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Category Archives: Lent

Friday in the Third Week of Lent – a prayer

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PRAYER

I offer you, Lord, my time, this gift of the fullness of life in time that I now experience in being united to you.  Help me to redeem time for others.  Help me to unburden their load of stress.  By your grace let me be an instrument of your call to freedom and creativity in the lives of all whom you redeem.  Let them hear your call to the only liberty that matters: to choose to follow you. ~ Thomas Merton

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A Lenten Prayer

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Awaken all of us who gather in your name, Lord, to the power of your death and rising from the dead.  Allow us to rise from the sleep of our daily cares to the glory of your transfiguration, the light of your Father shining in you for us.  Allow us to see how gathering in your name is to experience paradise.

Contemplation

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DAY 22

Wednesday in the Third Week of Lent

UNION WITH CHRIST, UNION WITH THE CHURCH

The liturgy is, as the Fathers taught, a work of the active life.  It prepares us for contemplation, which is the final perfection of Christian personalism, since it is the intimate realization of one’s perfect union with Christ “in one Spirit.”  The highest paradox of Christian personalism is for an individual to be “found in Christ Jesus” and thus “lost” to all that can be regarded, in a mundane way, as his “self.”  This means to be at the same time one’s self and Christ.  But this is not to be ascribed solely to personal initiative, “private prayer” or individual effort.  Contemplation is a gift of God, given in and through His Church, and through the prayer of the Church.  St. Anthony was led into the desert not by a private voice but by the word of God, proclaimed in the Church of his Egyptian village in the chanting of the Gospel in Coptic–a classical example of liturgy opening the way to a life of contemplation!  But the liturgy cannot fulfill this function if we misunderstand or underestimate the essentially spiritual value of Christian public prayer.  If we cling to immature and limited notions of  “privacy,” we will never be able to free ourselves from the bonds of individualism.  We will never realize how the Church delivers us from ourselves by public worship, the very public character of which tends to hide us “in the secret of God’s face.”

THOMAS MERTON, SEASONS OF CELEBRATION, 26-27

The Season of Lent

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The Paschal Mystery is above all the mystery of life in which the Church, by celebrating the death and resurrection of Christ, enters into the Kingdom of Life which He has established once for all by His definitive victory over sin and death.  We must remember the original meaning of Lent, as the ver sacrum, the Church’s “holy spring” in which the catechumens were prepared for their baptism, and public penitents were made ready by penance for their restoration to the sacramental life in a communion with the rest of the Church.  Lent is then not a season of punishment so much as one of healing.

THOMAS MERTON, SEASONS OF CELEBRATION, 113

Tuesday in the Third Week of Lent

BECOMING A MATURE CHRISTIAN

We must be able to put aside the “economic” concern with our superficial selves, and emerge into the open light of the Christian polis where each one lives not for himself but for others, taking upon himself the responsibility for the whole.  Of course no one assumes this responsibility merely in obedience to arbitrary whim or to the delusion that he is of himself capable of taking the troubles of the whole Assembly on his own shoulders.  But he emerges “in Christ” to share the labor and worship of the whole Christ, and in order to do this he must sacrifice his own superficial and private self.  The paradoxical fruit of this sacrifice of his trivial and “selfish” (or simply immature) self is that he is then enabled to discover his deep self, in Christ.

THOMAS MERTON, SEASONS OF CELEBRATION, 25