Come, O Holy Spirit:
enlighten my understanding
to know your commands;
strengthen my heart
against the wiles of the enemy; inflame my will...
I have heard your voice,
and I don't want to harden my heart to resisting,
by saying 'later... tomorrow.'
Nunc coepi! Now!
Lest there be no tomorrow for me!
O, Spirit of truth and wisdom,
Spirit of understanding and counsel,
Spirit of joy and peace!
I want what you want,
I want it because you want it,
I want it as you want it,
I want it when you want it.
- ST. JOSEMARIA
Stations of the Cross, Station II © Shrine of Our Lady of Torreciudad, Spain
“Lent invites us, through the traditional practices of the Christian life, to nourish our faith by careful and extended listening to the word of God and by receiving the sacraments, and at the same time to grow in charity and in love for God and neighbor, not least through the specific practices of fasting, penance and almsgiving (Message of His Holiness Benedict XVI for Lent 2013).”
"We are at the beginning of Lent: a time of penance, purification and conversion. It is not an easy program, but then Christianity is not an easy way of life. It is not enough just to be in the Church, letting the years roll by. In our life, in the life of Christians, our first conversion — that unique moment which each of us remembers, when we clearly understood everything the Lord was asking of us — is certainly very significant. But the later conversions are even more important, and they are increasingly demanding. To facilitate the work of grace in these conversions, we need to keep our soul young; we have to call upon our Lord, know how to listen to him and, having found out what has gone wrong, know how to ask his pardon.”
“If you call upon me, I will listen to you," we read in this Sunday's liturgy. Isn't it wonderful how God cares for us and is always ready to listen to us — waiting for man to speak? He hears us at all times, but particularly now. Our heart is ready and we have made up our minds to purify ourselves. He hears us and will not disregard the petition of a "humble and contrite heart."
”The Lord listens to us. He wants to intervene and enter our lives to free us from evil and fill us with good. "I will rescue him and honor him," he says of man. So we must hope for glory. Here again we have the beginning of the interior movement that makes up our spiritual life. Hope of glory increases our faith and fosters our charity; the three theological virtues, godly virtues which make us like our Father God, have been set in motion.”
”What better way to begin Lent? Let's renew our faith, hope and love. The spirit of penance and the desire for purification come from these virtues. Lent is not only an opportunity for increasing our external practices of self-denial. If we thought it were only that, we would miss the deep meaning it has in Christian living, for these external practices are — as I have said — the result of faith, hope and charity.”
“Look at the set of senseless reasons the enemy gives you for abandoning your prayer. ‘I have no time’ — when you are continually wasting it. ‘This is not for me.’ ‘My heart is dry...’Prayer is not a question of what you say or feel, but of love. And you love when you try hard to say something to the Lord, even though you might not actually say anything.” (Furrow, 464)
Fasting & Penance
“I would like you to discover the full depth of this simplicity of our Lord, who lived a life of penance without any special fuss, for it is the type of life he is asking of you: 'When you fast, do not show it by gloomy looks, as the hypocrites do. They make their faces unsightly, so that men can see they are fasting; believe me they have their reward already. But do you, at the times of fasting, anoint your head and wash your face, so that your fast may not be known to men, but to your Father who dwells in secret; and then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you’.”
“That is how you ought to practice the spirit of penance: looking towards God and behaving like a son, like a little child who shows his father how much he loves him by giving up the few treasures he has: a spool of thread, a tin soldier with no head, a bottle top... Their value is slight, yet he finds it hard to make up his mind. But in the end love wins, and he happily hands them over.” (Friends of God, 136)
“Didn't you see the light in Jesus' eyes as the poor widow left her little alms in the temple? Give him what you can: the merit is not in whether it is big or small, but in the intention with which you give it.” (The Way, 829)
All texts and images of St. Josemaria Escriva © Studium Foundation
"May you seek Christ, May you find Christ, May you love Christ." - St. Josemaria Escriva
Copyright © 2014, St. Josemaria Institute