Thursday, February 11, 2016

PM: Offertory Thursdays--1st. Sunday Of Lent

The Lord will overshadow you with his pinions, and you will find refuge under his wings. His faithfulness will encompass you with a shield. 
Ps. 90:4, 5
"See what love the Father has bestowed on us...." With great fatherly care and providence, He will guard your life.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

These Forty Days

Once again, we prepare for Easter.

Once again, we join Jesus on His way to the Cross.

Once again, we contemplate on His Passion and what it means.

In this the Jubilee Year of Mercy, we are presented with the time and opportunity to continue to understand why God chose this way to redeem us.

While we are called to repentance every day, the Church gives us this time to focus on conversion of heart, mind, and soul.

For those of you who may come across my words, I ask you one question, something of a mini-theme of mine at times.

Are you living what I call the "Johannine lie"? (See John 9:40-41.)

We seemingly don't hear about sin anymore. It is as if we have been desensitized to its presence to the point where it doesn't exist. While the Devil's biggest accomplishment is the denial of his existence, his second is the denial of right and wrong. Ask Adam and Eve about that one. Are we blinded to that fact in the world and in our own lives? The quip goes that saints know they are sinners, while sinners think they are saints.

There is not one part of our lives that is not in need of metanoia--thought, word, or deed.

We are given this moment in the liturgical year to truly "repent, and believe in the Gospel."

Let us take this time to continue to become more and more a child of God.

"Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner."

PM: Special Edition--Ash Wednesday

The Church's liturgically built-in season of repentance has begun.
Your mercy extends to all things, O Lord, and you despise none of the things you have made. You overlook the sins of men for the sake of repentance. You grant them your pardon, because you are the Lord our God. V. Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me, for my soul confides in you. 
Wisdon 11:24, 25, 27; V. Ps. 56
Remember in the story of creation (Genesis 1), we were made in the image and likeness of God, who pronounced us "very good". While sin has diminished us, God has always taken the initiative in calling us back to Him, as this Introit demonstrates.
Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me, for my soul confides in you.  
V. He has sent from heaven and saved me; he has put to shame those who trampled upon me. 
Ps. 56:2; V. 4
Echoing the verse from the Introit, the Gradual is our basic prayer for the next forty days. We ask for His forgiveness so as to find favor and become His adopted children.
Lord, do not requite us according to the sins we have committed or according to our iniquity. 
V. Lord, remember not our sins of old; let your compassion come speedily to meet us, for we are brought very low. 
V. Help us, O God, our Saviour, and for the glory of your name, deliver us, O Lord; and forgive us our sins, for your name's sake. 
Ps. 102:10; V. Ps. 78:8, 9
The beginning of  Lent brings us, instead of the Alleluia, what is known as the Tract as a different was of preparing us for the Gospel and enforcing the idea we are in a reflective, penitential time. Here, we are again asking for the mercy of God and not be judged by our unrighteousness. We seek His compassion.
I will extol you, O Lord, for you have drawn me up, and have not let my foes rejoice over me. O Lord, I cried unto you and you healed me. 
Ps. 29:2, 3
Harkening back to the verse from the Gradual, the Offertory is the beginning of our praise and thanksgiving, that God has not forsaken us.
He who meditates day and night on the law of the Lord, shall bear fruit in due season. 
Ps. 1:2b, 3b
This Communion verse is our "homework" until the end of March. Most importantly, we need to meditate on the fulfillment of the law, Jesus Christ, Who we have just received. Remember His promise of remaining in us if we remain in Him.

PM: Tract Wednesday--1st. Sunday Of Lent

He who abides in the shelter of the Most High, shall remain under the protection of the Lord of Heaven.
V. He shall say to the Lord: "You are my protector and my refuge;" my God, in whom I trust.
V. For he has set me free from the snare of the fowler, and from cutting words.
V. He will conceal you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge.
V. His faithfulness will shield you as with a buckler, you will not suffer the terrors of the night:
V. You shall fear neither the arrow that flies by day, nor the conspiracy that stalks in the darkness, nor destruction, nor the demon of noonday.
V. A thousand will fall at your side, and ten thousand at your right, but you shall remain unharmed. 
V. For to his Angels he has given a commandment concerning you, to keep you in all your ways.
V. In their hands they will bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone.
V. On the asp and the basilisk you will tread and trample the lion and the dragon.
V. Because he has put his hope in me I will deliver him; I will protect him, because he knows my name.
V. He shall call out to me, and I shall answer him: I am with him in tribulation.
V. I will rescue him and honor him; with long days will I satisfy him; and I shall let him see my saving power. 
Ps. 90:1-7; 11-16
During Lent, the Alleluia is replaced with what is known as the Tract. The purpose is the same:  to prepare the congregation to hear the Gospel. On this first Sunday in this penitential season, the message is one of the compassion and care of God of those who seek Him of those who turn from sin and seek His mercy and love.

The length of this will be uncomfortable to a modern-day congregation, who are rather accustomed to a minimalistic approach to liturgy. (And is one of a few Propers during Lent which are longer than the usual one or two verses.) But would not listening to this in its entirety, meditating on the words of a good translation while hearing this melody, be a way to awaken your soul to the reality of God's providence and stir up hope and trust in Him (as well as contrition for your sinfulness), He Who has counted all the hairs on your head and find you infinitely more valuable than a fallen sparrow, which is also under His care?

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

PM: Gradual Tuesday--1st. Sunday Of Lent

To his Angels he has given a commandment concerning you, to keep you in all your ways. 
V. On their hands they will bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone. 
Ps. 90:11-12
Our help is in the name of the Lord, Who created Heaven and earth. He even gives you an angel to protect you as you work to be holy in the sight of God.

Monday, February 08, 2016

PM: Introit Mondays--1st. Sunday Of Lent

When he calls to me, I will answer him; I will rescue him and honor him; with long life will I satisfy him. 
V. He who abides in the shelter of the Most High, shall remain under the protection of the God of Heaven. 
Ps. 90:15, 16 V. 1
We begin this season of penitence by calling to God. If we remain faithful to Him, turning away from our sins, we will always have a home with Him, "on earth as it is in Heaven".

Friday, February 05, 2016

PM: Communion Fridays--5th. Sunday Of Ordinary Time

Two Communion antiphons are used this Sunday. The first is for Cycle A and C.
I will go in to the altar of God, to the God who gives joy to my youth. 
Ps. 42:4
This is the opening prayer in the Extraordinary Form of the Mass. As we go to receive Him in His Real Presence, we are reminded that only He can give us true joy in the youth of our existence, our earthly life.
A multitude with diseases, and those who were troubled by unclean spirits, came unto him, because a power emanated from him which healed them all. 
Luke 6:17, 18, 19
We come to Him because our lives are not whole. His healing power of both body and soul, evident throughout the Gospels, bears witness to the mercy and love of God.

Thursday, February 04, 2016

PM: Offertory Thursdays--5th. Sunday Of Ordinary Time

Render secure my footsteps in your paths so that my feet do not slip; incline your ear and hear my words; display your wonderful mercies, O Lord, Saviour of those who place their hope in you. 
Ps. 15:5, 6, 7
Asking for guidance, asking in hope, we plead with God to be gracious with us in our petitions.

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

PM: Alleluia Wednesdays--5th. Sunday Of Ordinary Time

Praise the Lord all nations; praise him in unison, all peoples. 
Ps. 116:1
Alleluia is Hebrew for "praise the Lord". In our liturgy we come together to give God His due.