My family immersed ourselves in the Holy Triduum. We attended Mass on Thursday & Friday and solemnly observed Holy Saturday in the confines of our home.
Below are a few pictures of the rich liturgical life that we experienced. The accompanying text is taken from Fisheaters.
"From now till Saturday no lamps in the church are lit. No bells are rung. Holy Water should be removed from all stoups and thrown into the sacrarium. A small quantity is kept for blessing the fire on Holy Saturday or for a sick call."
The rest of the Mass after the Washing of the Feet has a special form, unlike all other Masses. After the Mass, the priest takes off his chasuble and vests in a white cope. He returns to the Altar, incenses the Sacred Hosts in the ciborium, and, preceded by the Crucifer and torchbearers, carries the Ciborium to the "Altar of Repose," also called the "Holy Sepulchre," where it will remain "entombed" until the Mass of the Presanctified on Good Friday.
No true Mass is offered today (or tomorrow until the Vigil tomorrow evening); instead a liturgy called the "Mass of the Presanctified" is offered , which is not a true Mass because no consecration takes place. Instead, we consume Hosts consecrated at yesterday's Mass. Vestment colors will be black, and the liturgy consists of lessons, prayer, St. John's version of the Passion, and ends with a long series of prayers for various intentions: the Church, the Pope, the faithful, those engaged in public affairs, catechumens, the needs of the faithful, unity, the conversion of the Jews, the conversion of infidels. These intentions are called the Great Intercessions, and we kneel after each.
Then the Cross will be unveiled and and elevated to be adored by our kneeling three times before it at the words "Venite, adorémus" (come, let us adore). We kneel thrice because He was mocked thrice: in the high priest's courtyard, in Pilate's house, and on Mt. Calvary. Then the priest lays the Cross on a cushion and covers it with a white veil to symbolize the Entombment. He takes off his shoes, like Moses before God, and kneels three times as the choir chants. He and his acolytes kneel and kiss the Cross.
The Cross is held up for us, and we file past - - men first, then women -- to kneel and kiss the Cross while the choir sings the Improperia (the Reproaches) of Christ, in which Our Lord reminds of us all He has done for us and our ingratitude towards Him. Note the use of the singular "thee" in these Reproaches. Our Lord is speaking to you. The first three of the twelve Reproaches are:
O My people, wha have I done to thee? Or wherein have I afflicted thee? Answer Me. Because I led thee out of the land of Egypt, thou hast prepared a Cross for thy Savior.
Because I led thee out through the desert forty years: and fed thee with manna, and brought thee into a land exceeding good, thou has prepared a Cross for thy Savior.
What more ought I to have done for thee, that I have not done? I planted thee, ineed, My most beautiful vineyard: and thou has become exceeding bitter to Me: for in My thirst thou gavest Me vinegar to drink and with a lance thou hast pierced the side of thy Savior.
We watched the Passion with our GFG and ate left over Good Friday soup.
Greatest Heroes and Legends of the Bible: Last Supper, Crucifixion,
We watched this version with Rose once the littles were in bed.
The littles woke up with a joyous ALLELUIA! We invited my parents over for an early breakfast before Mass. We used Catholic Icing’s Printable Resurrection Eggs.
- Blueberry Baked French Toast
- Fresh Fruit
- Scrambled Eggs
- Whipped Juice
- Lemon Cookies
- Stuffed Mushrooms
- Chicken Wings
- French Dip Sandwiches
- Deep Fried Asparagus
- Chili Beans
- Potato Salad
- Oriental Chinese Chicken Salad
- Lemon Bars
- Freshly Squeezed Lemonade
- Brewed Sweet Tea
The celebration of the Easter Vigil is the beginning of the season of Easter. The Vigil is the Christian feast; of new birth, new beginnings, salvation renewed, and humanity restored to the Lord. While it marks the end of the paschal fast, the end of the celebration of Holy Week, and the end of repentance and conversion for which Lent prepared the community, it is much more a beginning. It is the beginning of a new season of grace and a time of joy and thanksgiving, for Easter is not one day or one solemnity—it is a fifty day celebration, and the fifty days from Easter Sunday to Pentecost Sunday together comprise what the General Instruction terms "the great Sunday".
