Wednesday, 5 March 2014

The Beginning of Lent

Today begins the season of Lent. Catholics often think of Lent as a very sad, hard time. But Lent is not only sorrowful, but a time of great compassion and reparation. In these next few days, Our Lord reveals to us His infinite love, His unending mercy, and His tender care towards us. 

During Lent, Our Lord shows us that we are certainly not alone on this earth and that anything we ever have to suffer, He has suffered as well. Have you been abandoned by your friends? Jesus was betrayed by Judas for you. Have you been overwhelmed with stress and discouragement? Jesus cried and shed blood in the Garden of Gethsemane. Have you been accused wrongly, abused, pushed over the limit? Jesus did all this for you! And just to prove that He would do more if he could, after He died, the soldiers pierced His heart and Jesus shed the last drops of blood in His body for you. How could we ever feel lonely when we have such a Friend!

Every moment in Lent Christ is calling you, telling you to turn from your ways and live a holy life. What more could He do to prove His love? I found it very eye opening to read "The Corporal Passion of Jesus," an article written by a doctor, who analysed the Passion from a medical point of view. You begin to really see what Our Lord did for us. Please read it here: The saints also had many things to say about the Passion: 

"He who desires", says St. Bonaventure, "to go on advancing from virtue to virtue, from grace to grace, should meditate continually on the Passion of Jesus." And he adds that "there is no practice more profitable for the entire sanctification of the soul than the frequent meditation of the sufferings of Jesus Christ."
St. Augustine said that a single tear shed at the remembrance of the Passion of Jesus is worth more than a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, or a year of fasting on bread and water.
"The holy sufferings of Jesus is a sea of sorrows, but it is also a sea of love. Ask the Lord to teach you to fish in this sea. Immerse yourself in it, and, no matter how deeply you go, you will never reach the bottom. Allow yourself to be penetrated with love and sorrow. In this way you will make the sufferings of the gentle Jesus your own. Fish for the pearls of the virtues of Jesus. This holy fishing is done without words." - St. Paul of the Cross

"In the passion of our blessed Saviour, six things chiefly are to be meditated upon. First, the bitterness of his sorrow, that we may compassionate with him.  Secondly, the greatness of our sins, which were the cause of his torments, that we may abhor them. Thirdly, the greatness of the benefit, that we may be grateful for it. Fourthly, the excellency of the divine charity and bounty therein manifested, that we may love him more fervently. Fifthly, the conveniency of the mystery, that we may be drawn to admiration of it. Lastly, the multiplicity of virtues of our blessed Saviour which did shine in this stupendous mystery, that we may partly imitate and partly admire them; wherefore, in the midst of these meditations, let us sometimes compassionate with our blessed Saviour in the extremity of his sorrows; extreme indeed, both by reason of the tenderness of his body, as also, for the great affection he bore unto our souls."
"He did suffer them without any manner of consolation, as we shall speak hereafter in its proper place. Sometimes let us stir up in ourselves compunction for our sins, which were the cause of his great sufferings. Sometimes let us kindle in our souls an ardent affection, considering his great affection towards us, which upon the cross he declared and manifested to the whole world. And the benefit which he bestowed upon us in his passion, because he bought us with the inestimable price of his precious blood, of which only, we reap the benefit and commodity." - St. Peter of Alcantara
"The death and passion of Our Lord is the sweetest and most constraining motive that can animate our hearts in this mortal life... so, in the glory of heaven above, next to the Divine goodness known and considered in itself, Our Saviour's death shall most powerfully ravish the blessed spirits in the loving of God." - St. Francis de Sales

So let us spend these next days making many sacrifices and acts of repentance and reparation. We must die to ourselves if we want to resurrect with Christ. May God pour forth torrents of hope and compassion in your soul this Lent, for what a great time of grace it is!

The Passion of the Christ is a classic to watch in Lent. Please watch:

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