Lent is a time for reflection and stillness,

a time for pondering as Mary must have done

on the extraordinary events

of her Son’s Passion, Death and Resurrection.

I hope that you will find these

readings and reflections

helpful on your journey

RETURN


 A special Lenten fast

 

Give up harsh words: use generous ones.

Give up unhappiness: take up gratitude.

Give up anger: take up gentleness and patience.

Give up pessimism: take up hope and optimism.

Give up worrying: take up trust in God.

Give up complaining: value what you have.

Give up stress: take up prayer.

Give up judging others: discover Jesus within them.

Give up sorrow and bitterness: fill your heart with joy.

Give up selfishness: take up compassion for others.

Give up being unforgiving: learn reconciliation.

Give up words: fill yourself with silence, and listen to others.

anonymous, Latin America

 

Psalm 139

 

O Lord, you search me and you know me,

You know my resting and my rising,

you discern my purpose from afar,

You mark when I walk or lie down,

all my ways lie open to you.

 

Before ever a word is on my tongue

You know it, O Lord, through and through.

Behind and before you besiege me,

Your hand ever laid upon me.

Too wonderful for me, this knowledge,

Too high, beyond my reach.

 

For it was you who created my being,

knit me together in my mother’s womb.

I thank you for the wonder of my being,

for the wonders of all your creation.

 

Your eyes saw all my actions,

they were all of them written in your book;

every one of my days was decreed

before one of them came into being.

 

 "Let waters flow and wash away injustice".

CAFOD’S LENTEN THEME

Clean water is essential for life— however, 884 million people - one in eight of the world’s population, do not have ready access to clean water—access that we in the developed world take for granted. This, and lack of safe sanitation, result in over two million people dying from water-related diseases every year. The lack of clean water close to people's homes also affects people's time, livelihoods and quality of life.

This Lent, CAFOD is focussing on this lack of access to water and

highlighting the fact that it is the world’s poorest men and women who are often forced to live in the most vulnerable areas, such as those prone to drought, or where water supply is insufficient to meet demand.

Climate change is already making this worse. Desert regions are likely to

become drier and hotter; unpredictable rains will bring more drought and

devastating floods; and water stored in glaciers will eventually melt. The

greatest impacts are likely to be felt in Africa, where the largest number of people already live in water poverty.

 During your prayer time this Lent you might like to remember CAFOD and its work for and with people living in poverty throughout the world.

 

 Scripture – The Woman at the Well (John 4:1-14)

 

Jesus came to a town named Sychar in Samaria,

which was not far from the field that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired out by the trip,

sat down by the well.

It was about noon.

A Samaritan woman came to draw some water,

and Jesus said to her,

"Give me a drink of water."

His disciples had gone into town to buy food.

The woman answered, "You are a Jew, and I am a Samaritan – so how can you ask me for a drink?"

Jews would not use the same cups and bowls that Samaritans use.

 

 Mary at the foot of the Cross

 

"The Marian Church stands at the foot of the Cross. She is vulnerable in her deeds as in her words. With a humble courage she stands

alongside the most insignificant".
                                                                (Francois Marc sm)

 

When we contemplate Mary standing silently at the foot of the Cross we are called to bring our suffering world into focus as many mothers stand and watch their children die in present day violent situations.

In the Gospels, Mary is presented as the model of

discipleship, so what is she actually doing at the foot of the Cross?

She doesn't speak, doesn't try to stop the crucifixion, and she doesn't even protest its unfairness or plead Jesus'

innocence. She is seemingly passive, not doing anything.

 At a deeper level however, she is doing all that can be done when one is standing under the weight of the cross, she's holding the tension, standing in strength, and resisting in a deeper way.

  "Near the Cross of Christ stood his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas and Mary of Magdala"       (John 19: 25)

 

Mary ‘stood’ under the Cross of her Son, a position of strength.
What could she have done? She couldn't stop the crucifixion but she could stop some of the hatred, bitterness, jealousy, heartlessness, and

anger that caused it. She helped by refusing to give it back in kind, by transforming rather than transmitting it, by swallowing hard rather than giving it back, as everyone else was doing.

What Mary was doing under the Cross, her silence and seeming

unwillingness to protest, was radiating gentleness, understanding,

forgiveness, peace, hope and light. That's not easy to do. Everything

inside us demands justice, screams for it, and refuses to remain silent in the presence of injustice. 

 

Mary stood at the foot of the Cross because she alone understood Jesus’ mission from the Father at that time and it was that understanding that gave her strength. She was united with Jesus in His mission.

So this is our model: Sometimes the blind, wounded forces of the world cannot be stopped, but, like Mary at the foot of the Cross, we are asked to "stand" with the suffering people of our world  not in passivity and

weakness, but in strength, knowing that we can't stop the crucifixion of the innocent but we can support them by taking up our stance with Mary at the foot of Cross.

(Taken from the Marist Sisters’ web site based on a talk given by Fr. Ron Rolheiser

 

 

The Resurrection

A Reading from Matthew 28: 1-8

 

After the Sabbath, and towards dawn on the first day of the week, Mary of Magdala and the other Mary went to visit the sepulchre. And all at once there was a violent earthquake, for the angel of the Lord, descending from heaven, came and rolled away the stone and sat on it. His face was like lightning, his robe white as snow. The guards were so shaken, so frightened of him that they were like dead men. But the angel spoke; and he said to the women, ‘There is no need for you to be afraid. I know you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here, for he has risen, as he said he would. Come and see the place where he lay, then go quickly and tell his disciples,

"He has risen from the dead and now he is going before you to Galilee; it is there you will see him."

Now I have told you.’

Filled with awe and great joy the women came quickly away from the tomb and ran to tell the disciples.