"Faith in the resurrection of Jesus says that there is a future for every human being; the cry for unending life which is a part of the person is indeed answered... God exists: that is the real message of Easter. Anyone who even begins to grasp what this means also knows what it means to be redeemed." ~ Pope Benedict XVI
Prayers for a JOYfilled Easter!
Second Sunday of the Passion
Before the Mass is the Blessing of the Palms, which includes an Antiphon, Psalms, and Gospel reading. Then comes the Procession with hymns, when we carry the palms either around the church or outside, weather permitting, and then the Mass, during which there is a very long reading sung in 3 parts by 3 deacons (or priest and deacons such as the case may be) -- a long recitation of the Passion, including Matthew 26:36-75 and Matthew 27:1-60. Prepare for a very long Mass!
Carrying palms… in procession goes way back into the Old Testament, where it was not only approved but commanded by God at the very foundation of the Old Testament religion. In the fall of the year, after the harvest, when the people gathered for the Feast of Tabernacles God said in Leviticus 23:40:
And you shall take to you on the first day the fruits of the fairest tree, and branches of palm trees, and boughs of thick trees, and willows of the brook: And you shall rejoice before the Lord your God.
We made it, praise God! Dad and Papi were sick but they had a brief reprieve.
I’m so very thankful for the rich liturgical customs that we are able to take part in. The children are becoming more in awe of our faith, with every celebration. I pray that their love for Our Lord and Holy Mother Church continues to blossom.
When I say brief, I mean brief. We had to stay at church longer than desired since my tire went flat when I arrived at Mass. We all gave thanks to God for getting us to Mass safely. We were also blessed with two very wonderful young men who volunteered to fix the tire. Dad slept on the hour drive home (since he worked a night shift) and two more children became ill on the ride home. We are still recovering but embracing our Holy Week.
ALL FOR JESUS!
We are entering Holy Week true to our family tradition, we’re sick.
We pray to persevere and set our hearts solely on Him. All activities outside of the home and Church have come to a halt. We withdraw from the world during Holy Week - for reflection and reparation. No sports, field trips, extracurricular, visits from friends, etc… Only work (for Dad) and Mass (for all who find reprieve from their illness).
God willing, we will be able to follow the following schedule.
Let us hope that, by God’s mercy, the holy time we are now entering upon will work such a happy change in us, that, on the day of judgment, we may confidently fix our eyes on Him we are now about to contemplate crucified by the hands of sinners. The death of Jesus puts the whole of nature in commotion; the midday sun is darkened, the earth is shaken to its very foundations, the rocks are split: may it be that our hearts, too, be moved, and pass from indifference to fear, from fear to hope, and, at length, from hope to love; so that, having gone down, with our Crucified, to the very depths of sorrow, we may deserve to rise again with Him unto light and joy, beaming with the brightness of His Resurrection, and having within ourselves the pledge of a new life, which shall then die no more!
~ Rev. Dom Prosper Guérange, The Liturgical Year – Practice During Passiontide & Holy Week
- Understanding Holy Week – Audio. Father James Fryar, FSSP explains Holy Week.
- Holy Week 2009
- Holy Week 2010
Happy 84th Birthday
V. Let us pray for Benedict, our Pope.
R. May the Lord preserve him, and give him life, and make him blessed upon the earth, and deliver him not up to the will of his enemies. [Ps 40:3]
Our Father, Hail Mary.
O God, Shepherd and Ruler of all Thy faithful people, look mercifully upon Thy servant Benedict, whom Thou hast chosen as shepherd to preside over Thy Church. Grant him, we beseech Thee, that by his word and example, he may edify those over whom he hath charge, so that together with the flock committed to him, may he attain everlasting life. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
~ Excerpted from the Roman Missal. A partial indulgence is attached to the versicle and response. (Catholic Culture)
(today is also the traditional feast day of St. Bernadette, Sparkles' patron saint)
Rose and I have decided to give you a sneak peak into our Esty shop, JOYfilled creations.
We have a limited selection of our Spring Edition Tiles.
They are ready to be shipped!
