In the afternoon of the Resurrection, two discouraged disciples of Jesus left Jerusalem for the nearby town of Emmaus. Christ met them on the way and engaged them in conversation, showing them from the Scriptures how the Messiah was meant to suffer and die. When they reached Emmaus the discipes begged Jesus to stay with them and when they recognised him in the breaking of the bread they returned to Jerusalem. In this meditation we consider how:
Christ is always there for us when we are going through hard times.
We should beg Jesus to stay with us and we should keep him close always, especially when we are experiencing difficulties.
Like the disciples did with Jesus, we should open our hearts to the one who guides us in our spiritual life
Our hearts, like those of the disciples, will burn within us when we encounter our Lord in prayer, the Scriptures and the sacraments.
Our Lord sends us out, as he did the apostles, to announce to others the good news of his love for mankind.
Fasting is one of the three focuses of Lent, along with prayer and almsgiving. But how much fasting should we do? The Church asks very little: only to fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. In this meditation we pray about this important topic, considering:
How much Our Lord suffered for us and how we should respond with generosity
The history of fasting in Lent, from the early centuries to the present
Statements from Pope St John Paul II on generosity in fasting
To prepare for his public life, Our Lord spent forty days in prayer and fasting. This is the origin of the forty days of Lent in preparation for Easter, to be spent in prayer, fasting and almsgiving. In this meditation we consider how:
After forty days in the desert Christ rejected the temptations of Satan, showing us how we too can reject temptations to sin.
The word “Lent” comes from the Anglo-Saxon word “Lencten”, meaning “springtime”, and if we live Lent well we will have a springtime of new life in our soul.
To live Lent well we should strive to do something specific in the traditional areas of prayer, fasting and almsgiving.
The Second Vatican Council, using some words of St Josemaria Escriva, called the Mass the centre and root of the interior life. If we make the Mass our centre and root, we will attend it better and we will unite all our acitivities with it. In this meditation we consider how:
Christ sent the apostles out to the whole world to teach all nations. They went out and in just over three hundred years, amidst bitter persecution of Christians, the Roman Empire declared itself officially Christian. Christendom, a Europe with Christian laws and customs, would last for over a thousand years, and from Europe the faith spread to the rest of the world. Today, however, we see the erosion of Christian values all over the western world. Many people through up their hands in despair, thinking there is nothing they can do. But there is much we can do. In this meditation we use texts of St John Paul II, especially his Apostolic Exhortation Christifideles laici, to consider how:
We must first live out our faith to the full, seeking true holiness of life
We must do everything we can to ensure that Christian values continue to influence public life in our country
We can fight for the dignity of the human person, for the defence of life from conception to natural death, for marriage and the family, and for a more Christian presence in the media and internet, in education, and in legislation.