Share your favorite prayers and your most cherished means of connecting with God, including prayers that you wrote.

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By athenacp
I will be posting all the Lent things that I get here, it will be easier
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By athenacp
The Maronites and Ash Monday

As Maronite Catholics, the Season of Lent starts tomorrow being Ash Monday (in the Roman/Latin Rite it is Ash Wednesday). Ashes are a symbol of penance made sacramental by the blessing of the Church to help us develop a spirit of humility and sacrifice. "Remember, Man is dust, and unto dust you shall return". The custom is from an old ceremony. Christians who had committed grave faults were obliged to do public penance. On Ash Wednesday the Bishop blessed the hair shirts, which they were to wear during the forty days, and sprinkled over them ashes, made from the palms from the previous year. Then, while the faithful recited the Seven Penitential Psalms, the penitents were turned out of the holy place because of their sins, as Adam, the first man was turned out of paradise on account of his disobedience. They did not enter the Church again until Maundy Thursday (Holy Thursday) after having won reconciliation by the toil of forty days' penance and sacramental absolution. Later on, all Christians, either public or secret penitents, came out of devotion to receive ashes.

The prayers of this time of year stress penance (being death to self with Christ) and joy (resurrection to a new person with Christ). They enable us to take a greater part in the Mystery of God's redeeming plan for the whole universe. Penance is the inner aversion to the evil existing in and around us, and a generous conversion in love to God. Traditionally, the Lenten practices of prayer and fasting were the means for achieving this aversion-conversion. They are still valid but there are many other forms of penance that we may use - for e.g., working for social or individual justice; performing works of mercy.

"Jesus was led into the desert by the Spirit to be tempted by the devil...spending forty days and forty nights [there]." - Mt 4:1-2 "The Season of Lent keeps inviting us, in a pressing way, to meditate on this great truth: love is of God. This is a living, present reality that we should never forget." - Pope John Paul II

Dear Lord Jesus,
As you spent forty days in the desert to prepare for Your mission, grant that my Lenten journey may prepare me to celebrate the Holy Mysteries of Your Death and Resurrection. Help me Lord that all my thoughts, words and actions may be according to Your will for You are gracious and merciful, patient and rich in mercy to those who call on You with repentant hearts and lives. Amen
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By athenacp

WEDNESDAY: (Lenten Sermon and reflection)
Chaplet of Our Sorrowful Mother (Wednesday version)
Prayer in Honor of the Tears of Mary
Litany of Our Sorrowful Mother
Hymn to Our Sorrowful Mother

for Wednesdays

Via Matris Dolorosa -- Our Mother's Cross Path of Sorrows

"May we never let the memory grow dim of our Mother's agonies!"

Grant, we beseech Thee, O Lord Jesus Christ, that the Most Blessed Virgin Mary, Thy Mother, whose most holy soul was transfixed with the sword of sorrow in the hour of Thy Passion, may intercede for us before the throne of mercy, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

Imprint, O Lady, thy wounds upon my heart, that I may read therein sorrow and love; sorrow, to endure every sorrow for thee: love, to despise every love for thee. Amen.

Lily of Prayer for the First Sorrow
The Prophecy of Holy Simeon

O Virgin most sorrowful, by the bitter pain which thy soul did suffer when thy Son Jesus was presented in the Temple, and thou didst hear from the prophetic mouth of Simeon that He was set for the fall of many on account of their malice, and for a sign which should be contradicted, and that a sword should pierce thine own soul; I pray thee, obtain for me this grace - that the infinite merits of Jesus may not be vain and unfruitful through my own fault. Hail Mary... (three times)

O most sorrowful Virgin, pray for us!

Lily of Prayer for the Second Sorrow
The Flight into Egypt

O Virgin most sorrowful, by the grief thou didst suffer when, in order to withdraw thy most innocent Son from the cruelty of impious Herod, who was seeking to destroy Him, thou wast obliged in the midst of hardship and privation to flee by stealth into Egypt; obtain, I beseech thee, that I may never through sin force my Redeemer to leave my heart. Hail Mary... (three times)

O most sorrowful Virgin, pray for us!

Lily of Prayer for the Third Sorrow
The Loss of Jesus in Jerusalem

O Virgin most sorrowful, by the anguish thou didst suffer when, without any fault of thine, thou didst lose thy most beloved Son Jesus, Who had remained in the Temple to fulfill the will of the Eternal Father, and didst seek Him anxiously for three days; obtain for me the grace to find Jesus at once, if by misfortune I ever come to lose Him through sin. Hail Mary... (three times)

O most sorrowful Virgin, pray for us!

Lily of Prayer for the Fourth Sorrow
Jesus Meets His Afflicted Mother on the Way to Calvary

O Virgin most sorrowful, by that keen grief with which thy soul was embittered when thou didst meet thy beloved Son on the way to Calvary, lacerated by the scourges, wet with blood, crowned with thorns, and bearing on His shoulders the heavy Cross on which He was to die for my salvation; obtain for me strength and courage, that, like thee, I may follow my Redeemer on the way of the Cross, and submit myself with willingness to whatever tribulations it may please Him to send me. Hail Mary... (three times)

O most sorrowful Virgin, pray for us!

Lily of Prayer for the Fifth Sorrow
The Blessed Virgin Mary at the Foot of the Cross

O Virgin most sorrowful, and my sweet Mother, since thou wert left to me as such by the last will of thy Jesus, by the unspeakable pangs which thou didst experience on Calvary at the foot of the Cross, when, abandoned by all, despised by the people, given gall to drink, after three hours of agony and having cried out with a loud voice, thy dearest Son commended His Spirit to His Eternal Father; obtain for me a great love of suffering, and the grace to love and serve thee as my most Sorrowful Mother. Hail Mary... (three times)

O most sorrowful Virgin, pray for us!

Lily of Prayer for the Sixth Sorrow
The Blessed Virgin Mary Receives the Crucified Body of Jesus from the Cross

O Virgin most sorrowful, by that grief which so bitterly afflicted thy most pure soul when thy well beloved Son, taken down from the Cross, was placed in thy bosom, and thou didst see in all its detail the cruel torment which my sins had caused Him; soften, I pray thee, my ungrateful heart, that I may bewail my sins and learn truly to compassionate thee. Hail Mary... (three times)

O most sorrowful Virgin, pray for us!

Lily of Prayer for the Seventh Sorrow
The Blessed Virgin Mary Returns from the Tomb

O Virgin most sorrowful, by the bitter grief which thou didst bear when thou didst accompany the inanimate body of thy beloved Jesus and wert constrained to consign Him to the tomb; grant that the memory of His Sacred Passion and Death be deeply impressed upon my heart, that I may be consumed with love for my God and for thee, my sweetest Mother. Hail Mary... (three times)

O most sorrowful Virgin, pray for us!


Hail, countless and bitter tears which flowed in such profusion from thine eyes, O Mary, in thy loving and tender compassion for thy Son, our Crucified Savior! Men and Angels shall honor and revere these tears, and all sinners shall flee to them for refuge, for they have their source in thy most compassionate Heart, O Sorrowful Mother! Even as the crimson Blood flowed from the Wounds of Jesus, so did the tears flow from thine eyes, O Mary, mingled with unutterable bitterness on account of the agony with which thy soul was overwhelmed. Hail Mary...

O burning tears, O bitter tears, O mournful tears which moved the Angels to pity and touched the Heart of the Eternal Father! Soften my hard heart that it also may be moved to pity and to a true sorrow for my innumerable sins. O holy tears, wash me! O bitter tears, purify me! O mournful tears, cleanse me! O gentle tears, soften my heart! O burning tears, inflame it! O tears rich in merit and grace, enrich and adorn me! Hail Mary...

O most gentle Virgin, I recall to thee the heartfelt compassion which thou didst feel for thy Divine Son during His Passion, and the countless tears which then flowed from thine eyes. I beseech thee, through these bitter tears, to obtain for me the gift of tears and a true and heartfelt sorrow for my sins. Oh, would that I could shed such efficacious and salutary tears over the cruel sufferings of my Savior, and over my sins, as thou didst shed at the foot of the Cross. O most merciful Virgin, offer, I beseech thee, thy bitter tears to the Eternal Father in satisfaction for my tepidity and hardness of heart; and through their merit obtain for me mercy and pardon of all my sins. And when, O dearest Mother, I lie upon my deathbed, give me but one of thy precious tears wherewith to wash and purify my sinful soul and guilty conscience. Amen. Hail Mary...

Let us Pray

Oh! Mother of Sorrows, given from the Cross to be our Mother, who didst behold the red drops of the Precious Blood falling down to the ground, remember the Sorrows which then overwhelmed thee like the waves of the sea, and which no other creature but thyself ever suffered on earth.

Oh! Mother of Sorrows, plead for us to the Eternal Father, intercede for us with thy Son, pray for us to the Holy Ghost, that after this our pilgrimage is over, we may behold the face of thy Son, and dwell with Him forever in eternal joy. Amen.

