Lent is a time to pause a moment and examine the direction of our lives. It is a time to reflect before the celebration of Holy Week and Easter about the state of our relationship with God and whether or not we should be changing any aspects of our lifestyles to better reflect the Christian calling that we espouse. It is the promise of Easter, just as it is the promise of hope in the words of Joel that help us to endure the pain of addressing our sinfulness and seeking to put in place in our lives structures that will serve the call to holiness.
12 Yet even now, says the LORD, return to me with your whole heart, with fasting, and weeping, and mourning; 13 rend your 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. 14 Perhaps he will again relent and leave behind him a blessing, offerings and libations for the LORD, your God. 15 Blow the trumpet in Zion! Proclaim a fast, call an assembly; 16 gather the people, notify the congregation; assemble the elders, gather the children and the infants at the breast; let the bridegroom quit his room, and the bride her chamber. 17 Between the porch and the altar let the priests, the ministers of the LORD, weep, and say, ?Spare, O LORD, your people, and make not your heritage a reproach, with the nations ruling over them! Why should they say among the peoples, ?Where is their God??? 18 Then the LORD was stirred to concern for his land and took pity on his people.
P S A L M
Psalm 51:3-4, 5-6ab, 12-13, 14 and 17
R: Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned.
1  Have mercy on me, O GOD, in your goodness; in the greatness of your compassion wipe out my offense. 2  Thoroughly wash me from my guilt and of my sin cleanse me. (R) 3  For I acknowledge my offense, and my sin is before me always. 4  ?Against you only have I sinned, and done what is evil in your sight? (R) 10  A clean heart create for me, O GOD, and a steadfast spirit renew within me. 11  Cast me not out from your presence, and your Holy Spirit take not from me. (R) 12  Give me back the joy of your salvation, and a willing spirit sustain in me. 15  O LORD, open my lips, and my mouth shall proclaim your praise. (R)
2 Corinthians 5:20-6:2
Do not wait until tomorrow to change your sinful ways as for all you know tomorrow may not come. This may be a somewhat liberal paraphrase of a portion of today?s text from St. Paul, but it captures the idea that Paul had when he wrote nearly 2000 years ago. The only thing more amazing than the actual preservation of this text is that it is equally relevant to a reader today as it was then. The writings of the Scriptures have this timeless nature because they are God?s Word encompassing His call to and offer of salvation to all people.
20 So we are ambassadors for Christ, as if God were appealing through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21 For our sake he made him to be sin who did not know sin, so that we might become the righteousness of God in him. 6: 1 Working together, then, we appeal to you not to receive the grace of God in vain. 2 For he says: ?In an acceptable time I heard you, and on the day of salvation I helped you.? Behold, now is a very acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation.
G O S P E L
Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18
Ultimately, to reflect properly upon our lives we need to do this alone with God. Nothing can substitute for silence when it comes to meeting with God face to face in order to reflect upon the state of our lives. This can be a challenge to us in the midst of such a noisy and busy world. However, it is worth the effort in the long run. Why not try it this Lent? Try to organize at least two or three days that you can spend alone with the Lord. I bet it will improve your faith life beyond expectation.
1 ?Take care not to perform righteous deeds in order that people may see them; otherwise, you will have no recompense from your heavenly Father. 2 When you give alms, do not blow a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets to win the praise of others. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward. 3 But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right is doing, 4 so that your almsgiving may be secret. And your Father who sees in secret will repay you. 5 When you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, who love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on street corners so that others may see them. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward. 6 But when you pray, go to your inner room, close the door, and pray to your Father in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will repay you. 16 ?When you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites. They neglect their appearance, so that they may appear to others to be fasting. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward. 17 But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, 18 so that you may not appear to be fasting, except to your Father who is hidden. And your Father who sees what is hidden will repay you.
think: Lent is a time to pause a moment and examine the direction of our lives.
God?s special verse/thought for me today________________
T O D A Y ? S BLESSING LIST
hank You Lord for: ____________________________________
READ THE BIBLE IN ONE YEAR Deuteronomy 25-27
GETTING TO KNOW THE SAINTS
Saint Catherine Ricci
Saint Catherine Ricci was born Alessandra Lucrezia Romola on April 23, 1522 at Florence, Italy. She adopted the name Catherine after she entered the novitiate in 1535.
The young Alessandra considered the Blessed Virgin her true mother since her mother had died when she was still an infant and it was only her godmother who raised her. As a child, the girl could speak with her guardian angel. When she was six, she moved to a convent school in Montecelli where she developed a devotion to the Passion of Christ. Her father stopped her from her chosen vocation. Catherine fell ill and only when he approved did she recover. Thus, she entered the Dominican tertiary and adopted the name Catherine.
Catherine received visions from the Lord and had ecstasies. This created problems and doubts among the other sisters. On one occasion, she declared that she received a ring from the Lord as a sign of her union with him. To her it was a gold set with a diamond, but to everyone else, it was just a red lozenge and a circlet around her finger. Catherine was a stigmatist. For 12 years since she was twenty, Catherine would experience weekly ecstasies of Christ s passion from noon Thursday until 4:00 p.m. Friday. People came to see her and this provided a venue for sinners to repent.
Saint Catherine died on February 2, 1590 at Prato, Italy. She was beatified by Pope Clement XII on November 23, 1732 and canonized by Pope Benedict XIV on June 29, 1746.
Saint Sabinus of Canosa
Sabinus, patron saint of Bari, was a friend of Saint Benedict. He was bishop of the now-destroyed city of Canosa in Apulia. Sabinus was entrusted by Pope Saint Agapitus to Emperor Justinian. He died in the year 566.