Malankara World

Great Lent Today

Day 4 - First Thursday of Great Lent

Prayer

Lord,
Let everything I do this day and in this season of Lent
come from you, be inspired by you.

I long to be closer to you.
Help me to remember that nothing is important in my life
unless it glorifies you in some way.

It's so easy to get caught up in the day to day of my life and keep saying,
"Tomorrow, I will spend more time in prayer,"
but now my longing meets your love and I want to do it now.
Help me to rely on you for help.

The prayer asks you that I reach perfection.
Please, Lord, remind me that "perfection"
isn't the crazy, "successful" way I try to live my life,
but a perfection of my most authentic, real self.
My "perfection" might be holding my many flaws in my open hands,
asking you to help me accept them.

Heal me, Lord, and help me to find you in the darkness of my life.
Let me reach out in this darkness and feel your hand and love there to guide me.

May the Lord bless us,
protect us from all evil
and bring us to everlasting life.
Amen.

In His Steps - A Lenten Series

Today: The East: Home of the Wise Men

Intercessions

God has revealed himself in Christ. Let us praise his goodness, and ask him from our hearts:
Remember us, Lord, for we are your children.

Teach us to enter more deeply into the mystery of the Church,
- that it may be more effective for ourselves and for the world as the sacrament of salvation.

Lover of mankind, inspire us to work for human progress,
- seeking to spread your kingdom in all we do.

May our hearts thirst for Christ,
- the fountain of living water.

Forgive us our sins,
- and direct our steps into the ways of justice and sincerity.

Daily Reflection

by Bert Thelen, S.J., Jesuit Community

When we want to emphasize that something is very, very important, we say, "It's a matter of life or death!" And that's exactly what both of today's readings claim. The author of Deuteronomy, whom Jesus loved to quote, reminds us that salvation is a matter of choosing life over death at every step of our journey of faith. We will do this, he says, "by loving the Lord our God, heeding God's voice, and holding fast to God." Jesus takes this much deeper, much further. He says we must be willing to risk our lives, to put our lives on the line, and even to lose our lives if we are going to follow Him on the path to true and everlasting life. What a wonderful reminder with which to begin our Lenten journeys!

How we choose to observe Lent, seemingly a rather undramatic and personal matter, is actually of crucial importance not only for ourselves, but for everyone. It is important, I believe, that we take some time to examine our lives, noticing where lies our resistance to the call of Christ, and doing something, however insignificant, to break down any barriers we have placed in the way of Christ's desire to serve others in and through us. What exactly this will be is completely up to each one of us, but this, at least, can be said: it will move us away from what is self-serving, narrow, biased, and comfortable toward a life of compassion, concern, help, and dedication to others.

What does "losing our lives for the sake of Christ" really mean? How do we put such a command into practice? Each of us has to figure this out in the light of our faith, which is both a gift and a choice, a power and a commitment. This much we know for sure: we cannot remain where we are; we are always on the way, walking resolutely with Jesus toward Jerusalem. For us, it is the New Jerusalem, and so we walk with confidence and hope, knowing that Jesus both walks with us and goes before us. But it is still the way of the cross, summoning us out of our tiny, narrow, self-centered world into the much larger arena of salvation -- involving the whole human race, life for all, the life that is heavenly in its origin and its destination. We are called to die to what is secure and familiar. We are called to die to what is narrow and selfish. We are called to die to the tiny, false life of self preoccupation and self preservation.

The law of the cross is the royal road to a new and greater life -- which is joy and salvation for ourselves, who are only fulfilled by total love, and which is fuller life, greater justice, heavenly peace for all. Truly, when we respond to the summons to choose true life, we enter into the joy that no one can ever take away from us! "See how the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ has become the tree of everlasting life!"

Source: Creighton University's Online Ministries

Preface for Meditation
by Prince Mathew

Lenten season is a time whereby we may gain deeper insight into our deeper selves; it is a period whereby we cultivate the strength to know ourselves truly, to acquire honesty with ourselves, and to develop the courage to practice repentance as a means of constant transformation and purification of our innermost selves.

The purpose of fasting extends far beyond a superficial abstinence from certain foods; it is a discipline that has as its principle aim our overcoming of all worldly pursuits or material desires that divert our attention away from our spiritual communion with God. Its purpose is to strengthen our capacity to focus constantly and consciously upon God, to "seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness" (St. Matthew 6:33) before all else. By defining God as the chief priority in our lives, we restore to our minds a proper view of reality in which He is the One who ultimately sustains us with our every need.

In the very same way as Moses led his people, the Church leads Her children through the fifty-day sojourn of Great Lent. For it takes at least this long for many of the faithful to discard the vanity and the concerns of this world and to be transformed. In this transformation the faithful people of God become the newborn children from the secular wilderness who will be able to experience the joy of the Promised Land.

Increased prayer and fasting are encouraged by the Church during Great Lent as a means to purification and preparation. Both physical and spiritual purification are stressed so that the believer may feel prepared to experience a spectacular event, the event of the Lord's return. His Bride, the Church is always in anticipation of the glorious return of Her Bridegroom. Fasting and prayer, therefore, during this time of the year is not simply because it is Great Lent but because the Church is awaiting the return of Her Bridegroom.

Bible Reading:

Fifty-Day Gospel Planner
(Read all Gospels during the Great Lent)

Evening

Morning

Gospel Readings:

Matthew 7:1-27 (KJV)

1Judge not, that ye be not judged.

2For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.

3And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?

4Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?

5Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye.

6Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.

7Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:

8For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.

9Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone?

10Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent?

11If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?

12Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.

13Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:

14Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

15Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.

16Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?

17Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.

18A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.

19Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.

20Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.

21Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.

22Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?

23And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

24Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:

25And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.

26And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand:

27And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.

Bible Verse for the Day:

St. Matthew 7:7- "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you".

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