Wednesdays in Lent -- Tuesdays in September

Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, hear us.
Christ, graciously hear us.
God the Father of Heaven, have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world,
God the Holy Ghost,
Holy Trinity, One God,
Holy Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us.
Holy Mother of God,
Mother of Christ,
Mother of our Saviour Crucified,
Mother most sorrowful,
Mother most tearful,
Mother most afflicted,
Mother most lonely,
Mother most desolate,

Mother pierced by the sword of sorrow,
Queen of Martyrs,
Comfort of the sorrowful,
Help of the needy,
Protectress of the forsaken,
Support of widows and orphans,
Health of the sick,
Hope of the troubled,
Haven of the shipwrecked,
Refuge of sinners,
Hope of the despairing,
Mother of mercy,

Through the poverty in the stable of Bethlehem, we beseech thee, hear us.
Through thy sorrow at the prophecy of Simeon,
Through thy sad flight into Egypt,
Through thy anxiety when seeking thy lost Child,
Through thy grief when seeing thy Divine Son persecuted,
Through thy fear and anxiety when Jesus was apprehended,
Through the pain caused thee by the treason of Judas and the denial of Peter,
Through thy sad meeting with Jesus on the way of the Cross,
Through the tortures thy loving heart suffered at the Crucifixion of Jesus,
Through thy agony at the death of Jesus,
Through the sword of sorrow that pierced thy Heart when the side of Jesus was transfixed by the lance,
Through thy lamentations over the dead Body of thy Divine Son lying on thy bosom,
Through thy deep mourning at His tomb,
Through thy desolation after the burial of Jesus,
Through the tears thou didst shed for thy beloved Son,
Through thy wonderful resignation to the will of God in all thy sufferings, O Queen of peace,
In all our tribulations,
In our illnesses and pains,
In our sorrows and afflictions,
In our need and destitution,
In our fears and dangers,
In the hour of our death,
Against the day of Judgment,

Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world, spare us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world, graciously hear us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.

V. Pray for us, O Sorrowful Virgin,
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us Pray: We beseech Thee, O Lord Jesus Christ, let Thy Mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary, whose holy soul was pierced by a sword of sorrow at the hour of Thy Passion, implore Thy mercy for us, both now and at the hour of our death, Who livest and reignest forever, unto ages of ages. Amen. ... en%20Hymns
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By athenacp
Laws of Fast and Abstinence
and Ember Days

1. Everyone over 7 years of age is bound to observe the law of ABSTINENCE.
2. On ABSTINENCE days the faithful are obliged to abstain from flesh meat, and soups and gravy made from meat.
3. Everyone ages 18 to 59 inclusive is also bound to observe the law of FAST.
4. On the days of FAST, only one full meal is allowed. Two other meatless meals, sufficient to maintain strength, may be taken according to each one's needs, but together they should not equal another full meal. Eating between meals is not permitted; but liquids, including milk and fruit juices, are allowed.
5. Meat may be taken at the principal meal on a day of FAST, except on days of FAST and ABSTINENCE.
6. The current days of FAST and ABSTINENCE are: Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. These must be observed as such under pain of mortal sin unless one is dispensed.
7. The current days of ABSTINENCE-----besides Ash Wednesday and Good Friday-----are all Fridays of Lent.
8. Formerly all Fridays of the year except those which fell on a holy day of obligation were days of ABSTINENCE. Today, Fridays remain a day of penitential observance but one is not obliged to abstain from meat other than on the Fridays of Lent. Formerly all weekdays of Lent were days of FAST.
9. EMBER DAYS are days of voluntary fasting and prayer for the special sanctification of the four seasons and for obtaining God's blessings on the clergy and religious. The propers of the Masses reflect the Season in which they occur and include additional Lessons said before the Gospel.

Source: TRADITIONAL CALENDAR OF SAINTS, by the St. Benedict Center
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By athenacp
What is it to do fasting and abstinence?
And, when do I do it?

What does it mean to "fast"?

To fast is to do without food. Its purpose is to experience the effects of not eating. It also serves to be a penance or a sacrifice - for the purpose of strengthening us. When we don't eat, for even a little while, we get hungry. When we get hungry, we have a heightened sense of awareness. If, when we eat too much, we have a sluggish feeling, when we fast, we have a feeling of alertness. Fasting is a wonderful exercise whenever we want to sincerely ask for an important grace from God. It is not that our fasting "earns" God's attention, but by fasting, we clarify our thinking and our feeling. It is purifying and prepares us to pray more deeply.

When do I fast?

Catholics, as a group, are required to fast on only two days of the year - Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. On these days, fasting means something very specific and limited. It means that one eats only one full meal in a day, with no food in-between meals. It is understood that two other meals, if one eats three meals a day, should not total one full meal. One might fast in a more complete way, i.e., eating only a portion of a single meal.

Of course, anyone is free to fast at any time that it is helpful for their prayer and reflection. It is not recommended that anyone with impaired health should fast in any way. It is also important to note that everyone who fasts should drink enough fluids on a fast day.

What does it mean to "abstain"?

To abstain is to not eat meat. Its purpose is to be an act of penance - an act of sacrifice, that helps us grow in freedom to make much bigger sacrifices. Of course, it would not make sense to make the sacrifice of not eating meat, and then eat a wonderful meal I might enjoy even more. Many people eat a vegetarian diet, for a variety of reasons, and eating meat is not even an issue. It might be possible to abstain from a non-meal that I really like, on all the Fridays of Lent. It should be noted that many people in this world cannot afford to eat meat or do not have access to it. Part of our abstaining from meat can place us in solidarity with so many of our sisters and brothers around the world.

Our "Cooking Lent" site has lots of helps for preparing meatless meals with great devotion: Cooking Lent < ... oking.html> .

When do I abstain?

Catholics, as a group, abstain from meat on Ash Wednesday and on all the Fridays of Lent.

What about "giving up something" for Lent?

When many of us were children, we might remember our giving up candy for Lent. And, it seemed like a real sacrifice. As we grew up, it was often more difficult to decide what special thing to do, to make Lent a special season - to get our attention and to prepare ourselves for deeper sacrifices.

What would help me grow in freedom? That's the question to ask. For some of us, it could be, committing ourselves to give up judging others, every single day of Lent. For others, it could be giving up a bad habit we've developed. For still others, it is obvious what seems to be the important choice for me during Lent.

For many of us, the choice may not be to give something up, but to add something to our daily lives during Lent. We may commit ourselves to extra prayer time. We may decide to do some service to the poor, once a week during Lent. We may choose to increase our almsgiving to the poor - perhaps related to something we choose not to do, e.g., some might choose not to go out to eat one night a week, and to give that total amount to the poor.

Whether it is fasting, abstaining or other acts of penance, the whole desire we should have is to use these means to help us grow closer to our Lord and prepare ourselves "to celebrate the paschal mystery with minds and hearts renewed." (First Preface of Lent)

May our Lord bless us all on this journey ahead.

With permission from : Creighton U Online Ministries < ... nline.html>
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By athenacp
A Mardi Gras Prayer
for the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday

Mardi Gras ("Fat Tuesday") and Carnival ("Farewell to Meat") precede Ash Wednesday and Lent around the world, even where Lent has ceased to have much religious meaning. It was natural to develop a festival, a "last fling," before the prayerful fasting and abstinence of Lent.

How can we give this day before Ash Wednesday some religious meaning for us?

It may be that we are going to a Mardi Gras party and there will be much feasting. Our country may celebrate Carnival with gusto. Perhaps we can have a special family dinner together, with meat.

What's important is that we let our feasting anticipate our fasting. One way to do that is to begin to focus on the meaning of the day, when we first get up. It can create a sense of anticipation all day, that something very new is about to begin tomorrow.

We can prepare for whatever we will do, no matter how purely "social" or simply ordinary our day will be. Knowing why we go to a party, or enjoying the planning or preparation for a special meal, will add much meaning to this day.

Our Prayer

In these or similar words, we can pray in the spirit of this day.

Blessed are you, Lord God of all creation,
for it is from your goodness that we have this day
to celebrate on the threshold of the Season of Lent.

Tomorrow we will fast and abstain from meat.
Today we feast.
We thank you for the abundance of gifts you shower upon us.
We thank you especially for one another.
As we give you thanks,
we are mindful of those who have so much less than we do.
As we share these wonderful gifts together,
we commit ourselves to greater generosity toward those
who need our support.

Prepare us for tomorrow.
Tasting the fullness of what we have today,
let us experience some hunger tomorrow.
May our fasting make us more alert
and may it heighten our consciousness
so that we might be ready to hear your Word
and respond to your call.

As our feasting fills us with gratitude
so may our fasting and abstinence hollow out in us
a place for deeper desires
and an attentiveness to hear the cry of the poor.
May our self-denial turn our hearts to you
and give us a new freedom for
generous service to others.

We ask you these graces
with our hearts full of delight
and stirring with readiness for the journey ahead.
We ask them with confidence
in the name of Jesus the Lord.

With permission from : Creighton U Online Ministries < ... nline.html>
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By athenacp
February 20, 1986

"Dear children! The second message of these Lenten days is that you renew prayer before the cross. Dear children, I am giving you special graces and Jesus is giving you special gifts from the cross. Take them and live! Reflect on Jesus' Passion and in your life be united with Jesus!

Thank you for having responded to my call."
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By athenacp

Lord, give us grace to inaugurate with holy fasting the defenses of Christian warfare, so that we who are to fight against spiritual wickedness, may be helped and strengthened by self-denial. Amen
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By athenacp

The Lenten discipline consists of three separate parts:

1. Corporal or External Fast, including the abstinence from certain foods, drinks, and amusements, i.e. music, and parties during Lent.

These points of fast should be stressed today especially with the mania for entertainment besetting our society;

2. Spiritual or Internal Fast which consists of abstinence from all evil----sin.

Saint John Chrysostom taught that the "value of fasting consists not so much in abstinence from food but rather in withdrawal from sinful practices."

And Saint Basil the Great explains: "Turning away from all wickedness means keeping our tongue in check, restraining our anger, suppressing evil desires, and avoiding all gossiping and swearing. To abstain from these things----herein lies the true value of fast!"

3. Spiritual Change achieved by the practice of virtues and good works must be the main objective of our fasting.

The Fathers of the Church insisted that during Lent the faithful attend the Lenten church services and daily Mass.

