.”  ~Pope Benedict XIV, 1741 A.D.

“The forty days’ fast, which we call Lent, is the Church’s preparation for Easter, and was instituted at the very commencement of Christianity. Our blessed Lord Himself sanctioned it by fasting forty days and forty nights in the desert; and though He would not impose it on the world by an express commandment… yet He showed plainly enough, by His own example, that fasting, which God has so frequently ordered in the old Law, was to be also practiced by the children of the new… [W]e find it mentioned, in the Acts of the Apostles, the disciples of our Lord, after the foundation of the Church, applied themselves to fasting. In their Epistles, also, they recommended it to the faithful. Nor could it be otherwise. Though the divine mysteries whereby our Savior wrought our redemption have been consummated, yet are we still sinners: and where there is sin, there must be expiation.”  ~Dom Gueranger

Ash Wednesday

 

Remember, man, that thou art dust and to dust thou shalt return. The demons of today can only be driven out by prayer & fasting. A Blessed Ash Wednesday and beginning of Lent to all my readers.

~Damsel of the Faith

 

Instruction for Lent
by Leonard Goffine, 1871

Who instituted Lent?

According to the fathers of the Church, Justinus and Irenaeus, the fast before Easter was instituted and sanctified by Christ Himself; according to the saints Leo and Jerome, the holy apostles ordained it after Jesus’ example.

Why is the fast required, and why for forty days before Easier?

In imitation of Christ’s forty days’ fast for us; to participate in the fasting and sufferings of Christ, by voluntary mortification, as did St. Paul, who sought thus to fill up what was wanting of the sufferings of Christ (Col. i. 24.); that we may subject our flesh to the spirit, and mortify our evil desires; that we may lead a pure life, and thus prepare for the holy festival of Easter, and the reception of the divine Lamb, Jesus; and, finally, that we may render God satisfaction for our sins, and do penance, as Pope Gregory says, by one short fast, lasting for only the tenth part of a year, for the sins of one whole year.

Was fasting observed in old times as well as in the present?

Yes, but much more strictly; for the people then not only abstained from meat, as now, but also from all that which is connected with it, such as: eggs, butter, cheese, &c, even from wine and fish, although this was not the general command of the Church; they fasted all day, and only ate in the evening after vespers, in remembrance of which, vespers are now said before dinner-time, because the Church, as a kind mother, now permits the supper to be changed into a dinner, and also allows something to be taken in the evening, that the body may not be too much weakened, and unfitted for labor.

How much does this ancient custom shame the Christians of today who think the fast in our times too strict! “But,” asks St. Ambrose, “what sort of Christians are they? Christ, who never sinned, fasted for our sins, and we will not fast for our own great and numerous sins?”

How should the holy season of Lent be spent?

As according to the teaching of St. Leo, the main thing in fasting is not the abstinence from food, which is unavailingly kept from the body, if the mind is not at the same time withdrawn from wickedness, we should strive during Lent, not only to be temperate in eating and drinking, but especially to lead a modest life, sanctifying the days by persevering prayer and devoutly attending church.

Prayer for the beginning of Lent

Almighty God! I unite myself at the beginning of this holy season of penance with the Church militant, endeavoring to make these really days of sorrow for my sins and crucifixion of the sensual man. O Lord Jesus! in union with Thy fasting and passion, I offer Thee my fasting in obedience to the Church, for Thy honor, and in thanksgiving for the many favors I have received, in satisfaction for mine and others’ sins, and that I may receive the grace to avoid the sin of _________, and to practise the virtue of __________.

Instruction for Ash Wednesday

Why is this day thus named?

Because on this day the Church blesses ashes, and places them on the heads of her faithful children, with the words: “Remember, man, thou art dust, and unto dust thou shalt return.”

Why is this done?

St. Charles Borromeo gives us the following reasons for this practice: that the faithful may be moved to the heart’s sincere humility; that the heavenly blessing may descend upon them, by which they, being really penitent, will weep with their whole soul for their sins, remembering how earth was cursed because of sin, and we thus have all to return to the dust of earth; that strength to do true penance may be given the body; and that our soul may be endowed with divine force to persevere in penance.

With such thoughts let the ashes be put upon your head, while you ask in all humility and with a contrite heart, for God’s mercy and grace.

Does it please God, that for such reasons, ashes should be put upon our heads?

