16 February 2015

Monday of Quinquagesima Week: Our State and Our Lenten Prayer

From The Liturgical Year entry for today, Dom Gueranger has us contemplate Lent and the call of the Christian, like our father Abraham, to obedience and to the realization that our home is not here:

"The Christian life consists in this untiring, unreserved obedience to God.  The first effect of this spirit of submission is, that it takes the soul from the region of sin and death, wherein she was wasting away her existence; it takes her from the dark Chaldea, and places her in the promised land of light. Lest she should faint on her way along the narrow path, and fall a victim to the dangers which never leave her because they are within herself, God asks her for sacrifices, and these brace her. Here again, we have Abraham for our model. God loves him, and promises him the richest of blessings; He gives him a son, as pledge of the promise; and then, shortly after, tests the holy patriarch's devotedness, by commanding him to slay with his own hand this dear child, on whom he has been told to build his hopes!

Man's path on earth is sacrifice. We cannot go out from evil except by the way of self-resistance, nor keep our footing on good ground but by constant combating. Let us imitate Abraham: fix our eyes steadfastly on the eternal hills, and consider this world as a mere passing dwelling, a tent, put up for a few days. Our Jesus has said to us: 'I came not to send peace, but the sword; for I came to separate.' Separation, then, and trials are sure to be sent us; but we are equally sure that they are for our good, since they are sent us by Him who so loved us, that He became one of ourselves. But this same Jesus has also said: 'Where thy treasure is, there too is thy heart.' Christians! can our treasure be in this wretched world? No it must be in that fair land above. There, then, must we be, in desire and affection.

These are the thoughts the Church would have us meditate upon during these days, which immediately precede the forty of Lent. They will help to purify our hearts and make them long to be with their God. The noise of the world's sins and scandals reaches our ears: let us pray, that the kingdom of God may come to us and to those poor sinners; for God's infinite mercy can change them, if He will, into children of Abraham. Not a day passes but He so changes many a sinner. He has, perhaps, shown that miracle of His mercy to us, and those words of the apostle may be applied to us: 'You, who some time were afar off, are now made nigh (to God) by the Blood of Christ.'

Let us pray for ourselves and for all sinners, in these beautiful worlds of the Mozarabic breviary."

We beseech Thee, O almighty God! that whereas our sins have angered Thee against us, our prayers and praise, which Thou inspirest, may propitiate and please Thee: that thus, by Thy mercy, the vexations of this world may not cast down our soul, nor hurtful delusion possess her, nor the darkness of unbelief surround her; but may we gleam with the light of Thy countenance, wherewith Thou hast signed us, and ever, by firmness in the true faith, walk in the brightness of the same.  Amen.

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