In the course of the centuries, our fasting discipline has undergone numerous and radical changes. Today, unfortunately, the observance of Lent is but mere formalism, reduced to abstinence on certain days and without any stress on one's spiritual growth or the amending of one's life style.

It is urgent that we return to the pristine spirit of the Great Fast which is so badly needed in our materialistic world.

Listed below are suggested practices that may be used along with your usual Lenten family traditions of sacrifices and penances.

Corporal or External Practices:

* Take less of what you like and more of what you dislike at meals today.

* Take nothing to drink between meals.

* Do not use seasoning on your food today.

* Do not use any sweeteners with your food or drinks today.

* Avoid listening to the radio at all today.

* Take nothing to eat between meals today.

* Avoid any TV or videos; instead read the Passion of Christ in your Bible or Missal.

* Take only one helping of each item at meals today.

* Say an extra Rosary.

Spiritual or Internal Fast Practices:

* Don't do any unnecessary talking; instead, say little aspirations throughout the day.

* Exercise your patience today in all things.

* Don't make any complaints today.

* Restrain any anger, and go out of your way to be kind to the person

* who caused your anger.

* Don't be distracted with someone else's business.

* Avoid any gossip today. Instead say an extra Rosary to overcome this great fault.

When asked to do something extra do so with a joyful and pleasant attitude today.

* Speak in a pleasant tone to everyone today.

* Avoid using the phone today.

* Tell the truth in all your dealings today.

* Avoid any vanity or self-seeking today.

Spiritual Practices: [virtues and good works]

* Practice humility today in all your actions.

* Be generous today; help someone in need.

* Look for ways to be helpful throughout the day.

* Do a job that needs to be done without being asked.

* Be courageous; walk away from any impure situations today.

* Don't be at all idle today. Always be doing something for others or for your spiritual growth.

* Go out of your way today to help or talk to someone who is usually difficult.

* Volunteer for an extra job today.

* Say an extra Rosary today for the conversion of a sinner.

* Visit someone who is sick or lonesome today. Offer to say the Rosary with them.
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By athenacp
Why do we do Penance during the days of Lent?

The Reasons for doing Penance are:
1. To atone for the temporal punishment due to our sins
2. To increase the value of our prayers, which are far more efficacious when joined with penance
3. To obtain graces for others Note: Our Lady of Fatima asked the children to pray and sacrifice for sinners
4. To strengthen our will power, our will is weak , but penance makes us stronger against temptations
5. To increase merit and earn a higher place in heaven
6. To elevate our mind to heavenly things (Penance helps us pray and meditate better)
7. To demonstrate our love for God (True love entails a willingness to suffer for the person loved)
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By athenacp
Daily Lent Prayer
"Lord, open my lips,
and my mouth shall declare your praise."
Opening Prayer:
Let us pray
for the grace to keep Lent faithfully.
protect us in the struggle against evil.
As we begin the discipline of Lent,
make this season 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. Alternative Opening Prayer:
Let us pray
in quiet remembrance of our need for redemption.
Father in heaven,
the light of your truth bestows sight
to the darkness of sinful eyes.
May this season of repentance
bring us the blessing of your forgiveness
and the gift of your light.
Grant this through Christ our Lord.
Today's Readings: Joel 2:12-18; Psalm 51: 3-4, 5-6ab, 12-13, 14&17; 2 Cor. 5: 20 - 6:2; Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18
Daily Meditation:
A very special day.
The ashes we use are the burnt palms from last year's celebration of Passion Sunday.
We begin our Lenten journey aware of where we are going.
We want to enter into the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus for us more fully.
That is the purpose of our journey. It is why we mark our heads with his cross.
It is why we fast today and abstain from meat.
Our Lenten program is not an effort to save ourselves.
We have been saved by his sacrifice.
Our self-denial helps us, in the darkness that surrounds us,
to prepare ourselves to receive his light.
For this is a journey to the Easter font,
where we will renew the promises of our Baptism,
remembering that in dying with him in the waters of Baptism,
we are re-born with him to everlasting life.
This year's journey begins today.
Yet even now, says the LORD,
return to me with your whole heart,
with fasting, and weeping, and mourning;
Rend your hearts, not your garments,
and return to the LORD, your God.
For gracious and merciful is he,
slow to anger, rich in kindness,
and relenting in punishment.
- Joel 2:12-13

Prayer Over the Gifts
Lord, help us to resist temptation
by our Lenten works
of charity and penance.
By this sacrifice
may we be prepared
to celebrate the death and resurrection
of Christ our Savior
and be cleansed from sin
and renewed in spirit.
We ask this through Christ Our Lord.
Today's Daily Reflection
Today God our Father brings us to the beginning of Lent.
We pray that in this time of salvation
he will fill us with the Holy Spirit, purify our hearts,
and strengthen us in love.
Let us humbly ask him:
Lord, give us your Holy Spirit.

May we be filled and satisfied,
- by the word which you give us.
Teach us to be loving not only in great and exceptional moments,
- but above all in the ordinary events of daily life.
May we abstain from what we do not really need,
- and help our brothers and sisters in distress.
May we bear the wounds of your Son in our bodies,
- for through his body he gave us life.

Closing Prayer:
it feels like we are embarking on a Lenten journey together, you and I.
The beautiful words in the today's prayer talk about
the "quiet remembrance of our need for redemption."
That feels like what I am looking for -
or what you are looking for in me.
I want to remember how much I need you in my life
and how much my life needs redemption.
I want to remember it clearly and
in the background of my day today and all through Lent.
On this special day, Ash Wednesday,
may my small sacrifices in fasting be a way to clear away
the clutter in my life to see you more clearly.
May my longing for meat and other food,
help me to focus my life today more outside myself.
Let me be aware of those who are in so much more suffering than I am
and may I be aware of them as the brothers and sisters you have placed in my life.
Lord, I know there is darkness within me and around me.
Bless these days with your Word.
Let your Light shine in the darkness.
Help me long for that Light
until we celebrate it at the Vigil six weeks from now.
And most of all Lord,
help me to honor this day with the ashes on my forehead.
They help me remember where I have come from and where I am going.
May I acknowledge to you my sins
and my deep need for your loving forgiveness and grace.
I pray that this Lenten season will make me so much more aware
of how much I need your healing in my life.

May the Lord bless us,
protect us from all evil
and bring us to everlasting life.
With permission from : Creighton U Online Ministries
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By athenacp
Jesus' Dying and Our Dying: For Ash Wednesday Meditation

Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur, 1929

"Let us also go that we may die with Him."

--------John 11:16

THE heart-gripping plaint which we have just heard, the silence of the bells, the black color of the vestments, the interrupted Mass, the lamentations full of misery and wailing, call forth in our souls the true Good Friday mood and lead us into the dark cloud that ever enshrouds this day. It is a semblance of those three hours of darkness of the first Good Friday, when the sun veiled its face and all nature donned mourning, seized by agony at the death of the Saviour.

Death's throes steal upon our soul as we contemplate the scene on Golgotha, where death and life wage a marvelous duel on the Cross. This great event concerns all of us, it reaches into our own life and death. The thought of our own dying is automatically united with that of the death of Jesus.

When the Saviour disclosed to His disciples His intention of going again into Judea, they objected: "Rabbi, the Jews but now sought to stone Thee: and goest Thou thither again?" But Thomas, sullenly determined, said: "Let us also go that we may die with Him" (Jn. xi, 16).

Thomas expresses an excellent thought for Good Friday. Come, let us also go up to Golgotha and be present at Christ's death, so that some time we too may die with Him.

How can we learn how to die? Doesn't one really learn how to die when the end actually draws near? That is the view of the worldly-minded, who during life nervously avoid all thought of dying. The worldling develops marvelous skill in barring the thought of death from his mind as often as it approaches. Even when death itself draws near and sentences him to a bed of sickness he continues to play the game of hide-and-seek, and his friends and relatives aid in tricking his weakened vision with a mirage of treacherous hopes and assurances. Thus it may happen that a poor dying man suddenly awakens in the world beyond without ever having given a serious thought to dying. What sort of an awakening will that be? Commonly the awakening takes place here below, during the last days and hours, when the icy breath of the grave chills the trembling soul and the thought of death can no longer be set aside, but grips the sick man as with an ague. Then indeed there is direst need, and naught but a miracle of grace can, under the stress of abject fear and startled confusion, permit of a worthy reception of the Sacraments and at least a semblance of an orderly closing of the books of life.

We, on our part, should determine not to be surprised by death. O Crucified Saviour, let us not die unprepared! We wish to learn from Thee to be prepared to die! We will heed Thy admonition, "Be ready" (Estote parati"; Luke 12:40).

The Saviour was ever prepared for death. Throughout His life He died daily in anticipation; He had death constantly before His eyes, vividly previsioned with Divine omniscience all the anguish and torture of which it is made up. The Cross cast its black shadow even into the paradise of His childhood and youth. The baptism of blood awaiting Him kept His blood athrob throughout His life: "I have a baptism wherewith I am to be baptized, and how I am straitened until it be accomplished!" (Luke 12:50.) Having positively predicted His death, and heroically prepared for it, He sets out for Jerusalem, and after He has, in the Garden of Olives, overcome human nature's final resistance to suffering and death with an heroic "Not My will, but Thine be done"-----He surrenders to death; and His death is the most voluntary death since time began and until time shall end.

The Saviour showed us by example how to die a good death, and He wishes us to think often of His death and our own. Therefore, in instituting the Eucharist He incorporated in it (the Mass) the remembrance of His death: "Do this for a commemoration of Me" (Luke 22:19). "As often as you shall eat this bread," says the Apostle, "and drink the chalice, you shall shew the death of the Lord until He come" (1 Cor. 11:26). For this reason the Church, from the earliest days, provided that the image of the Crucified Saviour should be found everywhere, in the churches, on the altars, in the dwellings, in the schools, along the roads and on hills and mountains-----to remind the Christians of His death and their death. Thus from the beginning the "Memento mori" became an essential part of the Christian philosophy of living and the Christian rule of life.

