Tag Archives: Lent

The value of self-denial

The crucifixion of Jesus Christ on Mount Calvary

Our Lord Jesus crucified

Our Lord invites us, if we would be his disciples, to deny ourselves, take up our cross daily and follow him. We do this especially in Lent but we should do it throughout the year. In this meditation we use texts of Scripture and of St Josemaria Escriva to consider how:

  • Jesus Christ, out of love for us, took up the cross in his passion and death, and he suffered more than we ever will
  • There are many reasons for, and benefits from, living self-denial
  • Self-denial is essential for holiness
  • We can live self-denial in many ordinary ways
  • We should accept in a spirit of penance the crosses life brings
  • Those who live self-denial find joy in this life and in the next

Souls of prayer

The agony in the garden of Gethsemane

Our Lord praying

Christ spent forty days praying and fasting in the desert before beginning his public ministry and he prayed intensely in Gethsemane on beginning his Passion. In this meditation we use these examples of Our Lord and texts of St Josemaria Escriva to consider:

  • How and why we should be souls of prayer
  • The different forms our prayer can take
  • The need to have regular times set aside each day for prayer
  • How to pay attention and fight distractions in our prayer
  • The need to persevere in our habit of prayer throughout our life

The value of temptations

Christ sends Satan away after His temptation

A depiction of Christ’s temptation

We all experience temptations. They are a consequence of original sin and of our being subject to the world, the flesh and the devil. But in addition to being sources of sin, temptations can also be sources of sanctity. In this meditation we consider:

  • Christ’s temptations in the desert, which are very similar to our own
  • Christ’s example in overcoming the temptations
  • How we can use temptations to grow in sanctity and human virtues
  • What we can do to overcome temptations

With Christ in Lent

Face of Christ in the Passion

A depiction of Jesus Christ’s passion

Lent presents a splendid opportunity to grow closer to God spiritually, to accompany Our Lord through the Cross to the Resurrection. In this meditation we consider how:

  • Lent symbolises our life on earth with its trials and tribulations  and Easter symbolises the joy of our life with God in heaven
  •  In Lent we quicken the pace of our life towards our encounter with Christ at the end of our life
  • Our prayer and fasting with Christ in his forty days in the desert strengthen us to resist temptations, as Christ did
  • Christ’s love for us “to the end” moves us to show our love for him by living Lent well
  • Lent is a time for repentance and the resolution to try harder to avoid sin
  • We can live Lent through the three traditional ways of prayer, fasting and works of charity

Living Lent with generosity

 

The word Lent comes from the ancient word Lencten, meaning springtime. If we live Lent well we have a true springtime, with new growth in our spiritual life. In this meditation we consider how:

  • In Lent we accompany Jesus in his forty days of prayer and fasting in the desert.
  • We respond to his invitation, if we want to be his disciples, to deny ourselves, take up our cross daily and follow him.
  • We can choose something from each of the three traditional areas of prayer, fasting and charity.
  • If we live Lent with generosity, we will be much closer to God on Easter Sunday than we were on Ash Wednesday.

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Prayer in Lent

Prayer is one of the three principal focuses of our Lenten discipline, along with fasting and almsgiving. In this meditation we consider how:

  • Christ himself gives us an example of fervent and assiduous prayer
  • Prayer unites us with Christ and helps us become true friends with him
  • Prayer can take four forms
  • Prayer requires effort
  • We can improve our prayer life in Lent in a number of ways

Living Lent well

 

Our Lord fasted and prayed for forty days before beginning his public life of preaching the Gospel. In Lent we accompany him in prayer, fasting and almsgiving to prepare for the great feast of Easter. In this meditation we consider how:

  • Inspired by Christ’s example, our prayer and fasting will help us overcome the many temptations we face in life.
  • When we live Lent well, we grow in self-mastery and experience the joy of the resurrection every day.
  • Lent spurs us on to new growth in the spiritual life and prepares us for our final meeting with Our Lord.
  • Texts of Pope Francis and St Peter Chrysologus show us the importance and unity of prayer, fasting and almsgiving.
  • There are many practical ways of living each of these aspects of Lent.

Fasting in Lent

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
  • Words of St Francis de Sales on the spirit of fasting
  • Practical ways we can live fasting in Lent

Lent, a springtime in the spiritual life

 

 

 

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.

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.