“You alone are holy, all nations shall come and worship in Your presence” (Rev 15:4). The following excerpts are from Pope Benedict XVI’s Message for Lent 2007:
“They shall look on Him whom they have pierced.” Let us look with trust at the pierced side of Jesus from which flow “blood and water” (Jn 19:34)! The Fathers of the Church considered these elements as symbols of the sacraments of Baptism and the Eucharist. Through the water of Baptism, thanks to the action of the Holy Spirit, we are given access to the intimacy of Trinitarian love. In the Lenten journey, memorial of our Baptism, we are exhorted to come out of ourselves in order to open ourselves, in trustful abandonment, to the merciful embrace of the Father (cf. Saint John Chrysostom, Catecheses, 3,14ff). Blood, symbol of the love of the Good Shepherd, flows into us especially in the Eucharistic mystery: “The Eucharist draws us into Jesus’ act of self-oblation we enter into the very dynamic of His self-giving” (Encyclical Deus caritas est, 13). Let us live Lent then, as a “Eucharistic” time in which, welcoming the love of Jesus, we learn to spread it around us with every word and deed. Contemplating “Him whom they have pierced” moves us in this way to open our hearts to others, recognizing the wounds inflicted upon the dignity of the human person; it moves us, in particular, to fight every form of contempt for life and human exploitation and to alleviate the tragedies of loneliness and abandonment of so many people. May Lent be for every Christian a renewed experience of God’s love given to us in Christ, a love that each day we, in turn, must “regive” to our neighbour, especially to the one who suffers most and is in need. Only in this way will we be able to participate fully in the joy of Easter. May Mary, Mother of Beautiful Love, guide us in this Lenten journey, a journey of authentic conversion to the love of Christ.
Lenten Meditations “O my Beloved, no one had the right over You and yet You obeyed not only the Blessed Virgin and St. Joseph but even Your executioners. Now in the Sacred Host I see You at the height of Your annihilations. How humble You are, O Divine King of Glory” (St. Therese of Lisieux).
“This practice of adoration, in fact, is based on strong and solid reasons. For the Eucharist is at once a sacrifice and a sacrament; but it differs from the other sacraments in this that it not only produces grace, but contains in a permanent manner the Author of grace Himself. When, therefore, the Church bids us adore Christ hidden behind the eucharistic veils and pray to Him for spiritual and temporal favors, of which we ever stand in need, she manifests living faith in her divine Spouse who is present beneath these veils, she professes her gratitude to Him and she enjoys the intimacy of His friendship” (Pope Pius XII, Mediator Dei).
“We have ups and downs and sickness and suffering. That is part of the cross. Anyone who imitates Him to the full must share in His passion also. That is why we need prayer that is why we need the Bread of Life that is why we have Adoration” (Bl. Mother Teresa of Calcutta). Start Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration in your parish or community today!
Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God & World Day of Peace—Jan. 1 “While we sing to your divine Child, O great Mother of God, we praise you as his living temple. The Lord who upholds the universe came to dwell in your womb and sanctified and glorified you and taught everyone to cry out to you: Rejoice, tabernacle of the Word of God! Rejoice, holiest of all the saints! Rejoice, golden ark of the covenant! Rejoice, treasury of divine life! Rejoice, precious diadem of Christian rulers! Rejoice, pride and joy of devout priests! Rejoice, impregnable rampart of the Church! Rejoice, invincible wall of the kingdom of God! Rejoice, giver of victory over evil! Rejoice, destroyer of all who attack us! Rejoice, healing of minds and bodies!Rejoice, salvation of souls!Rejoice, unwedded bride!” (5th century Byzantine Hymn). Sts. Basil the Great & Gregory Nazianzen,Bishops,Doctors, Cappadocia(4th cen.)