The good Catholic does not avoid the thought of death; rather he makes of it a companion along the road, an escort through life, a friend and a counselor; and to this thought he owes much wisdom, much prudent guidance, many good impulses, and on many occasions preservation from error, sin and vice. The sage of the Old Law exhorts us: "In all thy works remember thy last end, and thou shalt never sin" (Eccles. 7:40), and St. Augustine declares in connection therewith that this thought breaks pride, quenches envy, cures wickedness, dissipates lustfulness, destroys vanity and boasting, exercises a wholesome discipline, perfects sanctity, and prepares man for eternal salvation.

The good Christian knows this and therefore weaves the thought of death into the fabric of his entire life. lt is a dark thread in the woof of life, but a strong thread, which lends stamina and stability to life as a whole. The good Christian often prays for the grace of a happy death. When he approaches the confessional, he says to himself: "I will make this confession as if it were my last;" and when he nears the Lord's table: "If this should be my last Holy Communion, let it be my viaticum, strengthening me to die well;" and at night when retiring: "If this be my last night, O God, be merciful to me, a sinner!" Thus he realizes the importance of the song our forefathers sang so frequently in the Middle Ages: "In the midst of life we are in death." Even in our natural life dying always keeps step with living. Each hour through which we live is an hour cut away from our life. Each time we have grown a year older, our span of life has been shortened by a year. Each step takes us nearer to the grave; each heart-beat-----the heart is death's timepiece in our breast-----admonishes us to prepare for the end.

In this fashion living and dying are interwoven in human life. Vain are all attempts to separate them, silly all endeavors to frighten away the thought of death. It is wrong, too, to look upon death as an extremely unpleasant natural occurrence which one cannot escape, and which, it is best to think about as little as possible. Ah! no! Dying is the final outcome, the net result of life. Dying is the richest fruit of living; dying is life's last, great deed, even as the bitter Passion and death of the Saviour was the highest and most glorious achievement of His living and the greatest of all the great deeds of redemption performed by Him. A good death must be earned by a good life, must have been previously lived through, worked for, fought for, prayed for, must be prepared carefully.

'Tis true, our preparedness for death cannot be as clearly and completely visioned as was that of the Saviour. At all times He saw before Him the day and the hour, Gethsemane and Golgotha, the pillar and the crown of thorns, the cross and the nails, and accepted in advance all these pains and torments, thus preparing Himself for death. Concerning death, we are wholly certain of but one thing, namely, that we must die. When, and where, and how, whether five or ten years from now, a week hence or tomorrow, whether at home or among strangers-----of all these circumstances we know nothing.

This uncertainty, however, should not detract from our preparedness for dying, but should rather increase our watchfulness and zeal, mindful of the Lord's admonition: "Watch ye, therefore, because you know not the day nor the hour" (Matt. 15:13). We should confidently leave the when, the where, and the how in God's hands and declare ourselves in agreement with what His holy Will may decree with respect to the time, place, and manner of our death. All through life we should frequently repeat the dying prayer of the Saviour: "Father, into Thy hands I commend my spirit" (Luke 23:46); establish contact between His and our suffering and dying; unite in advance all our bodily misery, all anguish of soul, the throes and distress of our dying with His suffering and death.

Then let Death come when, where, and how it will-it will not find us unprepared, it will not surprise and overwhelm us like a thief in the night. But it will rather come as an old acquaintance, with whom one is on speaking terms, as a friend and a brother, as Death was greeted by St. Francis. Death will find us ready, armed with the same thought with which Christ suffered (1 Pet. 4:1): resignation to the will of God and attachment to the dying Saviour. Reception of the last Sacraments (may none of us die without them!) presses the seal of salvation on suffering and dying. Death will still be trying enough. It is exceptional indeed that a person at death's door can say as did the great theologian Suarez: "I would never have thought death could be so sweet." But whether distressing or agreeable, bitter or sweet, it will be a good death, leading, not into eternal perdition, but into eternal life. Whoever has frequently thought of death during life, may, when death comes, think with eager hopefulness and confidence of life eternal.

Prayer of Resignation to the Divine Will with Indulgence < ... ESIGNATION>
Plenary Indulgence at the Moment of Death <>

Let us also go up in order to die with Jesus. To die as He died, to die with Him, that is what we seek to learn in the school of the Cross. Let us not forget the lesson we have learned today, but let us rather educate ourselves further and strive to make progress in the ars moriendi, the art of dying, which our forefathers esteemed so highly. No doubt we are all prepared to do so. But perhaps there are some among us who think: "That was a pious, useful instruction; true, it is wholesome to think of death and there is nothing better than to die as Christ died; I shall make a note of it and recall it when I am older or if I should become seriously ill."

No matter how seemingly reasonable that sounds, it is by no means the correct lesson to be drawn from our meditation. We have realized the necessity of being prepared for death. At what age does it begin? To this question there is but one answer for everybody: Today. Whether you are twelve or twenty, or thirty or fifty, or seventy years of age, Memento mori applies to you and to everybody. For among the fifty millions who die each year, the one hundred and fifty thousand who die each day, the six thousand claimed by death each hour, there are children and youths, middle-aged and old men and women. No age is immune against death. Let us all, therefore, young and old, today on Golgotha's heights and during our visits to the holy sepulchres in various churches, set our hearts in order and keep them prepared until death calls.

And let us not step down from Golgotha without having commended the hour of our death to the Mother, whose comforting presence even the Saviour did not wish to forego in the hours of His agony; whom He named and ordained on Golgotha, by His blood and His word, as the Mother of the dying. Let us pray to her as did our pious forefathers:
When we lie in mortal anguish,

Mary, Queen, our terror vanquish;
Mother, stand by us in death,
Virgin, bless our dying breath. Amen.

User avatar
By athenacp
Things to avoid when you fast
& words from the Fathers of the desert

1- Do not fast to make others see you: “When you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites. They neglect their appearance, so that they may appear to others to be fasting. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, so that you may not appear to be fasting, except to your Father who is hidden. And your Father who sees what is hidden will repay you.” (Matthew 6:16-18). Fasting is always a means rather than a goal. If you fast just to let others praise you and treat you as a saint, I tell you, you are deceiving yourself and you may never enjoy the benefits of fasting.

2- Do not fast with pride: “Two people went up to the temple area to pray; one was a Pharisee and the other was a tax collector. The Pharisee took up his position and spoke this prayer to himself, 'O God, I thank you that I am not like the rest of humanity--greedy, dishonest, adulterous--or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week, and I pay tithes on my whole income.” (Luke 18:12). Humility is the basis for every virtue.

3- Do not fast while holding grudges: “Is this the manner of fasting I wish, of keeping a day of penance:
That a man bow his head like a reed, and lie in sackcloth and ashes? Do you call this a fast, a day acceptable to the LORD? This, rather, is the fasting that I wish: releasing those bound unjustly, untying the thongs of the yoke; Setting free the oppressed, breaking every yoke; Sharing your bread with the hungry, sheltering the oppressed and the homeless; Clothing the naked when you see them, and not turning your back on your own. Then your light shall break forth like the dawn, and your wound shall quickly be healed; Your vindication shall go before you, and the glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard. Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer, you shall cry for help, and he will say: Here I am!
If you remove from your midst oppression, false accusation and malicious speech; If you bestow your bread on the hungry and satisfy the afflicted; Then light shall rise for you in the darkness, and the gloom shall become for you like midday; Then the LORD will guide you always and give you plenty even on the parched land. He will renew your strength, and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring whose water never fails.” (Isaiah 58:5-11).

The Fathers of the desert sayings:

1- “Fasting humbles the body”. (Linginus).

2- “If a king wants to take the city of his enemies, he needs to lay siege to the city, no food or drink allowed. In this way, the people of the city become humiliated. Therefore, they surrender to the king.”
When we fast, we lay siege to the body. We do not eat or drink. Then, we become humbles, weakened.
Therefore, we surrender to Christ the King.

3- We learned from experience that the excess of food and rest is the cause of oppression.

4- Thoughts told a monk called Daniel: “Eat today and fast tomorrow.” The monk replied: “I won’t do this, but I want to fast today so that the will of God might be fulfilled tomorrow.”

5- “The fortress of a monk is fasting. His weapon is prayer. The one who has no fasting, has no fortress against his enemy. The one who has no prayer life, has no weapon to fight his enemies.”

6- “Fasting without prayer & humility is like an eagle with broken wings.”

7- Fasting causes victory. Fast with Christ so that you might be glorified with him by defeating the devil.”
User avatar
By athenacp

"When you fast do not look gloomy," Jesus says (Matthew 6:16). Today's consumer society looks on fasting itself as gloomy. Urging everyone to eat, drink, and buy more and more, our world today has made fasting unfashionable.

Yet the gospel message says more and more can ruin human life. An acquisitive spirit is a selfish spirit. And as the alarming numbers of people addicted to drugs and alcohol today prove, the taste for too much can destroy.

Food and drink, clothes and amusements - the good things of life - can turn into your captors, Jesus teaches. In our acquisitive, pleasure-oriented society, fasting is a way of keeping ourselves free.

This Lent, recognizing the hold things have on us, let us try, with God's help, to keep them in their right place. Some reasonable abstaining from food, drink and entertainments can help us do that.

