Celebrating the Holy Thursday, washing of the feet has a outstanding role. It reminds us of the unconditional love of the Lord Jesus. Though a God, who was willing to wash the feet of his disciples. In the Jewish tradition washing of the feet was the work of a slave. Jesus, the Lord and Master chooses to become a slave for the Salvation of his disciple and of the whole world. Continue reading “A Real Need but If It becomes Artificial!”
Unfaithfulness is not a result of a momentary action/decision rather it is the result of a continuous wrong choices.
No one decides in fraction of second to be wrong or to do something wrong. It is always the result of constant thoughts and imagination.
Every wrong actions is made right by justification in passing of time; though the action itself remains wrong forever. The moral degradation can help one to over come the guilt though it is not the right thing to do.
The point of turning back is open, in every moment and time. Provided one is ready to take a decision to be authentic in all what one does.
I can do it, after all why can´t I improve upon my behaviour? It is very common that we take upon ourselves some personal practices during the season of lent to improve upon ourselves. Often these may be the same things (things that we do not like in ourselves, the bad habits) we are struggling with in our daily life to have a control over. But after few days of lent, the fact that we have succeeded in practicing what we had decided for last few days of lent should not be a reason for pride at all. For this pride (spiritual pride) can be worst than the action that we have denied at time.
Today Holy Father explained why we need to Judge oneself (Click to Read)
He exhorted that to Judge oneself is a Christian Virtue, for we are all sinners
Just feel the same… often we are very harsh on judging the mistake of others but becomes very soft on ourselves. It is very difficult to work on oneself, I feel, even to deny some external things are elementary rather working on the habits of one´s life is really challenging. Its true we can fail, but the virtue is not in failing but in recommitting – recommitting to walk again in the path of virtue…
God help me to make this season of lent more meaningful . . .
I really do not know will my God demanded a fast form me, to see me hungry!, hurting myself to please him! I don’t think he will ask me to do that.
Then why does the Church encourage us to fast, abstain and mortify ourselves especially during lent? Continue reading “Will Your GOD Demand a Fast?”
Addresses Apostolic Penitentiary on the Sacrament of Reconciliation
VATICAN CITY, March 28, 2014 (Zenit.org) – Addressing members of the Apostolic Penitentiary, Pope Francis offered a reflection on the Sacrament of Reconciliation, a ministry of reconciliation whose protagonist is the Holy Spirit.
Those present were attending the ‘Course on the Internal Forum’, an annual meeting that focuses on the Sacrament of Reconciliation and the ministry of Confessors.
The Holy Father began his discourse by thanking those present for their service in contributing to the formation of good confessors. “I thank you for this valuable service and I encourage you to take it forward with renewed commitment, building on experience gained and with skilful creativity, to always help the Church and confessors to better carry out the ministry of mercy, which is so important!” he said.
Reflecting on the Sacrament itself, the Pope began by explaining that the forgiveness that comes from Reconciliation “is the new life sent by the Risen Lord by means of His Spirit.”
“You are called to always be ‘men of the Holy Spirit,’ witnesses and heralds, joyful and strong, of the resurrection of the Lord,” the Pope said. “This testimony is read on the face, is heard in the voice of the priest who administers with faith and with ‘unction’ the Sacrament of Reconciliation.”
The Pope reminded those present that the heart of a priest is not moved by sentimentality or emotion, but by “the tender mercy of the Lord.”
Another aspect of Reconciliation, he continued, is the task of the priest to transmit the new life of the Risen Lord “generously to others.”
“A priest who does not attend to this part of his ministry, both in the amount of time spent and in the spiritual quality, is like a shepherd who does not take care of the sheep that were lost; he is like a father who forgets the lost son and neglects waiting for him,” the Pope said.
“But mercy is the heart of the Gospel! It is the good news that God loves us, that He always loves the sinner, and with this love draws him to Himself and invites him to conversion.”
The Holy Father reminded them that for either practical reasons or difficulty of confessing one’s sins to another, the faithful can find it hard to approach the sacrament. The Pope encouraged them “never to be an obstacle but always to favour drawing near to mercy and forgiveness.”
“Confession,” he exclaimed, “is not a court of condemnation, but an experience of forgiveness and mercy!”
Concluding his address, Pope Francis emphasized the need to make the Sacrament of Reconciliation available to all those who need it. The faithful in every parish, he stressed, need to know when they can find priests available.
“To the Virgin Mary, Mother of Mercy, we entrust the ministry of priests, and every Christian community, that they might always grow in understanding the value of the Sacrament of Penance. I entrust all of you to our Mother and I bless you from the heart,” he concluded. (J.A.E.)