—Jan. 2 “[St.] Basil reminds us that to keep alive our love for God and for men, we need the Eucharist, the appropriate food for the baptized, which can nourish the new energies that derive from Baptism (cf. “De Baptismo” 1, 3: SC 357, 192). It is a cause of immense joy to be able to take part in the Eucharist (cf. “Moralia” 21, 3: PG 31, 741a), instituted ‘to preserve unceasingly the memory of the One who died and rose for us’ (“Moralia” 80, 22: PG 31, 869b). -Pope Benedict XVI, August 1, 2007 Feast of the Most Holy Name of Jesus—Jan. 3 “At the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Phil 2:8-11). St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, Widow, Mother, Religious, U.S. (1774-1821)—Jan. 4 “If the Lord’s body and blood were not there, really present, how could the Apostle have said: 'He who eats and drinks without recognizing the body eats and drinks a judgment on himself?’” St. John Neumann, Redemptorist Priest, Bishop, Bohemia (1811-1860)—Jan. 5 Empowered by his ardent love and devotion to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, St. John began 40 hours of Adoration devotion in the United States, and opened over 80 Churches and schools. Solemnity of the Epiphany of Our Lord—Jan. 6 The magi “adored a simple Child in the arms of Mother Mary, because in Him they recognized the source of the dual light that had guided them: the light of the star and the light of Scripture. They recognized in Him the King of the Jews, glory of Israel, but also the King of all peoples” (Pope Benedict XVI, Epiphany 2006). Feast of the Baptism of the Lord—Jan. 13 “Jesus, Divine Master, we adore You as the only-begotten Son of God, who came on earth to give abundant life to humanity. We thank You because by Your death on the cross, You give us life through Baptism and You nourish us in the Eucharist” (Bl. James Alberione). St. Agnes, Virgin, Martyr, Italy (c. 290-304)—Jan. 21 Let us adore the Lamb of God Whom the virgins follow! St. Agnes preserved her virginity in spite of imprisonment, torture & death. St. Francis de Sales, Priest, Bishop, France (1567-1622)—Jan. 24 “Keep yourself always near Jesus Christ crucified, both spiritually by meditation and really by Holy Communion . . . . When you lay down your heart to rest upon Our Lord, who is the true, chaste, and immaculate Lamb, you shall see that your soul and your heart shall soon be cleansed from all defilement and lewdness” (St. Francis de Sales). Conversion of St. Paul, Apostle—Jan. 25 “St. Paul tells us that faith comes from listening. In a daily Holy Hour, we wait for Him to speak—and He does!” (Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen). St. Thomas Aquinas, Priest, Doctor of the Church (c. 1225-1274)—Jan. 28 “I adore Thee, Jesus, in the Blessed Sacrament, and with all my heart I wish to make myself a fitting temple for Thee. Come to me, O loving Jesus” (St. Thomas Aquinas). St. John Bosco, Priest, Salesian Founder, Italy (1815-1888)—Jan. 31 “Our Lord is present in this sacrament [of the Holy Eucharist] in which the martyrs and virgins received fervor, and the saints received fortitude” (St. John Bosco). The Presentation of the Lord—Feast, February 2 “Simeon gave back Jesus to His Mother, he was only suffered to keep Him for one moment. But we are far happier than Simeon. We may keep Him always if we will. In Communion He comes not only into our arms but into our hearts” (St. John Vianney). St. Blaise, Bishop, Martyr, Patron of Throat Diseases, Armenia (316)—Feast, Feb. 3 St. Blaise was greatly devoted to the Holy Eucharist. While imprisoned for his faith, he ministered to others and saved a child who was choking to death on a fish bone. News of the miracle spread and this led to the custom of the blessing of throats, with two candles, in Church on St. Blaise’s feast day. St. Blaise was beheaded for his witness to Jesus. St. Agatha,Virgin, Martyr, Patroness of Nurses, Breast Cancer, Italy (251)—Feast, Feb. 5 Consecrated to Jesus at a young age, St. Agatha refused the advances of the Roman Governor. She was brutally tortured and mutilated, then left to die. Miraculously healed, the Governor was furious and sentenced her to death by burning. St. Agatha prayed to be faithful to Jesus to the end. Dear Virgin and Martyr, whom the Church recalls in her liturgy, you heroically resisted the temptation of an evil ruler. Subjected to long and horrible tortures, you remained faithful to your heavenly Spouse. Encourage nurses, those suffering from cancer, victims of sexual violence and natural disaster. Help them to find hope, peace and strength in Jesus, like you. Ash Wednesday—February 6 “Hear, O Lord, the sound of my call; have pity on me, and answer me. Of You my heart speaks; You my glance seeks; Your presence, O Lord, I seek. Hide not Your face from me” (Ps 27:7-9). This Lent, let us turn to the Father