Indeed today we have new compelling reasons for taking fasting seriously. As the resources of our planet are increasingly threatened, it becomes clear that the human family, especially those living in affluent nations, can no longer be unlimited consumers. We must develop a leaner, less wasteful way of life.
User avatar
By athenacp
Prayers for Ash Wednesday

Lord, protect us in our struggle against evil. As we begin the discipline of Lent, make this season 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.

+ + + + + + + + + +

Father in heaven, the light of your truth bestows sight to the darkness of sinful eyes. May this season of repentance bring us the blessing of your forgiveness and the gift of our light. Grant this through Christ our Lord. Amen.
User avatar
By athenacp
(from JohnofGod)


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

Rend your hearts, not your garments, and return to the Lord, your God. (Joel 2:13)


The liturgical use of ashes originated in the Old Testament times. Ashes symbolized mourning, mortality and penance. In the Book of Esther, Mordecai put on sackcloth and ashes when he heard of the decree of King Ahasuerus to kill all of the Jewish people in the Persian Empire (Esther 4:1). Job repented in sackcloth and ashes (Job 42:6). Prophesying the Babylonian captivity of Jerusalem, Daniel wrote, "I turned to the Lord God, pleading in earnest prayer, with fasting, sackcloth, and ashes" (Daniel 9:3).

Jesus made reference to ashes, "If the miracles worked in you had taken place in Tyre and Sidon, they would have reformed in sackcloth and ashes long ago" (Matthew 11:21).
In the Middle Ages, the priest would bless the dying person with holy water, saying, "Remember that thou art dust and to dust thou shalt return."
The Church adapted the use of ashes to mark the beginning of the penitential season of Lent, when we remember our mortality and mourn for our sins.

In our present liturgy for Ash Wednesday, we use ashes made from the burned palm branches distributed on the Palm Sunday of the previous year. The priest blesses the ashes and imposes them on the foreheads of the faithful, making the sign of the cross and saying, "Remember, man, you are dust and to dust you shall return," or "Turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospel."

As we begin this holy season of Lent in preparation for Easter, we must remember the significance of the ashes we have received: We mourn and do penance for our sins. We again convert our hearts to the Lord, who suffered, died, and rose for our salvation. We renew the promises made at our baptism, when we died to an old life and rose to a new life with Christ. Finally, mindful that the kingdom of this world passes away, we strive to live the kingdom of God now and look forward to its fulfillment in heaven.

ash-wed-03.jpg< ... =141&h=227>

Lenten Question

Q: What is Lent?
A: Lent is the forty-day period before Easter, excluding Sundays, which begins on Ash Wednesday and ends on Holy Saturday (the day before Easter Sunday). [This traditional enumeration does not precisely coincide with the calendar according to the liturgical reform. In order to give special prominence to the Sacred Triduum (Mass of the Lord's Supper, Good Friday, Easter Vigil) the current calendar counts Lent as only from Ash Wednesday to Holy Thursday, up to the Mass of the Lord's Supper. Even so, Lenten practices are properly maintained up to the Easter Vigil, excluding Sundays, as before.]

Lenten Action

Invite a non-practicing friend to Mass with you.


Almighty and everlasting God, you despise nothing you have made and forgive the sins of all who are penitent.
Create and make in us new and contrite hearts, that we, worthily lamenting our sins and acknowledging our brokenness, may obtain of you, the God of all mercy, perfect remission and forgiveness; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Ash Wednesday is a day of both fasting and abstinence.

Lent is Love

< ... alent1.gif> Here I am, God!
I'm ready
to love You
with all my heart!

Regulations, Fast and Abstinence


Lent begins on Ash Wednesday. In the United States, Ash Wednesday and all Fridays of Lent are days of abstinence from eating meat for all Catholics 14 years of age and older. In addition, Ash Wednesday and Good Friday are days of fast [one full meal and two smaller meals] for Catholics who are 18, but not yet 59 years of age.

Even now, says the Lord, return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; rend your hearts, not your clothes. Return to the Lord, your God, for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love, and relents from punishing.
Joel 2:12-18

For more Lent materials, visit: <> ... stry/Lent/



The First Commandment: I am the Lord your God; you shall not have strange gods before me.

Do we truly love God above all, or do we sometimes give greater importance to things of this world: money, image, looks, clothes, popularity or selfish desires?

Do we claim to have good values, but often bend or abandon them in order to fit in and be "part of the group?"

Do we turn to God in thankful prayer, or do we pray mostly when we want something?

Do we really want to be transformed by the will of God, or do we just use our religion in order to "look" like good Christian people?


The Second Commandment: You shall not take the name of the Lord in vain.

Do we show disrespect for God's name by misusing it out of frustration or anger or to look "tough" to others?

Do we hesitate to mention God's name in appropriate situations, in conversations with friends and family members?

Do we continue to learn about God by paying attention in Church, Religion Class and through reading the Times Review and paying attention to Catholic periodicals, articles on religion in the secular press and television programs?


The Third Commandment: Remember to keep holy the Lord's day.

Do we come to Church to celebrate the Eucharist on Sundays and Holy Days? Do we attend Mass only when it is convenient or when it will make us "feel good?"

Do we participate in the Eucharist by praying and singing, or do we simply sit as spectators and wait to be entertained?

Do we pay close attention to the Word of God and open ourselves to God's call to allow His word to take effect in our lives?

Do we acknowledge the "true presence" of Christ in the Eucharist and receive Holy Communion with respect and reverence?


The Fourth Commandment: Honor your father and your mother.

Do we help bring peace and happiness to our families, or are we disrespectful of others and a source of hurt and division for those who are closest to us?

As parents, are we generous and patient with our children? Do we spend time with them and give them the attention they need? Do we set responsible limits for them and make sure they follow rules that will help them grow into responsible adults?

Are we willing to say "no" to our children, or are we more likely to ignore problem behavior and hope it will "go away?"

Do we listen to our children carefully and treat them with respect?

As children, are we loving, respectful and obedient to our parents? Do we appreciate the many sacrifices they make for us? Do we say "Thank you" and "I love you" often enough?

Do we do our chores without being asked, or do we wait for our parents to become upset before we move away from what we are doing?

Do we listen to our parents' reasoning when they say "no" to us?


The Fifth Commandment: You shall not kill. *

Have we injured another person through carelessness or fighting?

Have we placed ourselves or others in danger because of reckless use of alcohol or other drugs? Have we caused difficulties for ourselves or others because of their use?

Have we risked our lives by driving or riding with someone under the influence alcohol or other drugs?

Do we strive to forgive those who have hurt us, or do we hold on to resentment and desire for revenge?

Do we use our powers of influence well, especially our voting rights, in order to fight war, oppression, abortion and injustice, or do we allow those evils to continue by our apathy and our silence?

Have we been violent or abusive either in action or in speech? Have we been verbally abusive to our children or other family members?

Do we share what we have with those in need? Do we support the life and mission of the Church by responsible stewardship - sharing our time, talent and treasure?

Do we bring our Christianity to every day situations, or do we stand on the sidelines and complain about every flaw we can detect in others?

* Those who have had, procured or assisted in an abortion, see the end of this Examination of Conscience.


The Sixth Commandment: You shall not commit adultery.

Do we respect the dignity of the human body and the holiness of Christian marriage? Do we show that respect in our speech, or are crude language and jokes often part of our conversations?

Do we understand and appreciate the gift of our sexuality as a means of expressing our love [and God's love] in the Sacrament of Marriage?

Have we been faithful to our marriage, priestly or religious vows? Do we keep our commitments simply because we said we would, or do we seek to nourish ourselves and others through our lifetime commitments?

Have we dishonored our bodies by fornication, impurity or unworthy conversation or thought leading to impure actions?

Have we encouraged others to sin by our failure to maintain good moral standards?


The Seventh Commandment: You shall not steal.

Do we respect the property of other people? Have we stolen, damaged or vandalized the property of others?

Have we cheated at work or in school? Have we encouraged others to sin by pressuring them into helping us cheat?

Are we honest and hardworking in school and at work?

Are we faithful to our promises? Can we be trusted?


The Eighth Commandment:
You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

Have we lied to stay out of trouble or to avoid a difficult situation?

Do we gossip about others? Have we damaged the reputation of another person by exaggeration or making up stories about them?

Can we be trusted with a secret?

Do we stand up for those unjustly accused, or are we merely a channel through which rumors pass, whether or not they are true?


The Ninth Commandment: You shall not covet your neighbor's wife.

Have we weakened or damaged our marriage commitment through our obsession with another person?

Do we respect the commitments of others and help them remain faithful to their promises?

Do we treat our marriages casually in our conversations and attitudes? Have we said or done anything which made a mockery of our sacred promises?


The Tenth Commandment: You shall not covet your neighbor's goods.

Are we satisfied with what God has given us, or are we jealous of those who seem to have more?

Do we try to prove we are better than others by bragging or buying more things?

Do we appreciate our own good qualities, or do we constantly compare ourselves with others and become resentful or bitter?

Do we cope well with the problems that confront us and maintain our Christian hope in spite of hard times and difficulties?

Do we truly "seek first the Kingdom of God" in our lives and place our trust in Him?

Do we reflect the peace, hope and joy of a people redeemed and made holy by the Blood of Christ?


*The fifth commandment is where we deal with life issues. Having an abortion, procuring one or assisting at one are grave matters. The wisdom of the Church has shown that many find it difficult to forgive themselves in these situations. Fathers of children who have been aborted seem to have as many difficulties as mothers. Most Dioceses provide means (in many places called "Project Rachel") to help them deal with the complicated issues involved so they can move on with their lives. After-abortion support is also available at: 1-800-401-6494. Know that you are very much in our prayers! Another grave fifth commandment issue involves supporting or helping to procure abortion, supporting euthanasia, etc. by talk, action, influencing legislation, directly or indirectly. Such things put our souls in grave danger. Those participating should not receive Communion until they've had a change of heart, confessed that sin and left it behind.
User avatar
By athenacp
(from JohnofGod)

Beginning My Lenten Patterns

"Insanity is defined as
doing the same thing over and over again,
expecting different results."