"To me Jesus is the Life I want to live, the Light I want to reflect, the Way to the Father, the Love I want to express, the JOY I want to share, the Peace I want to sow around me. Jesus is my everything." ~ Bl. Mother Teresa of Calcutta
Dragonfly is a few days short of 11 months.
He took his first steps on Tuesday, April 12. It was a series of 3 steps. He has been taking solo steps since then.
here’s Dragonfly at his nightly play date with mom and dad.
It looks like he’ll be our fourth GFG to join the 11 month club.
Sparkles walked at 9 months
Sweetie and Papi walked at 10 months
Rose walked at exactly 12 months
I’m not sure that dad and I are ready to have two boys on the loose.
Those are beautiful!
My fact: My knees hyperextend way, way, way back. It's gross and awesome at the same time. :D
I love this giveaway!
Fun fact: God has a great sense of humor, I am not an animal or nature person, and now I live in a farm with: cows, sheep, donkey, and chickens...
Thank you Melody for your inspiration!
Hodie, si vocem Domini audieritis, nolite obdurare corda vestra. ~ To-day if you shall hear the voice of the Lord, harden not your hearts. Ps. 42:1-2
Traditional Calendar ~ Passion Sunday – New Calendar ~ Fifth Sunday in Lent
DOUBLE, FIRST CLASS / PURPLE
Jesus, eternal God, became mortal man in order to mediate our redemption, to form a new people that would be His Mystical Self, and to bring all men into an eternal union with Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. There can be no living of Christ without living the price of mediation for souls. That price may vary, from mere fidelity in the performance of monotonous duty, to bearing with loneliness and misunderstanding, or even to suffering violence and death. Sin continues, and therefore suffering for sin must continue. Since Christians share Christ's priesthood through Baptism and Confirmation, His passion becomes their passion, for an "eternal inheritance."
Rev. Fr. Leonard Goffine's
The Church's Year
FIFTH SUNDAY IN LENT
….This Sunday, called Judica from the first word of the Introit, is also called Passion Sunday,
because from this day the Church occupies herself exclusively with the contemplation of the
passion and death of Christ. The pictures of Christ crucified are covered today in memory of
his having hidden Himself from the Jews until His entrance into Jerusalem, no longer showing
Himself in public. (John XI. 54.) In the Mass the Glory be to the Father, etc. is omitted,
because in the person of Christ the Holy Trinity was dishonored. The psalm Judica is not said
today, because on this day the high priests held council about our Lord, for which reason the
Church in the name of the suffering Saviour uses these words at the Introit:
INTROIT Judge me, O God, and distinguish my cause from the nation that is not holy: deliver me from the unjust and deceitful man, for Thou art my God and my strength. Send forth thy light and thy truth: they have conducted me, and brought me unto thy holy hill, and into thy tabernacles. (Ps. XLII. 1. 3.) …..
PETITION When Thine enemies calumniated Thee, most meek Jesus, Thou didst answer
them with tender words, and when they were about to stone Thee, Thou didst depart from
them, whilst we can scarcely bear a hard word, and far from yielding to our neighbor, defend
and avenge ourselves most passionately. Ah! pardon us our impatience, and grant us the grace
to bear patiently the wrongs done us, and when necessary, answer with gentleness for Thy
glory and the salvation of our neighbor.
Rev. Dom Prosper Guérange
The Liturgical Year
Everything around us urges us to mourn. The images of the saints, the very crucifix on our altar, are veiled from our sight. The Church is oppressed with grief. During the first four weeks of Lent, she compassionated her Jesus fasting in the desert; His coming sufferings and crucifixion and death are what now fill her with anguish. We read in to-day’s Gospel, that the Jews threaten to stone the Son of God as a blasphemer: but His hour is not yet come. He is obliged to flee and hide Himself. It is to express this deep humiliation, that the Church veils the cross. A God hiding Himself, that He may evade the anger of men - what a mystery! Is it weakness? Is it, that He fears death? No; we shall soon see Him going out to meet His enemies: but at present He hides Himself from them, because all that had been prophesied regarding Him has not been fulfilled. Besides, His death is not to be by stoning: He is to die upon a cross, the tree of malediction, which, from that time forward, is to be the tree of life. Let us humble ourselves, as we see the Creator of heaven and earth thus obliged to hide Himself from men, who are bent on His destruction! Let us go back, in thought, to the sad day of the first sin, when Adam and Eve bid themselves because a guilty conscience told them they were naked. Jesus has come to assure us of our being pardoned, and lo! He hides Himself, not because He is naked - He that is to the saints the garb of holiness and immortality - but because He made Himself weak, that He might make us strong. Our first parents sought to hide themselves from the sight of God; Jesus hides Himself from the eye of men. But it will not be thus for ever. The day will come when sinners, from whose anger He now flees, will pray to the mountains to fall on them and shield them from His gaze; but their prayer will not be granted, and they shall see the Son of Man coming in the clouds of heaven, with much power and majesty [St. Matt. xxiv. 30].
