Malankara World Journal
Malankara World Journal

Volume 2 No. 56 February 18, 2012
Special Edition: Great Lent Week 1

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Great Lent
WEEK ONE

Parce, Domine, parce populo tuo;  ne in aeternum irascaris nobis

"Spare your people Lord: Be not angry Lord with your people forever."

Table of Contents
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1. Editor's Note

2. Inspiration for Today

"Be still an experience the presence of God."

3. Walking with God by HH Moran Mor Zakha I Iwas, Patriarch of Antioch and All The East

The Holy Lent is a golden opportunity and a precious occasion we may seize to renew our promises to God and walk with Him during this period and in all the days of our lives. Let Him be our God and we His people ...

4. God Alone Satisfies by Fr. Daren J. Zehnle

The voice of God came through the figure of the Crucified Christ, saying to St. Thomas Aquinas: "You have written well of me, Thomas. What would you have?"

St. Thomas Aquinas could choose whatever he wanted, whatever he desired. Would he ask for wealth or fame or power? Would he ask for love or athletic skill or simple pleasures? He could ask for anything; what would he ask of the Lord?

He answered the Savior with these words: "Nil nisi te, Domine, nil nisi te." Only you, Lord, only you. ....

5. Lenten Reflections (Week 1)

6. Daily Meditations and Bible Reading for each day:

7. More Resources

8. Holy Lent Infocenter in Malankara World

9. About Malankara World

Editor's Note
This is the first of the weekly specials for the Great Lent presented by Malankara World. Through these editions, we will provide you the spiritual resources you need during the lent. There are meditation aids, bible readings, and even a 50-day Gospel Reading Plan developed by the Youth of Malankara Archdiocese of the Syriac Orthodox Church in North America that will enable you to read all the Gospels in 50 days - during the lent. We hope that you will take advantage of these resources to make the Holy Lent more meaningful this year. We strongly recommend that you read the article "God Alone Satisfies" - the story of St. Thomas Aquinas. More resources are available in Malankara World Special Supplement for the Great Lent at:

http://www.MalankaraWorld.com/Library/Lent/Default.htm

Inspiration for Today
"Be still an experience the presence of God." Lent allows us to do it.

"We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature - trees, flowers, grass- grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence... We need silence to be able to touch souls." - Mother Teresa

“The frenetic activity of modern life with all its pressures makes it indispensable that Christians seek prayerful silence and contemplation as both conditions for and expressions of a vibrant faith. When God is no longer at the center of human life, then life itself becomes empty and meaningless…Jesus himself often “went off to a lonely place and prayed there…” Jesus’ prayer is our example, especially when we are caught up in the tensions and responsibilities of daily life.”
(Pope John Paul II, Ecclesia in Oceania, no. 37.)

Walking With God

by HH Moran Mor Zakha I Iwas, Patriarch of Antioch and All The East
Supreme Head of the Universal Syrian Orthodox Church

Enoch walked faithfully with God, then he was no more because God took him away. (Genesis 5:24)

How happy are those who revere God and keep His commandments, those who walk in His straight ways. These are people who are blessed by a spiritual communion with God following the manner in which the first man was in the Paradise of Eden before his fall into sin. On the other hand, how desperate is the man when he is in the state of rebellion; he would be far from God, escaping from His holy face. He would be afraid to approach Him for this requires Harmony and symphony in righteousness and holiness with Him in thought, in word, and in deeds. Thus the Holy Bible teaches:

Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. (Hebrews 12:14)

With holiness, many elites of the Old Testament have satisfied God; they are called 'Children of God' and 'the good seed.'

Among them were their heralds which were called 'the Patriarchs' and were simultaneously the leaders of the people and their prelates. They guided the people towards good deeds and charity while prohibiting evil. They honestly reported the Divine Revelation and the predecessor would hand to his successor the divine covenants and the true prophecies about the advent of the Messiah.

"They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, and they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth." (Hebrews 11:13)

Famous among those forefathers was Enoch who did not experience death  because God took him alive. .. Read the complete Encyclical for the Holy Lent-2012 in Malankara World. http://www.MalankaraWorld.com/Library/Lent/Apostolic_Bull_Great_Lent_2012.pdf
God Alone Satisfies

by Fr. Daren J. Zehnle

The desire for food and drink is perhaps the greatest desire about which we think most. It is certainly the one felt most physically and the one toward which we often put the greatest amount of effort toward satisfying.

It is this desire for food and drink that led the Israelites to grumble against Moses and Aaron (cf. Exodus 16:2). It is this same hunger and thirst that led the crowds to follow Jesus (cf. John 6:24).

Even so, there is something more happening in these passages than a simple physical hunger and thirst, for we use this desire for food and drink as a metaphor for other desires. We speak of a person’s thirst for power or of a hunger for wealth. Jesus, too, spoke in this way about "those who hunger and thirst for righteousness" (Matthew 5:6).