This saying, commonly used in 12-Step programs, reveals a real wisdom. It can be a good beginning reflection as we examine the choices we will make in the days ahead. It is very simple. Our Lord is calling us to a "change of heart." And, we know from experience, that nothing will change, unless we change our patterns. To expect different results is insanity.

So, what needs changing?

We start to come to know that by asking for help. "Lord, help me to know what needs changing." It is often said, "Be careful about what you ask for." This is one of those requests that God must surely want to answer.

Then, we have to listen. With a little bit of reflection, most of us will just begin to "name" things that make up our ordinary habits and ways of being who we are, that we aren't very proud of. Things we do and things we never get around to doing. We can "feel" the call to change our attitudes, our self-absorption, or our way of interacting with others. Perhaps a spouse, a loved one, a friend, a family member, a co-worker has told me something about myself that gets in the way of communication, that makes relating to them difficult. Maybe I don't take God very seriously. I go to Church on Sunday, and contribute my share, but I don't really take time to deal with my relationship with God. Perhaps I've let my mind and fantasy get cluttered with escapist litter. I might begin to name a number of self-indulgent habits. I may realize I rarely, if ever, hear the cry of the poor, and can't remember when I've answered that cry. It could be that dishonesty on all kinds of levels has become a way of life. One of the roadblocks in my relationship with God and others may be deep wounds or resentments from the past, things I continue to hold against others or myself.

You are always merciful! Please wipe away my sins.
Wash me clean from all of my sin and guilt. - Psalm 51
See the Seven Penitential Psalms < ... salms.html>

Beginning New Patterns during Lent.

Something all of us can do is commit ourselves to being more reflective during Lent. It just means that I'm going to make a point of being more observant, more aware of what I'm experiencing - paying more attention to what is "automatic" behavior. And, I then start paying attention to my desires. We have all kinds of desires. During Lent, I can reflect upon the desires I currently have and which of them need to be purified, which may need to be abandoned, and which are wonderful desires that are there, but I haven't acted upon them. Naming our deepest desires will guide the choices we make to establish new patterns for Lent.

Lent is the time to start new patterns of prayer. Perhaps I haven't been praying at all. This is a great time to choose to begin. It is important to begin realistically. I can start by simply pausing when I get up and taking a slow, deep breath, and recalling what I have to do this day, and asking for grace to do it as a child of God. I may want to go to bed a half an hour earlier, and get up a half an hour earlier and give myself some time alone to read the readings for the day, the Daily Reflection, or the PRAYING LENT page for the day. I may choose to go to Mass each day during Lent. I may choose to get to church on Sunday, just 15 minutes earlier, so I can reflect a bit. Lent may be a time I would want to choose to start to journal the day to day reflections that are coming, the desires I'm naming and asking for, the graces I am being given.

Lent is a great time to change our eating patterns. This is not about "losing weight" or "getting in shape," though for most of us, paying attention to what we eat, will make a difference in our overall health. This is about being more alert. Anyone who has tried to diet knows that something changes in us when we try to avoid eating. The monks in the desert, centuries ago, discovered that fasting - simply not eating - caused a tremendous boost to their consciousness. Not only did their bodies go on "alert," but their whole person seemed to be in a more heightened state of attention. The whole purpose of fasting was to aid prayer - to make it easier to listen to God more openly, especially in times of need.

Among Catholics, only Ash Wednesday and Good Friday are named as days of fast we all do together. (And that fast is simply to eat only one full meal in the day, with the other two meals combined, not equal to the one.) On the Wednesdays and Fridays of Lent, we may want to try to fast more intentionally. Of course, always conscious of our health and individual nutrition needs, we may want to try to eat very little, except some juices, or perhaps a small amount of beans and rice. We will experience how powerfully open and alert we feel and how much easier it is to pray and to name deeper desires. Not only will I feel less sluggish and tired, I will feel simply freer and more energized.

The other powerful advantage of fasting is that it can be a very simple gesture that places me in greater solidarity with the poor of the earth, who often have very little more than a little rice and beans each day. Powerful things happen in me, when I think about those people in the world who have so much less than I do. And, it's a great cure for self-pity.

Practicing Generosity
Almsgiving has always been an important part of Lent. Lent begins with the powerful Isaiah 58 < ... iah58.html> , on the Friday and Saturday after Ash Wednesday. It is important to give ourselves the experience of fasting from being un-generous. Generosity is not simply giving my excess clothes to a place where poor people might purchase them. It's not even writing a "generous" check at the time a collection is taken up for a cause that benefits the poor. These are wonderful practices. Generosity is an attitude. It is a sense that no matter how much I have, all that I have is gift, and given to me to be shared. It means that sharing with others in need is one of my personal priorities. That is quite different from assessing all of my needs first, and then giving away what is left over. A spirit of self-less giving means that one of my needs is to share what I have with others. Lent is a wonderful time to practice self-less giving, because it takes practice. This kind of self-sacrificing generosity is a religious experience. It places us in solidarity with the poor who share with each other, without having any excess. It also joins us with Jesus, who gave himself completely, for us. Establishing new patterns of giving will give real life and joy to Lent.

Practicing Penance
When I sprain my ankle, part of the healing process will involve physical therapy. It's tender, and perhaps it is swollen. It may be important to put ice on it first, to reduce the inflammation. I may want to wrap it an elevate it and stay off of it. Then I will need to start moving it and then walking on it, and eventually, as the injury is healed, I'll want to start exercising it, so that it will be stronger than it was before, so that I won't as easily injure it again.

Penance is a remedy, a medicine, a spiritual therapy for the healing I desire. The Lord always forgives us. We are forgiven without condition. But complete healing takes time. With serious sin or with bad habits we've invested years in forming, we need to develop a therapeutic care plan to let the healing happen. To say "I'm sorry" or to simply make a "resolution" to change a long established pattern, will have the same bad result as wishing a sprained ankle would heal, while still walking on it.

Lent is a wonderful time to name what sinful, unhealthy, self-centered patterns need changing and to act against them by coming up with a strategy. For example, if the Lord is shining a light into the darkness of a bad pattern in my life, I can choose to "stop doing it." But, I have to work on a "change of heart" and to look concretely at what circumstances, attitudes, and other behaviors contribute to the pattern. If I'm self-indulgent with food, sex, attention-seeking behaviors and don't ask "what's missing for me, that I need to fill it with this?" then simply choosing to stop the pattern won't last long. Lasting healing needs the practice of penance.

Putting It All Together - Alone and With Others

In the end, the prayer of St. Augustine places us in the right spirit for Lent:

O Lord, our Lord, you have created us for yourself
and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.

Lent is indeed how God draws us home, as individuals. But, it is also a very communal journey. We never journey alone, no matter how "lonely" we may feel. We are always journeying together. If we can experience our journey in communion with others, it makes it so much clearer that we are on a journey together. When I can share my experience with even one other close friend, or with my regular worshiping community, I can enjoy and share the support and environment that allows grace to flourish.

Let us pray for each other on this journey, especially those who need and desire a change of heart on this pilgrimage to Easter joy.
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By athenacp
The Sight of Our Sins Afflicted Jesus
from the First Moment of His Life

Dolor meus in conspectu meo semper.
"My sorrow is continually before me."----Ps. xxxvii. 18.

All the afflictions and ignominies which Jesus Christ suffered in life and death, all were present to His mind from the first moment of His life. And He offered them all every moment of His life in satisfaction for our sins. Our Lord revealed to one of His servants that every sin of men gave Him during His life so much sorrow that it would have sufficed to cause His death, if His life had not been preserved in order that He might suffer more. Behold, O my Jesus! what gratitude hast Thou received from men, and especially from me. Thou hast spent thirty-three years of life for my salvation, and I have done as much as I could, as far as it depended on me, to make Thee die with sorrow, as often as I have committed sin.

St. Bernardine of Siena writes that Jesus Christ "had a particular regard to every single sin." [---T. ii. s. 56, a. I, c. 1.] Each of our sins was present continually to our Saviour, even from His infancy, and afflicted Him grievously. St. Thomas adds [P. 3, q. 46, a. 6.] that this one sorrow of knowing all the injury which resulted to the Father from every sin, and all the evil which it occasioned to us, surpassed the sorrow of all the contrite sinners that ever were, even of those who died of pure contrition; because no sinner ever arrived at loving God and his own soul as Jesus Christ has loved the Father and our souls.

Therefore, my Jesus, if no man ever loved me more than Thou hast done, it is only just that I should love Thee above all men. Since, then, I can say that Thou alone hast really loved me, so will I love Thee alone.

That agony which Jesus suffered in the garden at the sight of our sins, for which He had taken upon Himself to satisfy, He suffered from the time He was conceived in His mother's womb. If, therefore, Jesus Christ passed a life full of tribulations for no other reason than on account of our sins, we ought not, during our life, to afflict ourselves for any other evils than for the sins which we have committed.

My beloved Redeemer, I could wish to die of sorrow at the thought of all the bitterness that I have caused Thee during my life. My Love, if Thou lovest me, give me such a sorrow as may take away my life, and so obtain for me Thy pardon, and the grace to love Thee with all my strength. I give Thee my whole heart; and if I do not know how to give it to Thee entirely, oh, do Thou take it Thyself, and inflame it with Thy holy love. O Mary, advocate of the wretched, I recommend myself to thee.

