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
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
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:
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 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.
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.