Know that God wants you to experience the joy of Easter in your life. Let Him fill you with hope and with the joy that only the Resurrection can bring. God wants Easter to begin now in our lives! Lord, help me to cling to You in Your Resurrection. Help me to let you transform every cross and burden in my life into joy. Lord, may Your joy fill my life and be my strength in all things.
We are so familiar with the image of the crucifix, that we may not actually think more deeply about what it is about - what Jesus actually did for us. His final words on the cross "It is finished" refers to the perfect sacrifice which takes away the sins of all who accept Jesus into their lives and ask for forgiveness and mercy.
Let this completed act of Divine Mercy penetrate our souls. We commemorate Jesus' death today. He longs for us to accept His love, His mercy, His sacrifice and to love as He did and continues to do.
PRAY WITH ME
Jesus asked His apostles to stay awake and pray with Him for just one hour before His impending arrest, but they fell asleep. He therefore suffered the agony of what He was about to suffer without the support of His friends, who also abandoned Him out of fear soon afterwards.
This evening, allow ourselves some time to meditate and pray with Jesus. Consider the persecutions and suffering and death He endured for us - to save us from our sins. His complete and perfect love and mercy for us is worth thinking about! Jesus does save!
HOLY (MAUNDY) THURSDAY
Jesus shows us the need to be humble, compassionate and loving by first of all, giving us the most immense gift from God, which IS God - the Eucharist, and then washing the feet of His disciples. His call to us is that we must continue to share in the Eucharist and we must also allow Him to wash our feet - meaning that we should turn to Him for our salvation. He asks us too, for our own humility and compassion by serving others. As we enter the Triduum celebrations in this most important period of the Church's year, let us resolve to follow Jesus and to do as He asks - to love and serve God and to love all those around us.
Christ Jesus, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God something to be grasped. Rather, he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness; and found human in appearance, he humbled himself, becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Because of this, God greatly exalted him and bestowed on him the name which is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, of those 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. (Philippians 2:6-11)
FIFTH SUNDAY IN LENT
In today's Gospel, the people stood there with stones in hand waiting to start throwing. But then the elders began to walk away. This is age and wisdom at work. They were less controlled by the emotion of the situation and were immediately aware of the wisdom of the words spoken by our Lord. As a result, the others followed.
Reflect, today, upon the wisdom that comes with age. If you are older, reflect upon your responsibility to help guide the younger generation with clarity, firmness and love. If you are younger, do not neglect to rely upon the wisdom of the older generation. Though age is not a perfect guarantee of wisdom, it may be a far more significant factor than you realize. Be open to your elders, show them respect, and learn from the experiences they have had in life.
FOURTH WEEK OF LENT
What a blessing it is for us to now that we can turn to God for love and mercy, because God loves us with an unconditional love.
Reflect, today upon our sinulness and Our Father as the One to whom we can confidently turn. The Father in Heaven will never reject us. No matter what we have done or how far we have turned away, the Father’s love is perfect, relentless, unconditional and always inviting. He is ready and willing to dismiss every wrong we have done if we only turn to Him in confidence. Come to our senses in regard to our sins! Let go of them, repent and trust in the mercy of God.
THIRD WEEK OF LENT
The parable of the 'fig tree' points out the need for us to repent and also reminds us of God's mercy through the sacrifice Jesus made for us on the cross. Are we aware of the work God desires to do in our soul so as to cultivate it and fertilize it with grace and mercy? Say “Yes” to Him this day and allow that grace to produce an abundance of good fruit.
Lord, I invite You into my soul to cultivate it and to fertilize it with Your grace. Please prune my sins and help me to sink my roots deeply into the nourishment of Your mercy. I am sorry for the ways that I have failed to bear fruit in my life. I now entrust myself to You so that Your care will remedy all my ills and weaknesses. Jesus, I trust in You.
Reflect on the glory of God that makes the crosses we endure all worth it. Take advantage of this experience of Peter, James and John and try to make their experience your own. Be consoled by God’s glory and never forget that this is the ultimate promise He gives to all who press on. Lord, may I be consoled by Your glory and splendour. May I believe in this glory and keep it ever in my mind as I press on through the hardships and challenges I face. You travel the road ahead of me and You will lead me on my journey if I only trust in You. Jesus, I do trust in You!
THOUGHT FOR TODAY
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you…” “How much more will your heavenly Father give good things to those who ask him.” (Matthew 7: 7&11)
Jesus is very clear that when we ask, we will receive, when we seek, we will find, and when we knock, the door will be opened to you. But is that your experience? Sometimes we can ask, and ask, and beg, and it appears that our prayer goes unanswered, at least in the way we want it to be answered. Ideally, every prayer of intercession we utter should be for the Lord’s will to be done, nothing more, and nothing less. Only His perfect will. That can be harder to pray for than one might first expect. Too often we tend to pray that “my will be done” rather than that “Thy will be done.”
Reflect, today, upon the way you pray. Try to change your prayer so that it seeks the good things God wants to bestow rather than the many things you want God to bestow. It may be hard at first to detach from your own ideas and your own will, but in the end, you will be blessed with many good things from God.
Lord, I do pray that Your will be done in all things. I desire to surrender to You above all, and to trust in Your perfect plan. Help me, dear Lord, to abandon my own ideas and desires, and to seek Your will always. Jesus, I trust in You.