As we stepped into Lent 2014, with ashes on our forehead, the Mass readings of Ash-wednesday, especially the Gospel seemed to have a new message for me. Yes, Lent calls us to Fasting, Praying and Almsgiving. Jesus is certainly not playing down the age-old practice of asceticism. However, he draws our attention to the vanity of fasting, praying and almsgiving prompted by an exhibitionist attitude. In Mathew’s Gospel,chapter 6, Jesus repeatedly uses the word “secret” as the necessary condition to receive rewards from the Lord. “Your Father, who sees you in secret will reward you”, Christian spirituality is essentially an “interior life”. ‘Secrecy’ and not publicity of our ascetism merits reward feom our heavenly Father. Jesus denounced every form of external activities and appearances of piety calling it ‘hypocrisy’ and comparing it to ‘whitewashed sepulchres’. Lent is not a 40-day spiritual exhibition of christian virtues. Lent then, is more about repentance and reconciliation through conversion of the heart (inner life) which alone will find us resurrecting in Jesus Christ, our Risen Saviour..
Is 58: 1-9
How do we fast? What for do we take up fast on ourselves? Do we ever think of the way or rather the way the Lord wants us to do things? How does the Lord expect us to fast?
Isaiah, however makes it clear that we need to fast not merely from food and drinks and live a life unworthy of God’s Call. Rather we need to testify our fast in our actions and dealings with the Other. The renunciation of the body should help us to control our undue desires and the reactions. Our fasting is meaningless if it is done for the selfish motives. It is not valid if it does not become a source of support to the poor and needy.
God values attitudinal change rather than forced renunciation of something. However we need to acknowledge that the traditional understanding of fasting has its relevance and value.
Lk. 9: 22-25
If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me…
Jesus proposes a 3 steps to follow him closely, especially during this season of lent
1. Deny Yourself
Looking into our lives we see that desires are the cause of every sin. The desire to gratify the self, defines our actions most often. However it is also important to love the self but it should never become a worship of the self. The penances and renunciations we do must help us to achieve this balance in life.
2. Take up Your Cross
Jesus obedient to the Father, though was a son of God took up the cross for our sake. He became a human, and did suffer on the cross for our sake. He did carry his cross till the end though it was difficult. Are we ready to carry our daily crosses, our little inconveniences? The joyful endurance of these can lead us close to God. It is not a sadistic mentality rather a positive out look to life.
3. Follow Me
As Christians, the above mentioned actions become meaningless, if we do not do it for the sake of Jesus, our Lord and master. So he says follow me, I will keep and guard you. In following the Lord we have nothing to lose and gain, rather it the essence and meaning of our very own existence. It is here that we find our true self and happiness.
I thought some of these ideas of sacrifice during the season of lent would be nice and worth…
Lent is about recommitting to prayer, fasting so as to make room for God and almsgiving to relearn self-giving love — and for many of us, the biggest obstacle to prayer is social media, the biggest time-waster (and stressor) is our phone and computer, and the location of our frivolous, self-centered spending has moved online.
So as so many Catholics gear up to turn off Facebook for Lent here are some more nuanced ideas for what to give up for Lent (as previously published at Catholic Vote).
1. Moderation instead of fasting on Facebook.
Every Lent sees a mass Catholic exodus from Facebook. I like this; I have done this. It may be just what you need to make your Lent more focused on God. But if I have learned anything in the spiritual life it is that it is harder to have a little cake than no cake, it is easier to control your environment than to control yourself … and moderation can be as great a sacrifice as fasting. Instead of no Facebook time, why not a set Facebook time? Sunday afternoon? Saturday morning? Thursday evening? Then you might just form a new habit, instead of following a forty-day fast with a 320-day binge.
2. Turn off your phone.
I was struck by a Facebook status update from Brendan Vogt: “Leaving your phone at home on purpose when you hang out with someone is the new way to show them you care about them.” For Lent, why not sacrifice the phone at key events: When you spend time with your children, in business meetings, with your date, with your spouse, and, heck, when you are waiting somewhere and in a position to meet new people?
3. Use paper in church.
There are some great apps that aid prayer and provide liturgical readings. I love them, use them frequently, and even take them to my Holy Hour. They are great, as long as they don’t lead the user to start clicking on the e-mails and texts and Tweets and notifications that light up our phones. It may not even take that: I have found myself sitting in an adoration chapel idly surfing the Internet from habit before realizing how I was behaving in the presence of God and apologizing profusely. You’re better off with the phone off, alone with a prayer book and the Blessed Sacrament, the Great App that accomplishes what it signifies.
