40 Days Journey
40 Days Journey
Immediately the Spirit impelled Him to go out into the wilderness. And He was in the wilderness forty days being tempted by Satan; and He was with the wild beasts, and the angels were ministering to Him. (Mark 1:12-13)
Have you ever wondered why number forty instead of 7 or 14 during Lent? Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI explains: Lent recalls the forty days of our Lord’s fasting in the desert, which He undertook before entering into His public ministry. We read in the Gospel: “Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. He fasted for forty days and forty nights, and afterwards he was hungry” (Mt 4,1-2). Like Moses, who fasted before receiving the tablets of the Law (cf. Ex 34:28) and Elijah’s fast before meeting the Lord on Mount Horeb (cf. 1 Kings19:8), Jesus, too, through prayer and fasting, prepared Himself for the mission that lay before Him, marked at the start by a serious battle with the tempter [Message for Lent 2009]. So throughout these 40 days, we are called to make this journey into the desert with Jesus. Lent is not a season to be observed but it is a journey filled with opportunities to pray, fast, and make sacrifices (almsgiving). All of these can free us to come closer to Jesus and become better witnesses of the Good News. They can also help us purity our hearts and “Blessed are the clean of heart, for they will see God.” (Mt 5:8) Here are few recommendations:
PRAYER: This Lent, try to go to daily Mass, spending at least fifteen minutes in prayer a day. If you already do this, make the Rosary a daily habit. If you already do that, maybe add a Divine Mercy chaplet or a Holy Hour before Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament.
FASTING: This Lent, try to examine your conscience each day and stay away from things that draw your attention away from God and from your life as Christians. Fasting can mean performing spiritual or corporal works of mercy as well.
ALMSGIVING: This Lent, keep these challenging words from St. Basil the Great on the forefront of your mind: “When someone steals another’s clothes, we call them a thief. Should we not give the same name to one who could clothe the naked and does not? The bread in your cupboard belongs to the hungry; the coat unused in your closet belongs to the one who needs it; the shoes rotting in your closet belong to the one who has no shoes; the money which you hoard up belongs to the poor.” Pray about what alms you can give and to who. Discuss it with Jesus. “Each one must do as he has made up his mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7).
As we solemnly offer the annual sacrifice for the beginning of Lent, we entreat you, O Lord, that, through works of penance and charity, we may turn away from harmful pleasures and, cleansed from our sins, may become worthy to celebrate devoutly the Passion of your Son. Who lives and reigns for ever and ever. (Prayer over the offerings, Ash Wednesday)
Hail Mary full of grace…
St. Joseph, pray for us.
Peace in Christ,
Father Vincent-Vuong Nguyen
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＊( ˆ _ˆ ) ＊
Fr. Vincent Nguyen
on Sunday, February 21 at 7:00AM