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Complete Catholic Mass Readings for Canada LENT 2017 WAU.ORG

DAILY MEDITATIONS: MARCH 1 – APRIL 16

Come and Be Filled A Simple Plan for a Blessed Lent

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Lent 2017 | Volume 36, Number 4

Inside this issue. . .

Come and Be Filled

A Simple Plan Three keys to spiritual growth this Lent.

Cover illustration by Leonid Gore

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Keep Being Filled! Jesus is always reaching out to us.

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A Vision Both Bitter and Sweet Fix your gaze on the cross.

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Daily Meditations March 1–April 16

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This Issue’s Special Features

The

Spirit of Catholic Living

A Daily Approach to Prayer & Scripture

A Visual Homily Blessed Fra Angelico used art to open the Scriptures.

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Grandma’s Rosary My wife and I are separated, but I am not alone.

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The Couple That Prays Together . . . A simple routine that deepened our relationship.

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Bring The Joy of Love into Your Marriage A new book helps couples pray together.

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Online at wau.org, or call us at 1-800-775-WORD (9673). www.facebook.com/wordamongus

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Make a Plan!

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ack in 1977, when I was a graduate business student, one of my professors taught us a saying that he felt was vital for us to understand: “Time is a statement of priority.” It’s really quite simple: The way we spend our time says a lot about what we consider important—and what we don’t. As we examined time and priority, we reviewed some studies on the matter. We found that approximately two-thirds of most people’s time goes to work and sleep. That leaves one third, about 55 hours per week, for everything else. Leisure, exercise, and hobbies take up about 20 hours. Meals account for another 15 hours. So now we’re left with just 20 hours out of a 166-hour week. Chores require about 7 hours; caring for other people about 5 hours; and miscellaneous items take up about 8 hours. Of course, these are averages; your usage may differ. Still, the point is clear: our lives are awfully busy. Most people have a hard time squeezing anything extra into their days, including time with Jesus.

A Plan for Lent. What does this have to do with Lent? Everything! Lent offers us the perfect opportunity to step back from our everyday responsibilities and assess our spiritual well-being. “How can I know, love, and serve God better? How can I be a better person, a better parent, a better priest or religious, and a better servant for the poor?” It’s not just the Church asking us to do this; it’s Jesus himself. He is asking us to look at our schedules and find the time to pray a little more because prayer brings us into his presence. He is asking us to decide on a particular fast because fasting produces miracles. He is asking us to hear the cry of the poor because he has a special love for all the hungry, homeless, and needy people in the world. I’m sure you agree that the way we spend our time reveals our priorities. I’m also sure you agree that it’s good to step back from our daily responsibilities to see if we are giving sufficient time to the most important priorities—to Jesus, to our families, and to the mission of the Church. That’s why we need to make a plan for Lent. We need to look at our schedules and make time for prayer,

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P E A F A A C B J

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fasting, and almsgiving. It’s also why we should examine our lives and ask, “Am I giving sufficient time to the highest priorities in my life?” If you set up a Lenten plan for yourself and your family, you will be blessed. You will find yourself more peaceful, more considerate, and more loving. And just as important, you’ll also find yourself less irritable, less anxious, and less selfish. All because

The

Joe Difato Publisher (joe@wau.org)

Spirit of Catholic Living

Publisher: Joseph Difato, PhD Editor: Leo Zanchettin Associate Editor: Susan Heuver Features Editor: Kathryn Elliott Assistant Editor for Special Editions: Lynne May Assistant Editor for Meditations: Hallie Riedel Contributing Writers: Ann Bottenhorn, Jill Boughton, Bob French, P.M. Graham, Theresa Keller, Christine Laton, Joel Laton, Lisa Sharafinski, Patty Whelpley Art Direction: David Crosson Theological Advisors: Fr. Joseph A. Mindling, OFM Cap, Fr. Joseph F. Wimmer, OSA Proofreader: Ginger Roché TWAU Partners: Orlando Barros, Angela Burrin

For questions about your subscription or to contact our editor, write to The Word Among Us, 7115 Guilford Dr. STE 100 Frederick, Maryland 21704. U.S. and Canada call 1-800-775-WORD (9673) Monday–Friday, 9 a.m.–5 p.m. EST. Outside the U.S.A. call 1-301-874-1700. Fax 301-874-2190. Customer Service on the Internet at http://support.wau.org Customer Service Email Support at support@wau.org Our Web address is www.wau.org. Made in the U.S.A. Canadian Publications Mail Agreement #40031176 Return undeliverable Canadian addresses to The Word Among Us, c/o Metanoia Outreach, Box 1107, Station F Toronto, Ontario M4Y 2T8 e-mail: support@wau.org Copyright © 2016 The Word Among Us.

