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Lenten reading February 18, 2010

Posted by Tantumblogo in Dallas Diocese, General Catholic, Lent.
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This is the reading I promised earlier.  There’s three lists, you can pick one and go with that or mix and match.  This list is recommended by the highly secretive and little known, but truly awesome Father W – I think he’s somehow related to Father Z.

1. Church Fathers Lenten Reading Plan (read selections from several of the Church
Fathers; each day during Lent, except Sundays and the Sacred Triduum) 

2. Lives of the Great Saints Lenten Reading Plan (read the lives of the great saints – as
related by Pope Benedict XVI – of the Medieval to Early Renaissance periods; each day during
Lent, including Sundays and the Sacred Triduum)

3. Father Faber and Cardinal Newman Lenten Reading Plan (read daily selections from
the writings of Fr. Faber on the virtue of kindness, and Cardinal Newman’s meditations on
Christian hope & the Resurrection of Christ; each day including Sundays and the Sacred Triduum)

I’ve always liked reading about the Saints, so I’m going with that.  Enjoy!

Understanding Lent February 18, 2010

Posted by Tantumblogo in Dallas Diocese, General Catholic.
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In keeping with my emphasis on Lent today, here’s a brilliant summation of a proper understanding of Lent for Catholics.                                           

I hope Father Blake doesn’t mind my ripping off most of his post on the subject:

Lent is not an orgy of Pelagian self improvement, that turns it into something vain and worldly. Lent is about probing are weakness and offering that to God

“Remember you are dust and to dust we shall return”, are words that should dominate our Lent. God takes dust, breathes his life into us and we become human beings, without him we return to dust. Our existence depends on Him, by ourselves we are nothing, blown away like dust in the breeze.

Lent is the time when we are supposed to realise without God we are nothing, and God is everything. That for us Catholics it is the sacraments; Baptism, the Eucharist, Penance, those direct contacts with God himself that give us Life.

Realising we are weak and God is strong, that we cannot depend on ourselves but only on Him, if we are confronted with that, then Lent will have some value for us. If we learn to weep over our sins and to run to him in the sacraments not just for his forgiveness but for his strength then Lent will not be wasted.

Wonderful words.  Lent is not about us, it’s about God, and our need for His sustaining Love every second of every day!  That’s the fundamental aspect of human life – without God, we simply do not exist.   I don’t know how atheists can function, cutting themselves off from God under a spell of pride, selfishness, and often, rage.  And yet, we faithful cut ourselves off from God frequently, too – every time we commit a mortal sin, we are literally killing our souls and cutting ourselves from God’s life giving presence.  That’s why the Sacrament of Penance is soooo important – God wants to forgive us, and if we go to Penance with a truly contrite heart, God will forgive our sins through His priests and we can be joined together with him again!

Make a point of it – go to Penance at least once during lent, and at least every few months after that.  I go most weeks, but then, I need it – I’m really that bad. 

Shout Out! February 18, 2010

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Dallas Diocese, General Catholic, North Deanery.
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I think it fair to say that I have been, at times and of course always strictly in a constructive sense 🙂 , critical of some goings on in the Dallas Diocese on this blog.  But, I must give some positive credit where it is due. 

Father Cliff Smith, pastor at St. Mark in Plano, can give a very good sermon (not homily), and he gave a good one yesterday on Ash Wednesday.  I’d say, a very good one, about as good as one hears from a Catholic priest.  Father Cliff comments here from time to time, and while there are a number of issues on which we don’t agree (but far more where we do agree),  that’s immaterial right now.  Fr. Cliff, moved by the Holy Spirit, no doubt, gave a stirring, exhorting speech to the laity about the meaning of Ash Wednesday, and the importance of engaging in penetential acts during Lent, especially the Sacrament of Penance and striving to both amend our lives by giving something up, and trying to grow spiritually by adding  more prayer, Scripture study, and other activities to grow in our understanding of the Faith and closer to the Lord.

Most importantly, Fr. Cliff highlighted that these penetential acts are not just reserved for Lent, but should be extended beyond Lent and become a regular part of our spiritual lives.  It was all very good, straightforward wisdom and, I am proud to say, Fr. Cliff pulled no punches about the importance of making penetential acts a regular, ongoing part of our relationship with God. 

I will be posting later today a set of resources for planned reading programs people can engage in during Lent.   There are many available, but there’s three in particular that are great.  I’m returning to the Liturgy of the Hours for Lent – I had prayed the Hours during Christmas and Epiphany, but went back to the Magnificat during Ordinary Time.  Now, it’s Liturgy of the Hours at least for daytime through the night prayers.  I haven’t managed to squeeze out enough time to do the Office of Readings, but I will – during Holy Week, at the least.  I am also reading Scripture daily – I’m focusing on some of Paul’s letters, Corinthians, Romans, Colossians, Ephesians, and Thessalonians.  That should take me through Holy Week, at least.  I pray the Lord will give me time (and agreeable children) to do the additional prayers and scripture reading I mean to do this Lent! 

What are you doing for Lent?