Papal Lenten Message
The Pope's Lenten Message
The Parish Bulletin Newsletter
Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time - 19 February , 2012
'Let us be concerned for each other'
Pope Benedict XVI's 2012 Lenten Message is based on the Letter to the Hebrews: 'Let us be concerned for each other, to stir a response in love and good works.' The Pope makes three points:
- '"Let us be concerned for each other": responsibility towards our brothers and sisters. This first aspect is an invitation to be 'concerned'. The verb which introduces our exhortation tells us to look at others, first of all at Jesus, to be concerned for one another, and not to remain isolated and indifferent to the fate of our brothers and sisters.
- 'Being concerned for each other: the gift of reciprocity. The Lord's disciples, united with Him through the Eucharist, live in a fellowship that binds them one to another as members of a single body. This means that the other is part of me, and that his or her life, his or her salvation, concern my own life and salvation.
- '"To stir a response in love and good works": walking together in holiness. The time granted us in this life is precious for discerning and performing good works in the love of God. In this way the Church herself continuously grows towards the full maturity of Christ. Our exhortation to encourage one another to attain the fullness of love and good works is situated in this dynamic prospect of growth.'
Our Changing Emotions
'Faith and love are too easily identified with warm feelings, passion, fervour, affectivity, and romantic fire. Passionate and romantic feelings are part of love and faith, but not the deepest part, and not a part over which we have much emotional control.
'For some of us, faith will never be, other than for short periods of time, something that fires our emotions and fills us with warm fire. We've already experienced how ephemeral that fire can be. Some of us might have to settle for a faith that says to God, others, and ourselves: I can't guarantee how I will feel on any given day. I can't promise that I will always have emotional passion about my faith, but I can promise that I'll always be faithful, that I'll always act with respect, and I will always do everything in my power, as far as my human weakness allows, to help others' and God's cause in this world. I can't guarantee how I will always feel, but I can live in the firm resolve to never betray what I believe in! That's a sufficient creed.'
- Excerpt from a reflection by Fr Ron Rolheiser OMI
The Wonder of the Universe
The Vatican Observatory is organizing an exhibition, 'Stories from another world - the universe inside and outside us', from March 10 in Pisa, Italy. It's a reminder that a knowledge of the universe can help one's faith. Astronomers tell us that the known universe is 26 billion light years in diameter. In an area of the sky the size of a pinprick, examined with a powerful telescope - and on the limits of optical visibility -there are hundreds of galaxies, each with millions of stars. The size of the universe is breath-taking - and yet the God who created the universe, and holds it in being, chose to come and live among us. Truly beyond human comprehension!
Some Lenten Terms - Ash Wednesday is Wednesday Feb 22
Lent - from the Old English word 'lencten' meaning 'Spring' (the time of year in the Northern hemisphere) - begins on Ash Wednesday and ends on Holy Thursday.
Carnival - the period of merrymaking just before Lent - origin unclear. Latin carne means meat or flesh. (Carnevale in Italian....) A farewell to meat for the period of Lent?
Shrove Tuesday - an English term for the day before Ash Wednesday - 'Shrove' is the past tense of the verb 'shrive', meaning to give absolution in Confession or to receive absolution in Confession. Shrove Tuesday is also Pancake Day - the most famous pancake race has been held yearly in Buckinghamshire, UK, since 1445.
Mardi Gras - a French term, literally Fat Tuesday, for the day before Ash Wednesday - a time for using up all the restricted larder items before the fasting of Lent.
Quadragesima Sunday - the First Sunday of Lent. The word, Quadragesima, is a Latin word meaning 'fortieth'. Lent is forty days long, not counting Sundays.
For the past 14 years, when not involved with bushfires and floods, men from the Knights of the Southern Cross in Sandhurst Diocese have organized 'piscatorial retreats', originally on the Darling, more recently on the Murray River. Fishing, bushwalking, telling stories, songs around the campfire - and the Prayer of the Church - alternate with camp chores: cooking, peeling veggies, gathering firewood, fetching water. Men sleep in tents, vans, motor homes, swags. Some muscat and sherry - for cooking purposes - has proved handy when the temperature drops.
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