It does, for God Himself commanded the Israelits to put ashes on themselves for a sign of repentance. (Jer. xxv. : 4.) Thus did David (Ps. ci. 10.) who even strewed ashes on his bread; the Ninivites (Jonas iii. 5.), Judith (Jud. ix.), Mardochai (Esth. iv.), Job (Job xlii. 6.), &c. The Christians of the earliest times followed this practice as often as they did public penance for their sins.

Why from this day until the end of Lent, are the altars draped in violet?

Because, as has been already said, the holy season of Lent is a time of sorrow and penance for sin, and the Church desires externally to demonstrate, by the violet with which she drapes the altar, by the violet vestments worn by the priests, and by the cessation of the organ and festive singing, that we in quiet mourning are bewailing our sins; and to still further impress the spirit of penance upon us, there is usually only a simple crucifix or a picture from Christ’s passion, left visible upon the altar, and devoutly gazing it, the heart is generally prepared for contrition.

In the Introit of this day’s Mass the Church uses the following words by which to make known her zeal for penance, and to move God to mercy: Thou, O Lord, hast mercy on all, and hatest none of those things, which thou hast created; thou winkest at the sins of men, to draw them to repentance, and thou pardonest them; because thou art the Lord our God. (Wis. xi. 24. 25.) Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me; for my soul trusteth in thee. (Ps. lvi. 2.) Glory be to the Father, &c.

PRAYER OF THE CHURCH. Grant, O Lord, that Thy faithful may enter on this solemn fast with suitable piety, and go through it for the benefit of their salvation. Through Jesus Christ, our Lord, &c.

LESSON, (Joel ii. 12 – 19.) Thus saith the Lord: Be converted to me with all your heart, in fasting, in weeping, and in mourning. And rend your hearts, and not your garments, and turn to the Lord your God: for he is gracious and merciful, patient and rich in mercy, and ready to repent of the evil. Who knoweth but he will return, and forgive, and leave a blessing behind him, sacrifice and libation to the Lord your God? Blow the trumpet in Sion, sanctify a fast, call a solemn assembly, gather together the people, sanctify the Church, assemble the ancients, gather together the little ones and them that suck at the breasts: let the bridegroom go forth from his bed, and the bride out of the bride-chamber. Between the porch and the altar the priests, the Lord’s ministers, shall weep and shall say: Spare, O Lord, spare thy people: and give not thine inheritance to reproach, that the heathens should rule over them. Why should they say among the nations: Where is their God? The Lord hath been zealous for his land, and hath spared his people. And the Lord answered and said to his people: Behold, I will send you corn, and wine, and oil, you shall be filled with them: and I will no more make you a reproach among the nations: saith the Lord Almighty.

EXPLANATION. The Prophet Joel exhorts the Jews to sorrow and penance for their sins, that they might evade the expected judgment to be sent by God upon the city of Jerusalem. He required of them to show their repentance not merely by rending their garments, a sign of mourning with the Jews, but by a truly contrite heart. By this lesson from the prophet, the Church wishes, we should see plainly what qualities our penance should possess, if we desire reconciliation with God, forgiveness of our sins, and deliverance at the Last Day, which qualities are not merely abstinence from food and amusements, but the practice of real mortification of our evil inclinations, thus becoming with our whole heart converted to God.

GOSPEL. (Matt. vi. 16 – 21.) At That Time: Jesus said to his disciples: When you fast be not as the hypocrites, sad. For they disfigure their faces, that they may appear to men to fast. Amen I say to you, they have received their reward. But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thy head, and wash thy face: that thou appear not to men to fast, but to thy Father, who is in secret: and thy Father, who seeth in secret, will reward thee. Lay not up for yourselves treasures on earth: where the rust and moth consume, and where thieves break through and steal. But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven: where neither rust nor moth doth consume, and where thieves do no break through, nor steal. For where thy treasure is, there is thy heart also.

EXPLANATION: Jesus forbids us to look for the praises of men, when performing good works, of which the fast is one, and that which is still worse, to do good, as the Pharisees, from hypocrisy. He also warns us against avarice and the desire for temporal riches, urging us to employ our temporal goods, in giving alms, and doing works of charity, thus laying up treasures of meritorious deeds in heaven, which are there rewarded and will last there forever. “What folly,” says St. Chrysostom, “to leave our goods where we cannot stay, instead of sending them before us where we are going–to heaven!”