This Sunday is called Passion Sunday, because the Church begins, on this day, to make the sufferings of our Redeemer her chief thought. It is called also, Judica, from the first word of the Introit of the Mass; and again Neomania, that is, the Sunday of the new (or the Easter) moon, because it always falls after the new moon which regulates the feast of Easter.
Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, O.C.D.
Presence of God
O Jesus, help me to enter into the mystery of Your Passion; deign to associate me with it, so that I may participate in Your Resurrection.
1. Today Passiontide begins, a time especially consecrated to the remembrance and loving contemplation of the sorrows of Jesus. The veiled crucifix and statues, the absence of the Gloria in the Mass and the Gloria Patriresponsories of the Divine Office, the suppression of the psalm Judica me at the beginning of Mass -- are all signs of mourning by which the Church commemorates Our Lord's Passion. Pope St Leo exhorts us to participate "in the Cross of Christ, in order that we also may do something which will unite us to what He has done for us, for as the Apostle says, 'if we suffer with Him, we shall be glorified with Him.'" Therefore, we must not only meditate on Jesus' sufferings, but also take part in them; only by bearing His Passion in our heart and in our body (cf. 2 Cor 4,10) shall we be able to share in its fruits. So it is that in the liturgy of this season the Church repeats more insistently than ever: "If you hear the voice of the Lord, harden not your hearts." The voice of the Lord makes itself hear these days, not by words, but by the eloquent testimony of deeds, by the great events of the Passion -- a mystery which gives us the most convincing proof of His infinite love for us. Let us, therefore, open our heart to the sublime lessons of the Passion: let us see how much Jesus has loved us and how much we ought to love Him in return; let us learn that, if we wish to follow Him, we, too, must suffer and bear the Cross with Him and after Him. At the same time, let us open our heart to a lively hope; for our salvation is in the Passion of Jesus. In today's Epistle (Heb 9,11-15) St Paul presents to us the majestic figure of Christ, the Eternal High Priest, who "by His Blood, entered once into the holies, [that is, heaven] having obtained eternal redemption." The Passion of Jesus has redeemed us; it has opened once again our Father's house to us; it is then the motive for our hope.
2. The Gospel (Jn 8,46-59) narrates an instance of the pressing hostility of the Jews, an evident prelude to the Passion of Jesus. In their hardened hearts they had absolutely refused to acknowledge the mission of the Saviour; as a result, they schemed in a thousand ways to oppose His teachings and to belittle Him before the people by declaring Him a liar and one possessed by the devil. Their animosity had increased to the point where they decided to stone Him: "They took up stones therefore to cast at Him." Jesus' death was already decreed by the Jews, but the hour fixed by His Father had not yet come, so "Jesus hid Himself, and went out of the Temple."
This passage in the Gospel allows us to consider the conduct of Jesus in the presence of His persecutors: we see zeal for their souls, meekness, personal disinteredeness, and total abandonment to God. St Gregory the Great wrote: "Consider, beloved brethren, the meekness of the Lord. He, who had come to remit sins, said, 'Which of you will convince Me of sin?' He, who by virtue of His divinity, could justify sinners, does not disdain to prove by reasoning that He is not a sinner."
