Lent with Pope Francis

In Lent we accompany Our Lord in his forty days of prayer and fasting in the desert before beginning his public life and in carrying the cross to Calvary before the Resurrection. In his Lenten Message for 2018 Pope Francis quotes Our Lord saying that false prophets would appear and the love of many would grow cold. In this meditation we consider how:

  • The love of many in our own generation has grown cold and we too may have grown cold in some aspects
  • Many have succumbed to the message of the false prophets of our own day, and we too may be tempted to follow them
  •  We can make resolutions to live Lent well in the three areas of prayer, fasting and almsgiving.

Sorrow of love

We all offend God many times a day, yet we do not express our sorrow as we should. In this meditation we pray about how we can foster true contrition, sorrow of love, for our sins and failings. We consider:

  • That God truly loves each of us more than all the mothers in the world put together
  • That our sins offend God more than do the sins of others, because he has given us more grace
  • The difference between perfect contrition and imperfect contrition
  • That St Josemaria Escriva calls the act of contrition the best devotion
  • That we should say many acts of contrition each day
  • How we can foster true contrition for our sins

Friends forever

Everyone wants to have friends, but sometimes they choose the wrong friends and are led astray by them. We can all be the good friends others are looking for.  In this meditation we consider how:

  • Christ entered into a relationship of friendship with the apostles and he called them – and us –  his friends.
  • Friendship involves sharing one’s intimate thoughts and aspirations with others.
  • We can learn about friendship from St Gregory of Nazianzus, who describes his close friendship with St Basil.
  • True friendship involves helping others both humanly and spiritually, and ultimately leading them closer to God and to eternal life.

Joy to the world

Christmas is a time of great joy, joy because we celebrate the entry of Christ  into the world as our Saviour. But in a real sense, everyday is Christmas because Christ is always with us. In this meditation we consider the importance of being always cheerful, of radiating our joy to others. We consider:

  • Texts of Scripture that speak to us of the joy surrounding the birth of Christ
  • How Mary brought joy to Elizabeth and John the Baptist in her womb
  • How we find our joy “in the Lord”, as St Paul writes
  • Texts of St Josemaria, St John Chrysostom, Pope Francis and Rose Kennedy that speak of joy
  • How we can be cheerful even when we are in a bad mood, or are experiencing difficulties
  • How important it is to radiate joy to those around us

Putting Christ back in Christmas

Nativity scene icon

For more and more people, Christmas is about giving gifts, bringing the family together, having parties and going on holidays. But it is not about the birth of Christ. In this meditation we pray about how we can put Christ in the centre of our life and grow in friendship with him. We consider:

  • Who Christ really is
  • Why he became flesh
  • How he came to be born in Bethlehem
  • What we learn from his birth in a stable
  • How we can grow in love for him through prayer, the Mass, reading the Scriptures, the sacraments, penance and service to others

Prayer for the souls in Purgatory

Some 150,000 people die each day and it is likely that most of them go to purgatory, where they are purified before entering heaven. They suffer greatly at the same time as they are very happy, since they are assured of heaven. We can help them by our prayers and good works. In this meditation we use texts from Scripture, the Catechism of the Catholic Church and St Thomas More to consider how:

  • the soul must be completely purified before it can enter heaven
  • the souls in purgatory suffer the pain of being deprived of the sight of God and of fire
  • most of the souls in purgatory probably have no one to pray for them
  • we can help them by offering our Masses, prayers, good works and indulgences for them
  • if we have devotion to the holy souls, they will pray for us and perhaps we can avoid going to purgatory ourselves

Save us from the fires of hell

 

In this meditation we continue our journey through the Last Things,  praying today about hell. Hell is a reality and if we pray about it from time to time we are most unlikely to end up there. But God needs us to help others avoid hell too. In this meditation we use texts from Scripture, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and the writings of saints like St John Vianney to consider:

  • Christ’s teaching on hell
  • God’s mercy and desire to save all souls
  • That those who go to hell choose it by failing to repent of their serious sins
  • The vision of hell seen by the three children at Fatima
  •  How we can avoid hell and help others to do so