 

Pondering the culmination of the 40 days

We are in the final days of the 40 Days of Lent so let us double our prayers & fasting for soon we will commemorate & worship the bitter Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

A meditation from Dom Prosper Gueranger:

The Church is not satisfied with thus animating us to the contest with our enemies―she would also have our minds engrossed with thoughts of deepest importance; and for this end, she puts before us three great subjects, which she will gradually unfold to us between this and the great Easter Solemnity. Let us be all attention to these soul-stirring and instructive lessons.

FIRSTLY, there is the conspiracy of the Jews against our Redeemer. It will be brought before us in its whole history, from its first formation to its final consummation on the great Friday, when we shall behold the Son of God hanging on the Wood of the Cross. The infamous workings of the synagogue will be brought before us so regularly, that we shall be able to follow the plot in all its details. We shall be inflamed with love for the august Victim, whose meekness, wisdom, and dignity, bespeak a God. The divine drama, which began in the cave of Bethlehem, is to close on Calvary; we may assist at it, by meditating on the passages of the Gospel read to us, by the Church, during these days of Lent.

The SECOND of the subjects offered to us, for our instruction, requires that we should remember how the Feast of Easter is to be the day of new birth for our Catechumens; and how, in the early ages of the Church, Lent was the immediate and solemn preparation given to the candidates for Baptism. The holy Liturgy of the present season retains much of the instruction she used to give to the Catechumens; and as we listen to her magnificent Lessons from both the Old and the New Testament, whereby she completed their initiation, we ought to think with gratitude on how we were not required to wait years before being made Children of God, but were mercifully admitted to Baptism, even in our Infancy. We shall be led to pray for those new Catechumens, who this very year, in far distant countries, are receiving instructions from their zealous Missioners, and are looking forward, as did the postulants of the primitive Church, to that grand Feast of our Saviour’s victory over Death, when they are to be cleansed in the Waters of Baptism and receive from the contact a flew being, – regeneration.

THIRDLY, we must remember how, formerly, the public Penitents, who had been separated, on Ash Wednesday, from the assembly of the Faithful, were the object of the Church’s maternal solicitude during the whole Forty Days of Lent, and were to be admitted to Reconciliation on Maundy Thursday, if their repentance were such as to merit this public forgiveness. We shall have the admirable course of instructions, which were originally designed for these Penitents, and which the Liturgy, faithful as she ever is to such traditions, still retains for our sakes. As we read these sublime passages of the Scripture, we shall naturally think upon our own sins, and on what easy terms they were pardoned us; whereas, had we lived in other times, we should have probably been put through the ordeal of a public and severe penance. This will excite us to fervor, for we shall remember, that, whatever changes the indulgence of the Church may lead her to make in her discipline, the justice of our God is ever the same. We shall find in all this an additional motive for offering to his Divine Majesty the sacrifice of a contrite heart, and we shall go through our penances with that cheerful eagerness, which the conviction of our deserving much severer ones always brings with it.

The dolors of Her Heart

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Make reparation to Our Lady of Sorrows for the crimes and sacrileges committed against Her and the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus.

“All the fatherless, motherless, sonless, husbandless, and wifeless griefs that ever tore at the hearts of human beings were now bearing down on the soul of Mary. The most any human being ever lost in a bereavement was a creature, but Mary was burying the Son of God. It is hard to lose a son or a daughter, but it is harder to bury Christ. To be motherless is a tragedy, but to be Christless is hell. In real love, two hearts do not meet in sweet slavery to one another; rather there is the melting of two hearts into one. When death comes, there is not just a separation of two hearts but rather the rending of the one heart. This was particularly true of Jesus and Mary. As Adam and Eve fell through the pleasure of eating one apple, so Jesus and Mary were united in the pleasure of eating the fruit of the Father’s will. At such moments, there is not loneliness but desolation – not the outward desolation such as came through the three days’ loss but an inner desolation that is probably so deep as to be beyond the expression of tears. Some joys are so intense that they provoke not even a smile; so there are some griefs that never create a tear. Mary’s dolor at the burial of Our Lord was probably of that kind. If she could have wept, it would have been a release from the tension; but here the only tears were red, in the hidden garden of her heart! One cannot think of any dolor after this; it was the last of the sacraments of grief. The Divine Sword could will no other thrusts beyond this, either for Himself or for her. It had run into two hearts up to the very hilt; and when that happens, one is beyond all human consolations. In the former dolor, at least there was the consolation of the body; now even that is gone. Calvary was like the bleak silence of a church on Good Friday when the Blessed Sacrament has been removed. One can merely stand guard at a tomb.”   ~Archbishop Fulton Sheen

Also, let us remember to honor St. Patrick, whose Feast it is to today and pray to him to intercede for the conversion of Ireland back to the Faith.