Hunger and thirst, then, can be said to encompass all of our desires, all of our passions. When the Israelites grumbled against Moses, when the crowds followed Jesus, they were not simply looking for earthly food; they sought, rather, the satisfaction of their deepest yearnings and longings, even if they did not quite recognize it. They sought that which truly satisfies (and it was not a Snickers bar).

We heard before that with the multiplication of the loaves and fish, everyone in the crowd "had eaten their fill" before the fragments leftover were collected (John 6:12). But this was not the purpose of this miracle; rather, Jesus intended to teach them something far more profound and important. If Jesus can satisfy their physical hunger so completely, how much more can he satisfy their spiritual hunger! It is of him that the Psalmist sings: "As the deer longs for flowing streams, so longs my soul for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God" (Psalm 42:1-2).

Toward the end of his life, Saint Thomas Aquinas, one of the greatest minds the Church has ever known, was writing a treatise on the Eucharist, struggling to complete it. In great frustration, the quiet man of God threw his text at the foot of a crucifix, asking the Lord what he thought of what he had written.

The voice of God came through the figure of the Crucified Christ, saying to him: "You have written well of me, Thomas. What would you have?"

Saint Thomas could choose whatever he wanted, whatever he desired. Would he ask for wealth or fame or power? Would he ask for love or athletic skill or simple pleasures? He could ask for anything; what would he ask of the Lord?

He answered the Savior with these words: "Nil nisi te, Domine, nil nisi te. Only you, Lord, only you."

The Angelic Doctor answered wisely and honestly. Saint Thomas "wanted nothing more than Christ, nothing other than Christ, nothing less than Christ." [1] He knew that, as he had written earlier in his life, "God alone satisfies."[2] I wonder, what would you or I ask of the Lord?

Here at this altar he gives himself to us, the bread "which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world" and those who eat his Body "will never hunger" (cf. John 6:33; John 6:35). How is it, then, that so many come here week after week and leave hungry each time? How is it possible to leave here with a heavy and empty heart?

The answer is simple: they do not recognize him; they do not adequately prepare themselves to receive him; and they do not believe that he wants to satisfy their every desire. What is more, they do not recognize in the Eucharist the very Body and Blood of our Lord.

For if we recognized his Real Presence among us in the Eucharist, who would arrive late to Mass or leave before the dismissal; who would not come to the Mass dressed appropriately and modestly; who would receive Holy Communion in a sloppy or hurried manner; who would hesitate to show their devotion and love and spend time in prayer to prepare themselves; who would fail to confess their sins and receive absolution?

Too many come here day after day never recognizing – or at least never admitting – their deep hunger and thirst for Christ! Because they do not know for what they long their hunger is not satisfied and their thirst is not quenched. Still hungering and thirsting they seek to satisfy their desires in the things of this world, and yet never do they find lasting satisfaction.

But to those who receive the Body and Blood of the Lord Jesus Christ in faith, who have prepared themselves well to receive him, he addresses his promise: "I am the bread of life: whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst" (John 6:35). In receiving him, they receive all they seek; they find in him lasting happiness, joy and peace. This Saint Thomas knew well and so he said, "God alone satisfies."

My dear brothers and sisters, the Lord wishes to satisfy the true desire of our heart, if we but come to him in faith. If the Lord asked us, as he asked Saint Thomas, "What would you have," what would we ask of him? Would we ask for the things of this world – those things that promise to satisfy us but never do - or would we say with Saint Thomas, "Nil nisi te, Domine; only you, Lord"?

References:

[1] Robert Barron, Thomas Aquinas: Spiritual Master (New York: The Crossroad Publishing Company, 1996, 2008), 12.

[2] Saint Thomas Aquinas, Expos. In symb apost, I. In Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1718.

Lenten Reflections (Week 1)
Lenten Reflection: Video - It took 40 days! -video
Highly Recommended.

Lenten Retreat Video - Day 1 - video
Experience the power of the lent spending 15-20 minutes a day on meditation and Gospel reading.

Lenten Reflection

Daily Meditations and Bible Reading:
More Resources

Sermons, Bible Commentaries and Bible Analyses for 1st Sunday in Great Lent (Wedding at Cana)

Great Lent Supplement in Malankara World

Water Turned into Good Wine at Cana: Spiritual Implications
Jesus converted the water in the cleansing Jars to good wine, proclaiming the reason for his incarnation, suffering, crucifixion and resurrection; which is the cleansing of all humanity from their sins. The old wine bottles are thrown away when you are a Christian.

The Wedding At Cana
The first miracle was something like creation itself; it was done by the power of "the Word." The world generally gives its best pleasures first; afterward come the dregs and the bitterness. But Christ reversed the order and gave us the feast after fast, the Resurrection after the Crucifixion, the joy of Easter Sunday after the sorrow of Good Friday.

Holy Lent Infocenter in Malankara World
Malankara World has an infocenter that is the nerve center for all information related to the Great Lent. Articles will be added every week. Please visit:
About Malankara World
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