The calumnies continued: "Thou art a Samaritan and hast a devil." The divine Master answered, always with meekness, only what was necessary to testify to the truth: "I have not a devil, but I honour My Father, and you have dishonoured Me." Then He placed His reputation and His cause in the hands of God. "I seek not My own glory; there is One that seeketh and judgeth." In the meantime, throughout all the discussions, He did not cease to instruct and to enlighten minds, attempting to draw them away from error. Always forgetful of Himself, He though only of the good of souls. It was precisely in these painful circumstances that Jesus gave us precious instruction: "He that is of God, heareth the words of God…. If any man keep My word, he shall not see death forever." Let us gather these lessons from the lips of our persecuted Master, and keep them in our heart with a jealous care. In our day, too, the world is filled with His enemies, those who oppose His doctrine and despise His Passion. Let us, at least, believe in Him and be His faithful friends.
"Praise be to You, O most merciful God, who willed to redeem us and restore us by the Passion, the sufferings, the scorn, and the poverty of Your Son, when we were wretched outcasts and condemned prisoners. I run to Your Cross, O Christ -- to suffering, scorn, and poverty; with all my strength I desire to be transformed in You, O suffering God-Man, who loved me so much that You endured a horrible, shameful death for the sole purpose of saving me, and to give me an example, so that I would be able to endure adversity for love of You. It is the perfection and true proof of love to conform myself to You, O Crucified One, who for my sins willed to undergo a cruel death, delivering Yourself entirely to tortures, as a victim. O my suffering God, only by reading the book of Your life and death shall I be able to know You and to penetrate Your mystery. Grant me, then, a profound spirit of pray, a pious, humble, attentive prayer, springing not only from my lips, but also from my heart and soul, so that I shall be able to understand the lessons of Your Passion!
"In this book, I see Your infinite goodness and mercy, which made You take upon Yourself our condemnation, our scorn, our sufferings, rather than leave us in such a wretched state. I see the unlimited bounty, the care, the diligence You showed to save us and lead us back to the heavenly kingdom. I see the infinite wisdom by which You redeemed us, saved us, and glorified us in an ineffable manner, through Your mercy, without harming Your justice. While You died a painful death, You vivified everything and destroyed that death common to us all.
"Yet more, in the book of Your Cross I see Your infinite meekness, by which, although being cursed, You did not curse nor avenge Yourself, but on the contrary, You pardoned and won heaven for the very ones who were crucifying You" (St Angela of Foligno).
I’m joining Melody and sharing some joy.
I’m giving away 2 custom tile necklaces. You can choose your own saint picture, phrase, or photo. I will take your inspiration item and design the tile.
The tile necklace will make a great gift for Easter, First Communion or any other special occasion.
The giveaway will be closed on Wednesday, April 13 at 2pm PST. This will give me enough time to create your special masterpiece and have it shipped to you in time for Easter.
To enter, leave a comment on this post. Tell me one fun fact about you that most people don’t know.
Here’s my fun fact: I had 2 at home - water births.
The winners will be randomly picked and announced on Wednesday evening.
"Keep the joy of loving God in your heart and share this joy with all you meet especially your family. Be holy – let us pray." ~ Bl. Mother Teresa of Calcutta
Thank you all who joined up with Team ALL FOR! to help out the Desert Nuns.
Team ALL FOR! raised approximately $500 for the Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration of Our Lady of Solitude Monastery in Phoenix Arizona. We had members participating from 10 states - California, Alabama, Michigan, Ohio, Oregon, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and Mississippi!
The prizes have been shipped to the winners!
A huge thank you again to our sponsors who walk the talk of generosity and have done so much to make this such a fun and successful event. Check them out!
Thanks again for all that you have done for the nuns through this event. All glory and honor to Jesus through Mary! ALL FOR!
I created a list of 32 things to do before I turned 33. It served as a great reminder of my heart’s desires. Praise God, I completed over 80% of the items on my list.
This year’s list is simple and focused on finding Jesus in those that are placed before me.
All for Jesus through Mary!
"Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin." ~ Bl. Mother Teresa of Calcutta
I coordinated a home study for my April Little Flowers meeting. I had a recollection on First Saturday and was not available for the LF meeting. Moms and I decided to forgo any rescheduling efforts due to Lent.
I provided each family with digital copies of this month’s lesson. Below are links to the handouts. I left it up to the mom’s to create their own craft and lesson for the virtue of truthfulness.