-Damsel of the Faith

Medieval Lenten penances

 

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Compared to the Early Church, modern Catholics have no notion of penance and what it entails. By relaxing the need for penanace, the Church seems to leave Our Lord to suffer alone, when He desires that we partake in his passion.

Read the following excerpt but I strongly suggest you read the entire article here:

http://sspx.org/en/news-events/news/think-lent-tough-take-look-medieval-lenten-practices

Today’s Latin Catholics would be well-served to review the norms of early Christians as they prepared for Easter.

The Lenten fast for Latin Catholics living in the years of the third millennium of Christianity often means swapping out the lunchtime burger for a Filet-o-Fish, and attending Stations of the Cross sporadically. But the Church has, up to the time of major reforms in the 1960s, encouraged its children to not do the bare minimum, but to immerse themselves in the spirit of Lenten penance.

The requirements and practices during the first millennium after Our Lord were extraordinarily stringent by today’s terms, having been relaxed bit by bit, until they are almost nonexistent today. Archbishop Lefebvre noted this in a letter written to faithful in 1982:

The faithful who have a true spirit of faith and who profoundly understand the motives of the Church…will wholeheartedly accomplish not only the light prescriptions of today but, entering into the spirit of Our Lord and of the Blessed Virgin Mary, will endeavor to make reparation for the sins which they have committed and for the sins of their family, their neighbors, friends and fellow citizens.”
Today, only the Eastern Christian churches (many of which are not in communion with Rome) practice austerity during Lent, albeit unevenly. For instance, meat, fish, dairy, and oil are generally prohibited during the Lenten season, though there are few restrictions on the amount of Lenten-approved food that may be consumed. Moreover, certain fasting disciplines are subject to regional practice and cultural variations with local priests and bishops having more direct say in offering dispensations for those entrusted to their care.

Black Fasts and Watery Beer
We can learn much from our Latin ancestors’ observance of the Lenten Quadragesima and perhaps follow their example; if not entirely in practice, at least in spirit, as recommended by the Archbishop. In a recent post on his site, Dr. Taylor Marshall, a former Episcopalian priest who is now Catholic, collected the rules for Lenten penance as described by St. Thomas Aquinas:

Ash Wednesday and Good Friday were “black fasts.” This means no food at all.
Other days of Lent: no food until 3pm, the hour of Our Lord’s death. Water was allowed, and as was the case for the time due to sanitary concerns, watered-down beer and wine. After the advent of tea and coffee, these beverages were permitted.
No animal meats or fats.
No eggs.
No dairy products (lacticinia) – that is, eggs, milk, cheese, cream, butter, etc.
Sundays were days of less liturgical discipline, but the fasting rules above remained.

Daily Lenten Meditations

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Brought to you by the Society.  I’ve signed up this year and am enjoying the meditations. I encourage you all to do the same.

SSSign up to begin each Lenten morning with an email containing a “Minute Meditation” on the life of Our Lord, as well as the Epistle and Gospel of the day.

Sign up Here

Each email will begin with a selection from the collected work of Fr. J. E. Moffat, “Minute Meditations,” which is available from Angelus Press. This full volume contains 140+ meditations for daily use.

Meditation, as we are speaking of it, is simply prayerful thought. We may not, because of our other duties, be able to spend long periods in silent meditation, but there are so many spare moments, between times, often idle, that could be filled with prayerful reflection with great glory to God and simply incalculable good to our soul. We could all make “minute meditations.”

The Daily Propers
The season of Lent is the most rich, liturgically speaking, of the year. While all may not be able to attend daily Mass during the upcoming 6 weeks, that is no reason to miss the beauty and reverence of Lent.

Each email will contain the Epistle and Gospel of the day, and any other notable selections from the Proper of the Mass, as contained in the Angelus Press Daily Missal.

We hope this small addition to your daily routine will assist in making this year your most meritorious Lent.