St. Alphonsus Liguori
Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur, 1927
Redemptorist Fathers
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By athenacp
A Prayer for Lent

Father, through our observance of Lent, help us to understand the meaning of your Son's death and resurrection, and teach us to reflect it in our lives. 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. Amen.
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By athenacp
Daily Lent Prayer
"Lord, open my lips,
and my mouth shall declare your praise."

Opening Prayer:

may everything we do
begin with your inspiration,
continue with your help,
and reach perfection under your guidance.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, you Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

Today's Readings: <> Deuteronomy 30:15-20; Psalm 1:1-2, 3, 4, 6; Luke 9:22-25

Daily Meditation:
The Journey Begins
There are so many lessons for our journey in this prayer.
It starts with God's inspiration.
We are reminded of the breath of life that God breathed at the beginning of creation
and the driving wind of the Holy Spirit's coming at Pentecost.
The grace for all we are about to do comes from God.
Today we pray to be open to it.
Today we also acknowledge that for us to what we need to do these six weeks,
we need God's continuing help.
Each day, with every prayer, every sacrifice, every act of generosity
we will need help which can only come from God.
And, finally, we need God's guidance to persevere to the end.
There will be tough choices, not only between good and evil,
but choices about what is the greater good.
We may even be called to do something quite heroic and self-sacrificing.
A wonderful prayer. Easy to remember, even memorize.
It is possible to say it every day.

Today's Daily Reflection < ... 21810.html>
God has revealed himself in Christ. Let us praise his goodness, and ask him from our hearts:
Remember us, Lord, for we are your children.

Teach us to enter more deeply into the mystery of the Church,
- that it may be more effective for ourselves and for the world as the sacrament of salvation.
Lover of mankind, inspire us to work for human progress,
- seeking to spread your kingdom in all we do.
May our hearts thirst for Christ,
- the fountain of living water.
Forgive us our sins,
- and direct our steps into the ways of justice and sincerity.

Closing Prayer:
Let everything I do this day and in this season of Lent
come from you, be inspired by you.

I long to be closer to you.
Help me to remember that nothing is important in my life
unless it glorifies you in some way.
It's so easy to get caught up in the day to day of my life and keep saying,
"Tomorrow, I will spend more time in prayer,"
but now my longing meets your love and I want to do it now.
Help me to rely on you for help.
The prayer asks you that I reach perfection.
Please, Lord, remind me that "perfection"
isn't the crazy, "successful" way I try to live my life,
but a perfection of my most authentic, real self.
My "perfection" might be holding my many flaws in my open hands,
asking you to help me accept them.
Heal me, Lord, and help me to find you in the darkness of my life.
Let me reach out in this darkness and feel your hand and love there to guide me.

May the Lord bless us,
protect us from all evil
and bring us to everlasting life.

With permission from : Creighton U Online Ministries < ... nline.html>
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By athenacp
One Prayer a Day for Lent
If time permits nothing else, say these prayers each day of Lent.

The First Four Days of Lent
Ash Wednesday

Lord, it feels like we are embarking
on a Lenten journey together, you and I.
The beautiful words in the today's prayer talk about the "quiet remembrance of our need for redemption."
That feels like what I am looking for - or what you are looking for in me.
I want to remember how much I need you in my life and how much my life needs redemption.
I want to remember it clearly and
in the background of my day today
and all through Lent.

On this special day, Ash Wednesday,
may my small sacrifices in fasting be a way to clear away the clutter in my life to see you more clearly.
May my longing for meat and other food, help me to focus my life today more outside myself.
Let me be aware of those who are in so much more suffering than I am and may I be aware of them as the brothers and sisters you have placed in my life.

Lord, I know there is darkness
within me and around me.
Bless these days with your Word.
Let your Light shine in the darkness.
Help me long for that Light
until we celebrate it at the Vigil six weeks from now.

And most of all Lord,
help me to honor this day with the ashes on my forehead.
They help me remember where I have come from and where I am going.
May I acknowledge to you my sins
and my deep need for your
loving forgiveness and grace.
I pray that this Lenten season
will make me so much more aware
of how much I need your healing in my life.

After Ash Wednesday

Let everything I do this day and in this season of Lent come from you, be inspired by you.

I long to be closer to you.
Help me to remember that nothing is important in my life unless it glorifies you in some way. It's so easy to get caught up in the day to day of my life and keep saying, "Tomorrow, I will spend more time in prayer,"
but now my longing meets your love and I want to do it now.
Help me to rely on you for help. The prayer asks you that I reach perfection.
Please, Lord, remind me that "perfection"
isn't the crazy, "successful" way I try to live my life, but a perfection of my most authentic, real self.
My "perfection" might be holding my many flaws in my open hands, asking you to help me accept them. Heal me, Lord, and help me to find you in the darkness of my life.
Let me reach out in this darkness and feel your hand and love there to guide me

After Ash Wednesday

I know how much you love me.
It’s hard for me to feel it sometimes,
but I know your love is always with me.

Help me to use your love as a way
to persevere in my Lenten intentions.
I am weak, but I know with your help,
I can use these small sacrifices in my life to draw closer to you.

After Ash Wednesday

Loving creator,
I am not asking to overcome my weakness, but to use it in some way to glorify you.

Let me be aware of
the many ways you reach out to help me today and let me stand in awe of the power that you use in such loving ways.

With permission from: Creighton U Online Ministries < ... nline.html>
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By athenacp
A Lenten Pledge
by Fr. Lawrence S. Brey

My crucified Jesus, my God and Savior, help me make a good Lent, root out my sins, and live in union with Thee. With Thy help, I pledge and resolve the following Lenten efforts:

1. I will do penance for my sins, and make special sacrifices for Thee.

2. I will pray more often, more attentively, more humbly.

3. I will bend my will to Thine, by obeying Thy commandments and my superiors.

4. I will give up certain things I like, to better strengthen my will against evil allurements.

5. I will more strictly avoid occasions of sin.

6. I will control and discipline my eyes, my imagination, and my curiosity.

7. I will regard Lent as a time of war against my sins and weaknesses; a time to root out bad habits and self-love.

8. I will also use Lent as a time to grow in virtue, in Thy Love, in peace.

9. I will often think of Thee crucified for my sins, and try to have true contrition and purpose of amendment.

10. I will be cheerful amidst my penances and efforts, without becoming a cross or burden to others.
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By athenacp
1. You teach souls by word; you save them by suffering.


2. If we knew the value of suffering, we would ask for it on our knees with joined hands.


3. All that crucifies is good: do not look at what wood the crosses are made of, as long as it is a "cross wood." Great crosses present themselves rarely, little crosses are given to us at every moment. Make sure not to lose any of them.


4. If you seek to carry no other crosses but those whose reason you understand, perfection is not for you.


5. All the greatest pains become sweet for whoever looks at Jesus Christ on the Cross.


6. You will gain more by receiving scorn peacefully than if you fasted for a week on bread and water. It is good to humble ourselves; but it is much more worthwhile to accept the humiliations that come to us from others.


7. The Gates of Paradise are not closed to those who carry the standard of the Cross.


8. I see crosses at every turn. My flesh shudders over it, but my heart adores them. Yes, I hail you, crosses little and great, I hail you, and kiss your feet, unworthy of the honor of your shadow.


9. God would turn the world around to find suffering in order to give it to a soul upon whom He has set His Divine gaze with ineffable love.


10. Let us be afraid of being deprived of sufferings more than a miser is of his treasure. Sufferings are the jewels of Jesus Crucified ... The more painful the cross, the greater our advantage. The more contradictory creatures are with us. the dearer we will be to our Creator. A single moment of tribulation assures an immense weight of glory. Never to suffer would be the greatest danger for us.

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By athenacp
The Desire that Jesus Had to Suffer for Us

Baptismo habeo baptizari; et quomodo coarctor, usquedum perficiatur?
"I have a baptism wherewith I am to be baptized; and how am I straitened until it be accomplished?" ----Luke, xii. 50.

Jesus could have saved us without suffering; but He chose rather to embrace a life of sorrow and contempt, deprived of every earthly consolation, and a death of bitterness and desolation, only to make us understand the love which He bore us, and the desire which He had that we should love Him. He passed His whole life in sighing for the hour of His death, which He desired to offer to God, to obtain for us eternal salvation. And it was this desire which made Him exclaim: I have a baptism wherewith I am to be baptized; and how am I straitened until it be accomplished? He desired to be baptized in His Own Blood, to wash out, not, indeed, His Own, but our sins. O infinite Love, how miserable is he who does not know Thee, and does not love Thee!

This same desire caused Him to say, on the night before fore His death, With desire I have desired to eat this pasch with you. By which words He shows that His only desire during His whole life had been to see the time arrive for His Passion and death, in order to prove to man the immense love which He bore him. So much, therefore, O my Jesus, didst Thou desire our love, that to obtain it Thou didst not refuse to die. How could I, then, deny anything to a God Who, for love of me, has given His Blood and His life?

St. Bonaventure says that it is a wonder to see a God suffering for the love of men; but that it is a still greater wonder that men should behold a God suffering so much for them, shivering with cold as an infant in a manger, living as a poor boy in a shop, dying as a criminal on a Cross, and yet not burn with love to this most loving God; but even go so far as to despise this love, for the sake of the miserable pleasures of this earth. But how is it possible that God should be so enamoured with men, and that men, who are so grateful to one another, should be so ungrateful to God?