God fills us with living water when we seek him. I hope that this special Lenten edition will help you set time aside for Jesus. May we all see miracles in our homes, our parishes, and our world during this season of grace!

President: Jeff Smith Chief Operations Officer: Jack Difato General Manager: John Roeder The Word Among Us Press Sales Manager: Don Cooper Editor: Beth McNamara Associate Editor: Patricia Mitchell Production Manager: Nancy Clemens Data Entry Manager: Natalie Cleland Customer Service Manager: Shannan Slovon Parish Service Manager: Mary Callahan Internet Services Manager: Theresa Keller Distribution Manager: Diane Menapace Information Services Managers: Darla Forbes, Melanie Goggin Articles in this booklet may be reproduced with prior approval of the publisher for use in Bible studies, discussion groups, religion classes, and the like. Excerpts from the New American Bible with Revised New Testament and Psalms, Copyright © 1991, 1986, 1970, by the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Washington, D.C. Used with permission. All rights reserved. No part of the New American Bible may be reproduced in any form without permission in writing from the copyright owner. Periodically we contact our readers by telephone, offering our products and publications. From time to time, we also allow selected organizations to send mail to our subscribers relating to their mission. However, we never give our customers’ phone numbers to any other organizations. If you would rather not receive any promotional mailings from other organizations or if you do not wish to receive phone calls from our representatitves, please call Customer Service at 1-800-775-9673, e-mail us at support@wau.org, or write us at 7115 Guilford Dr. STE 100 Frederick, Maryland 21704.

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A Simple Plan prayer

fasting

W a t a t L f w i t

Three Keys to Spiritual Growth This Lent

h m A p c m t p d a o i

almsgiving

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hink of all the input that most of us encounter during the day. There’s television, the radio, e-mail, text messaging, and Internet sites like Facebook and Twitter. It’s not uncommon to see people at dinner speaking on their phones while they are checking out the web on their iPads and helping their children with homework. We have become so busy that if we want to focus on one specific area with any depth, we have to deliberately walk away from many of the other inputs. Thank God for the season of Lent! With its call to prayer, fasting, and almsgiving, Lent offers us the opportunity to simplify our lives. It’s like a retreat, but one we can make in the middle of our everyday routines. Lent gives us the chance to step away from all these inputs for a time so that we can focus on the most important input of all: the cross and resurrection of Christ. The thing about opportunities, however, is that they don’t amount to much if we don’t take hold of them. And for that to happen, we need a plan. We need something specific to commit to that will help us make the most of this time of retreat. So using the traditional Lenten practices of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving, let’s develop a plan for how we can reduce all of the distracting input and make ourselves more open to Jesus’ input in our lives.

identify a specific time for prayer each day. When will you “come away” with Jesus on retreat? Most people find that the morning is best— before they get so involved in the day that they forget to turn to the Lord. Whatever you decide, make sure it is a time when distractions and obligations are at a minimum. If we can find a time—and a place—that is free from distraction, we stand a better chance of feeling Jesus’ presence and sensing his guidance in our lives. We also stand a better chance of carrying the blessings of our time with Jesus into the rest of our day. As you are thinking about a commitment to prayer, recall Jesus’ words: “When you pray, do not be like the hypocrites” (Matthew 6:5). “In praying, do not babble like the pagans” (6:7). “When you pray, go to your inner room . . . and pray to your Father” (6:6). In none of these Prayer. The first step in a plan like did Jesus say, “If you want to pray” or this is to look at your schedule and “Should you choose to pray.” No, he Lent 2017 | 5

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said, “When you pray.” He is assuming that we are going to pray. Now, if Jesus is making that assumption, then it’s clear that he expects us to pray. As for how to pray, there are several different ways. Here are just a few: • Lectio Divina, or praying with the Scriptures • The Stations of the Cross • Contemplating the Seven Last Words of Christ • Joining a prayer group in your parish • Praying through the Eucharistic prayer from Mass • Eucharistic adoration • Centering prayer

If you don’t already have a consistent way to pray, check with your parish to see what is available. Remember, prayer is a vital part of any retreat. It’s a crucial ingredient if you want to step away from all the noisy input around you.