St. Bridget of Sweden
Traditional ~ October 8 – New ~ July 23
Bridget was born in Sweden of noble and pious parents, and led a most holy life. While she was yet unborn, her mother was saved from shipwreck for her sake. At ten years of age, Bridget heard a sermon on the Passion of our Lord; and the next night she saw Jesus on the cross, covered with fresh blood, and speaking to her about his Passion. Thenceforward meditation on that subject affected her to such a degree, that she could never think of our Lord's sufferings without tears.
She was given in marriage to Ulfo prince of Nericia; and won him, by example and persuasion, to a life of piety. She devoted herself with maternal love to the education of her children. She was most zealous in serving the poor, especially the sick; and set apart a house for their reception, where she would often wash and kiss their feet. Together with her husband, she went on pilgrimage to Compostella, to visit the tomb of the apostle St. James. On their return journey, Ulfo fell dangerously ill at Arras; but St. Dionysius, appearing to Bridget at night, foretold the restoration of her husband's health, and other future events.
Ulfo became a Cistercian monk, but died soon afterwards. Whereupon Bridget, having heard the voice of Christ calling her in a dream, embraced a more austere manner of life. Many secrets were then revealed to her by God. She founded the monastery of Vadstena under the rule of our Savior, which was given her by our Lord himself. At his command, she went to Rome, where she kindled the love of God in very many hearts. She made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem; but on her return to Rome she was attacked by fever, and suffered severely from sickness during a whole year. On the day she had foretold, she passed to heaven, laden with merits. Her body was translated to her monastery of Vadstena; and becoming illustrious for miracles, she was enrolled among the saints by Boniface IX.
Excerpted from The Liturgical Year, Abbot Gueranger O.S.B.
"Habits are grey, while heads are coifed in black with a white linen crown and five ruby-red spots. These are to remind us of Christ's crown of thorns and his five wounds, which Birgitta witnessed as a child." ~ The Bidgettine sisters of Vadstena's
Symbols: Pilgrim's staff, bottle and wallet; open book and dove; crosier, lute and chain; taper; heart charged with cross; book; head and cross; pilgrim's staff; shell.
Often Portrayed As: Abbess in Bridgettine robes with a cross on her forehead, and holding a book and pilgrim's staff; nun enthroned, with Christ above her and hell below, while she gives books to the emperor and kings; nun giving a book to Saint Augustine; nun in ecstasy before the crucifix with instruments of the Passion nearby; nun reading, holding a cross, with builders in the background; nun with a cross on her brow witnessing the Birth of Christ (one of her visions); nun with shells (a sign of pilgrimage), sewn on her habit; nun writing with a pilgrim's equipage nearby; nun writing with an angel hovering over her shoulder, often whispering in her ear; nun writing with Christ and the Virgin appearing before her; small child at the Scourging of Christ (one of her visions). ~ Catholic Culture
You must be on your guard against this desire to please, for it might easily lead you into various kinds of untruthfulness in your speech and actions. ~ Father Lasance Catholic Girls Guide
…St. Augustine had an equal horror of slander; so great indeed was his aversion to it that he caused this inscription to be placed above his dinner table: "There is no room at this table lor
those who intend to speak evil of their neighbors." Upon one occasion certain guests forgot to observe this rule of the house, and began to discuss some absent persons in too free a manner. The saint promptly remarked: "Either this inscription must be taken down, or else you must put an end to such conversation; if you do not heed my admonition I shall have to leave the room!" ~ Father Lasance Catholic Girls Guide
Handouts: (in order)
- Truthfulness Divider Sheet (print on orange paper)
- Truthfulness Activity Sheet
- St. Bridget of Sweden Coloring Page - Curmudgeonry
- St. Bridget of Sweden Bio for Kids – Holy Spirit Interactive
- Truthfulness Memory Verse
- St. Bridget - Truthfulness Info
- St. Bridget of Sweden - Women for Faith & Family
- St. Bridget: A Unique Model Of Feminine Holiness
- St. Bridget of Sweden Resource Set – That Resource Site
- The Birgittine (or Bridgettine) Nuns - the order founded by St. Bridget
- Fifteen Prayers to St. Bridget of Sweden – Catholic Culture
- St. Bridget's Revelations to the Popes
- The Truth Will Set You Free – Audio Sermon
- On Truth – EWTN This homily is the first in a series of three homilies (taken from the Catechism of the Catholic Church) on “truth.”