Alas! my Jesus, I find myself also among the number of these ungrateful ones. Tell me, how couldst Thou suffer so much for me, knowing the injuries that I should commit against Thee? But since Thou hast borne with me, and even desirest my salvation, give me, I pray Thee, a great sorrow for my sins, a sorrow equal to my ingratitude. I hate and detest, above all things, my Lord, the displeasure which I have caused Thee. If, during my past life, I have despised Thy grace, now I value it above all the kingdoms of the earth. I love Thee with my whole soul, O God, worthy of infinite love, and I desire only to live in order to love Thee. Increase the flames of Thy love, and give me more and more love. Keep alive in my remembrance the love that Thou hast borne me, so that my heart may always burn with love for Thee, as Thy heart burns with love for me. O burning heart of Mary, inflame my poor heart with holy love.

St. Alphonsus Liguori
Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur, 1927
Redemptorist Fathers

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By athenacp
The Stations of the Cross is a popular devotion used, through prayer and reflection, to follow Jesus Christ on his way to Calvary. The origins of this procession is lost in history, and not all stations of the cross, as we know them today, are confirmed in the bible, but they are most likely taught from the early pilgrims to Jerusalem. There are fourteen (14) stations of the cross that the Catholics venerate. (Some Protestant churches only have eight [8] stations, which are the ones specifically mentioned in the Gospel accounts. However, other Protestants use an expanded form of the Stations to maintain the traditional fourteen, but still include only events with a biblical basis, such as Jesus' prayer in Gethsemane.)

Stations of the Cross
(Adapted, Maronite Liturgical Commission, Australia, Lent 2003.)

We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.
For by your Holy Cross, you have redeemed the world.

Lord Jesus Christ, take me along that holy way you once took to your death.
Take my mind, my memory, above all my reluctant heart,
and let me see what once you did for love of me and all the world.

# By the Cross her vigil keeping,
# Mary stood in sorrow weeping,
# when her Son was crucified.
# Mary Mother of our Saviour,
# may we share in your Son's passion,
# leading us from death to life.

1. Jesus is Condemned to Death

Pilate was certain of Jesus' innocence and he declared it to the Jews. Yet, he condemned him to death. Jesus accepted the unjust sentence for our sins because "the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all." (Isaiah 53:6)

Teach us Lord, not to judge anyone. For you alone know what is in our hearts and our intentions. Strengthen us to bear the pain inflicted upon us by others through perjury and slander. Amen.

# While she waited in her anguish,
# seeing Christ in torment languish,
# bitter sorrow pierced her heart.
# Mary Mother of our Saviour,
# may we share in your Son's passion,
# leading us from death to life.

2. Jesus Carries His Cross

Lord Jesus, you said "No one takes my life from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it up again. I have received this command from my Father. For this my Father loves me because I lay down my life to receive it back." (John 10:18)

Teach us Lord, that pain is not valued by its strength, but by our acceptance. The value of suffering is not by its severity, but in its acceptance, love and obedience to your will. Amen.

# With what pain and desolation,
# with what noble resignation,
# Mary watched her dying Son.
# Mary Mother of our Saviour,
# may we share in your Son's passion,
# leading us from death to life.

3. Jesus Falls The First Time

Jesus is truly human and feels pain and suffering like every one of us but even more because he knows the greatness of the Creator and lowliness of creation. He languished and fell under the heaviness of the cross and the weight of our sins.

Teach us Lord, how to accept our human weakness when pain defeats us and weighs us down, and to bear it patiently. May we fix our eyes on you to strengthen us so that we may rise above our pain. Teach us also to be kind to the weakness of others and help them to rise above their pain. Amen.

# Ever patient in her yearning,
# though her tear-filled eyes were burning,
# Mary gazed upon her Son.
# Mary Mother of our Saviour,
# may we share in your Son's passion,
# leading us from death to life.

4. Jesus Meets His Mother

Jesus suffers with his mother's suffering and Mary endures pain for her Son's pain. And we, in our families, experience the pain caused by parents to their children and by children to their parents. Teach us Lord Jesus, to know that the value of pain in our life refines our Christian conduct, and converts it into love and sacrifice. Amen.

# Who, what sorrow contemplating,
# on that passion meditating,
# would not share the Virgin's grief?
# Mary Mother of our Saviour,
# may we share in your Son's passion,
# leading us from death to life.

5. Jesus is Helped by Simon

They put the cross on Simon and made him carry it with Jesus.

Teach us Lord, how to bear our suffering, regardless of its kind or from where it comes, as a sign of our love for you and as repentance for our sins. Amen.

# Christ she saw, for our salvation,
# scourged with heartless acclamation,
# bruised and beaten by the rod.
# Mary Mother of our Saviour,
# may we share in your Son's passion,
# leading us from death to life.

6. Veronica Wipes the Face of Jesus

Veronica walked the way of the cross and she wished to be kind to Jesus in his suffering. She wiped the sweat and blood from his face. Teach us Lord, to be kind towards the pain of others and open our hands to them to ease their suffering and to heal their wounds. Amen.

# Christ she saw with life-blood failing,
# all her anguish unavailing,
# saw him breathe his very last.
# Mary Mother of our Saviour,
# may we share in your Son's passion,
# leading us from death to life.

7. Jesus Falls The Second Time

Jesus' bodily strength weakened on the long way to Golgotha under his heavy cross.

As for us Lord Jesus, our way to you is long and painful. Stretch out your hand towards us and draw us away from our Golgotha for we are longing for the light of your resurrection. Amen.

# Mary, fount of love's devotion,
# let me share with true emotion,
# all the sorrow you endured.
# Mary Mother of our Saviour,
# may we share in your Son's passion,
# leading us from death to life.

8. Jesus Speaks to the Women

A great number of the people followed him, and among them were women who were weeping and wailing for him. But Jesus turned to them and said, "Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children." (Luke 23:27)

Yes Lord, teach me to understand the meaning of real pain that you experienced for me. Your pain is caused by our sins. Teach us to repent from our sins and turn to you. Amen.

# Virgin, ever interceding,
# hear me in my fervent pleading,
# fire me with your love of Christ.
# Mary Mother of our Saviour,
# may we share in your Son's passion,
# leading us from death to life.

9. Jesus Falls The Third Time

The way of the cross has been too long. The strength of Jesus the man has weakened. We also fall down and almost lose hope when our way of suffering becomes long.

Do not leave us, Lord Jesus, but draw us to yourself, so that we become stronger and rise from our falls and to continue on the way to Calvary with you and then to the resurrection. Amen.

# Mother, may this prayer be granted,
# that Christ's love may be implanted,
# in the depths of my poor soul.
# Mary Mother of our Saviour,
# may we share in your Son's passion,
# leading us from death to life.

10. Jesus is Stripped of His Garments

They thought your were mocked and ridiculed when they took off your clothes leaving you naked. They failed to see that you are purity and brightness itself and your body shines with modesty.

Teach us Lord to understand the meaning of human modesty and allow us not to put obstacles in anyone's way by our lack of modesty. Amen.

# At the cross, your sorrow sharing,
# all the grief and torment bearing,
# let me stand and mourn with you.
# Mary Mother of our Saviour,
# may we share in your Son's passion,
# leading us from death to life.

11. Jesus is Nailed to The Cross

Crucifixion was a means of torturing criminals. Isaiah prophesied: "he poured out himself to death, and was numbered with the transgressors [people who act in violation of the law]; yet he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors." (Isaiah 53:12)

Teach us Lord, to accept whole heartedly, the suffering of life and particularly the pain of death, in order to make it, as you did, a redeeming and saving pain. Amen.

# Fairest maid of all creation,
# Queen of hope and consolation,
# let me feel your grief sublime.
# Mary Mother of our Saviour,
# may we share in your Son's passion,
# leading us from death to life.

12. Jesus Dies on The Cross

When you gave up your spirit into the hands of your Father, the curtain of the temple which covered the holy of holies was torn in two indicating the end of the old Covenant. The tombs were opened because your death conquered death.

All this happened while your Mother was standing under your cross, drinking with you the chalice of suffering to the end, for our salvation. Her suffering increases yours but her presence and participation in your mystery of redemption comforts you.

Grant the fathers and mothers who have suffered and still suffer for the pain of their sick and suffering children, the grace of making their anguish a redemptive offering, through their patience, love and faith. Amen.

# Mary, in your love, befriend me,
# At the judgement day defend me,
# help my by your constant prayer.
# Mary Mother of our Saviour,
# may we share in your Son's passion,
# leading us from death to life.

13. Jesus is Taken Down from The Cross

Mary, the mother of Jesus, embraces her dead son. She alone understands why he accepted his death. She alone has joined her pain to his pain and made it a redeeming and saving pain. In their hearts illuminates the light of hope, which will in turn be a jubilant victory for the righteous ones who suffer.

Teach us, Mary, to understand the meaning of participation in redemption and to live it as you did. May we complete in ourselves the suffering of Christ that we have not yet endured. Amen.

# Saviour, when my life shall leave me,
# through your mother's prayer receive me,
# with the fruits of victory.
# Mary Mother of our Saviour,
# may we share in your Son's passion,
# leading us from death to life.

14. Jesus Is Placed In The Tomb

All is fulfilled, all is complete. The enemies of Jesus have defeated him and hid him in a tomb... The Apostles have lost all of what they expected from Jesus. But Jesus, who carries the love of God to all people, did not remain in the tomb. For love is stronger than death. He rolled the large stone from the door of his tomb and rose to declare to the Apostles God's love for them and for those who will believe in God through their preaching.

Grant us Lord, not to despair in life because you are the resurrection and life. Give us love which conquers death. Amen.

# Let me to your love be taken,
# let my soul in death awaken,
# to the joys of paradise.
# Mary Mother of our Saviour,
# may we share in your Son's passion,
# leading us from death to life.

Final Prayer

O Eternal Father whom you have blessed the sign of the living cross
with the precious blood of your Son.
We ask your mercy to those who venerate this holy cross,
forgiveness of their sins
and entrance into eternal glory,
through the merits of our Saviour Jesus Christ.

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