Fasting. Have you ever heard of the Stanford Marshmallow Experiment? Begun in 1960, it was a series of tests involving a group of young children. Psychologists at Stanford University offered the children two options: either they could have one marshmallow immediately, or they could

wait fifteen minutes and receive two marshmallows instead. According to the researchers, only about one-third of the children were able to hold out for the double reward. What is true for these children is true for the rest of us, although to varying degrees. We tend to like instant gratification. Many of us have no problem binge-watching a television show or staying up late surfing the Internet. Like the children in the marshmallow test, we can find it hard to resist the quick fix. Contrast this with the Lenten practice of fasting. This ancient practice dates back to the earliest days of the Bible. Moses fasted on Mount Sinai when he received the Ten Commandments (Exodus 34:27-28). Jesus fasted for forty days in the wilderness (Matthew 4:1-2). Paul fasted after his conversion (Acts 9:1-9). The Church elders in Antioch fasted before sending Paul and Barnabas on their first missionary journey (Acts 13:3). They all fasted because they knew that God blesses us when we deny ourselves some kind of pleasure so that we can draw closer to Jesus and strengthen our resolve to live a holy life.

Breakthroughs. Perhaps the greatest blessing that comes from fasting

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before you. is what we might call a “breakthrough.” A breakthrough happens when we are finally able to push past some barrier that has previously held us back. To one degree or another, we all need breakthroughs, whether it’s from the harmful ways we act, the unhealthy ways we relate to people, or in the form of a new insight that can help us live a more peaceful and loving life. This Lent, try making a list of some of the key areas in your life that need a breakthrough. Then, as you take up whatever fast you have chosen, keep asking the Lord to help you break through these barriers.

A Fasting Plan. Like prayer, you will do much better with fasting if you set a plan for yourself. Here are some broad objectives that you can use to help you build this plan: 1. State your objective to the Lord. Write down what kind of changes or breakthroughs you would like to see: growing closer to Jesus, communicating better in your marriage, overcoming anger, or something else. 2. Set your specific form of fasting, and try your best to stay faithful to it. No eating between meals? Smaller Lent 2017 | 7

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meals? One night of no television? Fasting from harsh words? Choose something that is challenging but not impossible. The key is to try your best and ask Jesus to help you.

a heart for those in need. The second involves deciding to do as much as we can to help the needy. Pope Francis has told us that almsgiving is “a gesture of sincere attention to those who approach us and ask for our help” (Jubilee Address of April 9, 2016). So what can you do? Again, here are some suggestions to help you make a plan:

3. Use your fast—your empty stomach, your time away from the television, your habit of holding your tongue—as a reminder to turn to Jesus, to thank him for his love, and to ask him for a 1. Look through your home and breakthrough. set aside all the clothes you no longer wear, the tools and appli4. Expect to see results. Remember ances you no longer use, or the Jesus’ promise: All that you ask extra food sitting in your panfor in prayer, believe that you will try. Gather all of this together, receive it, and it will be yours” and donate it to your local St. (Mark 11:24). Use this verse as a Vincent de Paul Society, your reminder for yourself every time parish food bank, or your city’s you are tempted to break your homeless shelter. fast. Jesus wants to bless you! 2. Evaluate your finances and decide 5. Forgive yourself. If you should how much money you can donate falter at some point, don’t let it this Lent. Donate to organizahold you down. Simply turn to tions like Catholic Relief Services, the Lord, and ask him for more Catholic Charities, or a local chargrace. Then start over again, itable organization. knowing that God’s mercy can overcome any fault or failing. 3. Many organizations offer the chance to “adopt” a family in The Cry of the Poor. There are two need. Search these out, and see if important points when it comes to you can make a financial commitalmsgiving. The first involves having ment each month to this family. 8 | The Word Among Us

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Let’s simplify our lives so that we can draw closer to Jesus.