St. Bridget of Sweden, ora pro nobis
Rejoice, O Jerusalem: and come together all you that love her: rejoice with joy, you that have been in sorrow: that you may exult, and be filled from the breasts of your consolation.
FOURTH SUNDAY IN LENT
DOUBLE, FIRST CLASS / ROSE or PURPLE
Lent is half over, and Easter is enticingly near. This Sunday is a foretaste of Easter joy. Knowing the ebb and flow on intensity even in our best efforts, God deals with us tenderly in rhythms of consolation and desolation. So today, the thoughts of freedom and joy come in the middle of Lent. But the joy does more than cushion our failing energies and needle our lagging spirits. It is a positive, meaningful joy, born of our fruitful life in Christ and of our sweet freedom as His purchased children. The Eucharistic banquet of heavenly Bread, foreshadowed by the multiplied loaves and fishes and become now the Bread of Life for the whole Christian world, adds to our Lætare joy the quiet gladness of every festive meal.
This Sunday, called, from the first word of the Introit, Lætare Sunday, is one of the most solemn of the year. The Church interrupts her Lenten mournfulness; the chants of the Mass speak of nothing but joy and consolation; the Organ, which has been silent during the preceding three Sundays, now gives forth its melodious voice; the Deacon resumes his Dalmatic, and the Subdeacon his Tunic; and instead of purple, Rose-coloured Vestments are allowed to be used. These same rites were practised in Advent, on the third Sunday, called Gaudete. The Church’s motive for introducing this expression of joy in to-day’s Liturgy, is to encourage her Children to persevere fervently to the end of this holy Season. The real Mid-Lent was last Thursday, as we have already observed; but the Church, fearing lest the joy might lead to some infringement on the spirit of penance, has deferred her own notice of it to this Sunday, when she not only permits, but even bids, her children to rejoice! ~ The Liturgical Year, by Dom Prosper Guéranger
The Multiplication of the Loaves
Fourth Sunday of Lent
Presence of God
O Jesus, true Bread of eternal life, appease my hunger.
1. Today there is a pause of holy joy and spiritual comfort which the Church, like a good mother, gives us in the middle of the Lenten austerity so that we may renew our strength. "Rejoice, O Jerusalem", the Introit of today's Mass sings, "and all you who love her, leap with joy and be filled with the abundance of her delights". What are these delights? The Gospel (Jn 6, 1-15) answers the question by the narrative of the multiplication of the loaves, the great miracle by which Jesus meant to prepare the people for the announcement of a much more startling miracle, the institution of the Holy Eucharist, in which He, the Master, would become our Bread, the "living Bread which came down from Heaven" (ibid 6,41) to nourish our souls. This is the cause of our joy, the source of our delight. Jesus is the Bread of life, always at our disposal to appease our hunger.
Although Jesus appreciates spiritual values much better than we, He does not forget or despise the material necessities of life. Today’s Gospel shows Him surrounded by the crowd which had followed Him to hear His teachings. Jesus thinks of their hunger, and to provide for it, performs one of His most outstanding miracles. With His blessing, five loaves of bread and two fishes suffice to feed five thousand people, with twelve basketfuls left over.
Jesus knows that when a person is tormented by hunger or material needs, he is unable to apply himself to the things of the spirit. Charity likewise requires of us this understanding of the bodily necessities of others, a practical understanding which translates itself into efficacious action. "If a brother or sister be naked and want daily food, and one of you say to them, ‘Go in peace’ …yet give them not these things that are necessary for the body, what shill it profit?" (Jas 2, 15.16).
The Apostles had suggested to the Master that He dismiss the crowd "that whey buy themselves victuals" (Mt 14,15). Jesus did not agree but provided for them Himself. We, too, must strive, as far as we are able, to show ourselves solicitous for the needs of others.