and ask for healing for ourselves, our families, our society, our world. Let us pray for God’s love, peace and mercy upon each and every person on the face of the earth. Let us be sincere with our efforts of prayer, fasting and almsgiving, and be mindful of all who are in need. Let us turn to the Lord with all our minds, with all our hearts and all our strength during this Holy Lenten Season. Particularly let us go to Him in Mass, Communion and Eucharistic Adoration. St. Josephine Bakhita, Religious, Africa (1869-1947)—Feast, February 8 St. Josephine was tortured and enslaved after she was kidnapped from Darfur, Sudan. Later Josephine was bought by a good family. She was eventually freed and went to Italy with them at the age of 21. She was attracted to Catholicism because of the true Presence of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. She converted and became a Canossian Sister. Sr. Josephine spent many hours daily in Eucharistic Adoration. She said: “I will send from heaven lots of graces for the salvation of souls.” St. Josephine, please pray for the people of Sudan! St. Scholastica, Benedictine Nun, Abbess, Italy (480-547)—Feast, February 10 Scholastica, was the first abbess of the order of nuns founded in Monte Cassino by her twin brother St. Benedict. Sr. Scholastica was a devout and dutiful religious. She spent many hours daily in prayer before Jesus Eucharistic. Scholastica was also very close to her twin brother Benedict. When she died, St. Benedict saw her soul rise to heaven in the form of a dove! Our Lady of Lourdes, (France)—Feast, February 11 “At Lourdes, even Mary has stepped aside to make way for Christ. There is no place in the world where Christ in the Eucharist is more glorified. The procession of the Eucharist by candlelight is the high point of each day. Here the pilgrims are joined in faith, and all the countries of the world are united as the procession winds from the grotto to show that Jesus is the Gift of the Virgin Mary. Now she stands at the side of her Son so that He may console” (Rev. Msgr. John F. Davis). Our Lady of Lourdes, please pray for all who are sick; who are in need of healing of body, mind and spirit. St. Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows, Patron of Clerics & Youth,Italy (1838-1862)—Feb. 27 St. Gabriel pledged to visit Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament daily and dedicate his life to Our Lady. His wholehearted devotion to this life led him to be a Saint by his death at the age of 24.
Solemnity of the Epiphany of The Lord—January 6 “The light of Christmas that shone out in the night, illuminating the manger of Bethlehem where Mary, Joseph and the shepherds stood in silent adoration, today shines and is visible to everyone. The Epiphany is a mystery of light, symbolically represented by the star that guided the journey of the Magi” (From Pope Benedict XVI’s 2006 Epiphany homily). His light shone out over the east; Persia was enlightened by the star: His Epiphany gave good tidings to her and invited her, “He is come for the sacrifice that brings joy to all.” The star of light hasted and came and dawned through the darkness, and summoned them that the peoples should come and exult in the great Light that has come down to earth. One envoy from among the stars the firmament sent to proclaim to them, to the sons of Persia, that they might make ready to meet the King and to worship Him. Great Assyria when she perceived it called to the Magi and said to them, “Take gifts and go, honour Him the great King Who in Judea has dawned.” The princes of Persia, exulting, carried gifts from their region; and they brought to the Son of the Virgin gold and myrrh and frankincense. They entered and found Him as a child as He dwelt in the house of the lowly woman; and they drew near and worshipped with gladness, and brought near before Him their treasures . . . . Let the Church sing with rejoicing, “Glory in the Birth of the Highest, by Whom the world above and the world below are illumined!” Blessed be He in Whose Birth all are made glad! -St. Ephrem the Syrian (d. 373) “‘They fell down and worshipped Him’ (Mt 2:11). While the Magi acknowledged and worshipped the baby that Mary cradled in her arms as the One awaited by the nations and foretold by prophets, today we can also worship Him in the Eucharist, and acknowledge Him as our Creator, our only Lord and Savior” (John Paul II, August 6, 2004).
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