THOUGHT FOR TODAY
Reflect, today, upon the dignity of each and every person. Try to call to mind anyone you may fail to look at with perfect respect. Who is it you look down upon and roll your eyes at? Who is it you judge or disdain? It is within this person, more than any other, that Jesus waits for you. He waits to meet you and to have you love Him in the weak and the sinner. Reflect upon their dignity. Identify the person who fits this description the most in your life and commit yourself to love and serve them. For in them you will love and serve our Lord.
PRAYER FOR A FRUITFUL LENT
My precious and crucified Lord, I offer You this Lent.
I offer it to You with total abandonment and trust.
I offer You my prayers, sacrifices and my very life this day.
Do with me, Lord, as You will.
I pray that this Lent will be fruitful.
I know You have much to say to me and much to do in my life.
May this Lent be a time through which Your mercy is poured in abundance into my soul,
and into the souls of all Your faithful.
Dearest Lord, help me to especially see my sin, this Lent.
Humble me so that I may see clearly.
Give me courage and strength to confess my sins,
and to turn from them with all my heart.
Enlighten me with Your Holy Word, dear Lord.
Help me to come to know You and to deepen the gift of faith in my life.
Show me the plan You have for me,
and place my feet upon the path You have chosen.
Lord, I thank You for the fullness of Your perfect Sacrifice.
I thank You for holding nothing back,
giving Your life to the last drop of blood.
May I offer You my very life as a sacrifice,
trusting in Your mercy with every offering.
Keep me faithful to my Lenten promises,
and bring forth new life through these sacrifices of love.
Strengthen my prayer and make me holy.
Help me to turn to You, each day,
seeking Your sacred and pierced Heart.
Blessed Mother, you stood by your Son in His suffering and death,
stand by me, I pray, as I journey through this life.
Pray for me and offer me to Your Son,
that He may take me into His loving embrace.
Lord, Jesus, Son of the Living God,
have mercy on me a sinner.
Mother Mary, Mother of our Crucified Lord,
pray for us who have recourse to thee.
ASH WEDNESDAY AND LENT - WHAT IS IT?
The blessing of the ashes and the significance of the day: The priest dipping his thumb into ashes (collected from burnt palms of the previous year’s Palm Sunday), marks the forehead of each with the sign of the cross, saying the words, "Remember that you are dust and to dust you will return" or “Repent and believe in the Gospel.” By marking the sign of the cross with ashes on the foreheads of her children, the Church gives us:
a firm conviction that a) we are mortal beings, b) our bodies will become dust when buried and ashes if cremated, and c) our life-span is very brief and unpredictable;
a strong warning that we will be eternally punished if we do not repent of our sins and do penance; and
a loving invitation to realize and acknowledge our sinful condition and return to our loving and forgiving God with true repentance as the prodigal son did.
On Ash Wednesday, we are invited to effect a real conversion and renewal of life during the period of Lent by fasting, penance, and reconciliation.
“There is joy in the salutary fasting and abstinence of Christians who eat and drink less in order that their minds may be clearer and more receptive to receive the sacred nourishment of God's word, which the whole Church announces and meditates upon in each day's liturgy throughout Lent” (Thomas Merton).
Penance and Reconciliation
Lent is a time for forgivenessand reconciliation. It is the model given by Jesus. It was his teaching: “If any one wishes to follow me, let him deny himself, take up his cross and follow me” and “Try to enter through the narrow gate.” Penance removes the weakness left by sin in our souls and it makes our prayers more fruitful. By receiving the ashes, we confess that we are sinners in need of the mercy of God, and we ask forgiveness for the various ways in which we have hurt our brothers and sisters. Let us allow the spirit of forgiveness to work its healing influence in our parishes and families.
This year the Parish Pastoral Council (PPC) are looking for fundraising suggestions for our three charities. It may be:
A sponsored walk or event
A coffee morning or a soup lunch
A cookery demonstration
A Bring and Buy Sale
And a myriad of ideas...we need suggestions…please have a think what you/we/us could do….
Ideas and suggestions please contact Hilary Webb 01235 525928 or Debbie Brooks 01865432423
THRIVE part of the Innovista Christian Charity, has been working with young people in South Abingdon since 2016, helping them bounce back from the obstacles that they face in their community. Thrive focuses on bringing hope and lasting change to the youth, giving them skills and resilience. There are currently two Youth Workers, an intern and 20 volunteers (one from our Parish) who are all Christian.
BE FREE YOUNG CARERS is a local charity, dedicated to the care and support of young carers; young people aged between 8 and 18 who have to devote a proportion of their lives to caring for a family member. Currently in Abingdon, 90 young carers are supported and another 90+ who attend schools in Abingdon.
EMMAUS gives homeless people accommodation, support and meaningful work. Emmaus Oxford runs a small community which houses 28 people who have been homeless. These members are called Companions who volunteer for 30 hours weekly, mostly within the social enterprise, a shop which specialises in selling second hand furniture and white goods. Donations from Our Lady and St Edmund’s will go directly to helping homeless people have somewhere to live and work whilst they turn their lives around.
During the Lent season which begins on Wednesday 6th March, we plan to initiate various fundraising activities and feel sure that the whole parish will enter wholeheartedly into fundraising and almsgiving. More information will follow as we near Lent.