2. Before performing this miracle, Jesus asked Philip, "Whence shall we buy bread wherewith to feed these people?" And the Evangelist observes, "He said that to try him, for He knew what He was about to do." There is no difficulty in our lives for which God does not know the solution. From all eternity He has foreseen it and has the remedy in each case, no matter how complicated the situation may be. However, sometimes in difficult circumstances He seems to leave us alone as if the outcome were to depend on us, but He does this only to test us. He wants us to measure our strength against the difficulty – which makes us more aware of our weakness and insufficiency – and He wants us also to exercise our faith and our confidence in Him. The Lord never really abandons us unless we forsake Him first. He only hides Himself and covers His actions with a dark veil. This is the time to believe, to believe firmly, and to wait with humble patience and complete confidence.
The Apostles tell Jesus that a young boy has five loaves and two fishes, that this is very little, in fact, nothing at all for feeding five thousand men. But the Lord asks for this nothing and uses it to accomplish a great miracle. It is always thus: the all-powerful God, who can do everything and create from nothing, when dealing with His free creatures, will not act without their help. Man can do but very little; yet God wants, asks for, and requires this little as a condition of His intervention. Only the Lord can make us saints, as only He could multiply the small supplies of the young boy; still he asks for our help. Like the boy in the Gospel, we too must give Him everything in our power; we must offer Him each day our good resolutions, renewed faithfully and lovingly, and He will bring about a great miracle for us also, the miracle of our sanctification.
"Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, who, on the Cross, with Your arms extended for the redemption of all men, drank the chalice of unspeakable sorrows, deign to help me today. Poor am I, but I come to You who are rich; in my wretchedness I present myself to You, the All-merciful. Ah! Grant that I may not leave You, empty and deceived. I come to You hungry; do not let me go away fasting. Weak, I approach You; do not turn me away unstrengthened! And, if I sigh with hunger, grant me the grace to be nourished" (St Augustine).
Yes, I hunger for You, true Bread, living Bread, Bread of life. You know what my hunger is – hunger of the soul, hunger of the body – and You will to provide for the one as well as for the other. By Your teaching, by Your Body and Blood, You strengthen my spirit; You strengthen it abundantly, withholding nothing, except what I myself keep by the coldness of my love, the smallness of my heart. You have set a rich and abundant table for me, beyond anything imaginable, which I have only to approach in order to be fed. You not only welcome me, but You Yourself become my food and drink when You give Yourself wholly to me, wholly in Your divinity, wholly in Your humanity.
In Your infinite goodness, You have even set a table for my body, and Your Providence feeds it, clothes it, and maintains it in life like the lilies of the field and the birds of the air. You know my needs, my pains, my preoccupation with the past, the present, and the future; and You provide for everything with a paternal love. O Lord, why do I not confide in You, why do I not cast all my cares on You, my life to You, the life of my body, my earthly life with all its needs and labours, as well as the life of my soul with all its necessities, its pains, its hunger for the infinite. Only You can fill up the emptiness in my heart, only You can make me happy. You alone can bring about my ideal of sanctity – union with You.
Instruction on Preparation for Easter
Now the Pasch the festival day of the Jews, was near at hand. (John VI. 4.)
If we would sing a joyful Alleluia with the Church on the festival of Easter, we must fulfill her desire, and prepare ourselves to celebrate it worthily. Therefore, we should shun improper, clamorous meetings, and retire often to pray in solitude, especially to meditate on the bitter sufferings of our Saviour, for when man is alone, God speaks to his heart. (Osee. II. 14.) We should carefully examine our conscience, and consider how we stand before God, for upon this day shall be the expiation for you, and the cleansing from all your sins: you shall be cleansed before the Lord; for it is a Sabbath of rest, and you shall afflict your souls, that is, by fasting, watching, and praying. (Lev. XVI. 30-31.) From this Sunday until Easter we should fast more strictly, give more alms to the poor if we are able, or if poor ourselves, bear our poverty more patiently, offering it to Christ in union with His poverty, His hunger, thirst, &c. ; we should make a sincere and contrite confession, and purify our heart from the old leaven of iniquity, that we may keep the Easter meal with Christ in the unleavened bread of purity and truth. (I Cor. V. 7. 8.) For this end we should incite ourselves to holy desires, rise from sin, which is the death of the soul. ~ Rev. Fr. Leonard Goffine's, The Church's Year: FOURTH SUNDAY IN LENT (LAETARE)