4. Choose group entertainment.
The evolution of isolating entertainment went something like this:
First, we sat connecting with each other over conversation on porches and at card tables. Then we stopped talking and winked at each other as we listened to the family radio. Then we were silent and unaware of each other in the glow of the television. Then we were sitting alone in separate rooms looking at individual laptop screens. Now we are alone all over town, with earbuds and screens of our own. Don’t let this happen in your life! This Lent, ban Netflix unless a family or a group is watching; play music that everyone can agree on through good old fashioned speakers … and reclaim togetherness!
5. Uproot your ear buds.
The Rule of St. Benedict says every guest should be treated as Jesus Christ, and as Benedictine College’s president likes to point out, “If you met Jesus Christ wouldn’t you take your ear buds out?” Do so. Interact with other people this Lent — and wean yourself of the need to have a soundtrack accompanying your every move.
6. Give up video games.
The Hoopeses have experimented with video games over the years with our nine children, and we have always disliked the results. The boys especially become obsessed, sullen, less helpful, and too focused on entertainment. We know families who have used Wii and other systems constructively to encourage children to interact with each other, but we decided it is better to encourage our children to find entertainment in the real world and in each other. We have been delighted by the results. Why not give up virtual reality for Lent? Real reality is a subtler pleasure … but it has much to recommend it, once you reacquire the taste for it.
7. Unplug the Internet.
Why not simply unplug the Internet during certain hours of each day? That way you will have to rediscover the world that exists outside your screen. (By the way, if you haven’t done so yet, filter your Internet the first week of Lent. Web filters are not just for kids — with the proliferation of pornography, adults need extra help in making choices, too. You can find Internet content filters online in three basic kinds: Filtering software; hardware filters at your router; and Internet proxy filters from your provider. Look them up and get it done. We use the free OpenDNS.com filter software.)
8. Give up your extra technology for Lent.
Here is a revolutionary idea: Maybe you should only have as much technology as your job, or state in life, demands. Why do teens need smart phones? Why not have a family laptop? Why not resist a little to the tendency to wire everybody into a different frequency? Use Lent as an experiment in simplicity. Our kids have minimal (old, cheap) iPods … and if they want to hear music, they play it out loud so we can all share in the fun or the shame of it. We also try to follow the best practices for Internet responsibility: Everybody should use one centrally located charging station, where you can see everyone’s machine from an hour before bedtime until an hour after wake time.
9. Read real books for Lent.
Paper with words on it has changed lives before and can change yours. “The value of reading is best demonstrated by noting the ill effects of its absence in the lives of those who give themselves to idleness and fantasy,” said one wise monk. “We need space to step back from issues to assess their significance more surely.” Real reading is the opposite of Twitter … it immerses us in ideas where we can take our time to sort out what is being said in the privacy of our thoughts.
10. Call people.
So, to end all of this advice against technology, I would recommend a piece of technology: Your telephone. Disembodied voices aren’t quite as intimate as one-on-one conversation, but they are a lot better than disembodied thumbs. Why not commit to three real-person-encounters each week in Lent. I plan to do so. Maybe on a land-line with an extra long curly cord that stretches from the handset to the wall …
By Tom Hoopes
- Experiencing the Presence of God
- Experiencing the Power of the Word
- Experiencing Prayer as Renunciation of oneself
Let not your fasting be a mere punishment to the body rather a meaningful help to the sustenance of the poor and the needy.
“Return to me with your whole heart, with fasting and weeping and morning. Rend you 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.” (Jl. 2: 12-13)
Reflection: Lord does not want you to rend your cloths, rather he wanted you to rend your hearts- come to me with a broken heart. There is no meaning in doing some penance because the others are doing it, or for the sake of the same. Rather each action/moment of denying something must touch our heart. So each one looking into one’s life should be able to decide what one needs to take as a penance to detach himself form this world and to attach to the Lord.
Jl 2: 12-18
Dear Lord in real repentance we come before you, we pray that you may change our ways of thinking and doing for the kingdom of heaven.
Lord exhorts us to return to him from our ways of selfishness, with whole heart, with fasting, and weeping and mourning. However, Lord does not expect a customary practice for the sake of the same. Rather each one is called to reflect on one’s on life to see what he or she needs to abstain from to detach oneself form the attachment of this world to attach to the Lord and Master Jesus Christ.
It is an acceptable time to come back to me, however, the Gospel exhorts to us to do all what we want in secret addressing to the heavenly father who sees it in secret. We are sure that he will reward us for the same.