4. In the same address that we mentioned previously, Pope Francis said that almsgiving “is a gesture of love that is directed at those we meet.” To this end, he encourages us to “stop and look in the face, in the eye, of that person who is asking” for my help. Many organizations sponsor soup kitchens, community centers, and homeless shelters. See if there is an opportunity to get involved, even if it’s just for the season of Lent.

Simplify Your Life. Let’s try to simplify our lives during this Lenten season. Let’s cut down on the noise

and cut back on the distracting inputs. Let’s make it a point to draw closer to Jesus and our families. Lamenting the challenge of actually following through on our good intentions, St. Paul once said, “The willing is ready at hand, but doing the good is not.” (Romans 7:18). Make a change this Lent! Come up with a forty-day plan, and try to discipline yourself to carry it out. Together, let’s simplify our lives so that we can draw closer to Jesus in prayer, experience breakthroughs, and touch Jesus by reaching out to the “least” of his brothers and sisters (Matthew 25:40). n Lent 2017 | 9

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MEDITATIONS

MARCH 1–4

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Wednesday, March 1 Ash Wednesday Joel 2:12-18 Even now, says the LORD, return to me with your whole heart. (Joel 2:12) Now: it’s an urgent word, a word that doesn’t allow for delay. It’s a word that promises immediate fulfillment. You can feel it when the prophet Joel called God’s people to return. You can see it in St. Paul’s ardent plea: “Now is a very acceptable time” (2 Corinthians 6:2). Both Paul and Joel are saying the same thing: God is always eager to pour out his grace. He’s always ready to bless us. This is the first thing we need to know as we begin these forty days of Lent. But if God is always eager, why do we need a season like Lent? Because while it’s always now to God, it isn’t always so for us. We need the structure of seasons like Lent to get our attention. We need the reminder to simplify our schedules and look to God more intensely. We need the call to increased prayer or fasting to shake

up our routines and make us more eager for him. So set these forty days aside as a retreat. If you’ve struggled with prayer in the past, don’t worry; today— now—can be a fresh start. Give God ten minutes each day. If you can’t do that, what about eight? Whatever amount of time, it can be your chance to retreat from pressing concerns and make yourself available to God. Open your heart to him as you read each day’s Scripture passage and meditation. Try to sense what God might be saying to you. For each bit of time you give to God, you will discover that you are able to trust him a little more. For each bit of time you spend praying with his word, you’ll notice your heart feeling a little lighter. You’ll find yourself smiling more, no matter what life throws at you. Don’t doubt that God is pouring out his grace this Lent. Receive it. Every day. Now is your time! “Lord, thank you for giving me the season of Lent. Renew my enthusiasm and anticipation as I turn to you each day. Draw me closer!” !

Psalm 51:3-6, 12-14, 17 2 Corinthians 5:20–6:2 Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18

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E D I T A T I O N S

Thursday, March 2 Deuteronomy 30:15-20 The LORD, your God, will bless you in the land you are entering to occupy. (Deuteronomy 30:16) What is it to be alive? Here’s how Welsh poet Waldo Williams answered this age-old question: to truly live is to find ourselves dwelling in “a spacious hall between narrow walls.” Sometimes the walls of life are narrower than we might like. Perhaps we haven’t had all the opportunities we wanted—to travel, to try something new, or to follow a certain career path. Maybe we are constrained by a lack of resources or time, or circumstances have gotten in the way. So within the limits of these “narrow walls” each of us has been given, how can we still live in a “spacious hall”? Williams the poet and Moses the prophet agree: it’s not about overcoming restrictions to find material prosperity or success or even fulfillment. It’s about being grateful, humble, and faithful. It’s about finding contentment in small blessings. Think of the choice Moses places before the Israelites. The Promised Land, which they are about to enter, is clearly defined; they cannot extend its borders to make it a richer, more powerful country. But if they choose to love God and follow

his commands, they will experience their new land as a blessed place. On the other hand, should they cross the Jordan dreaming of what other gods could offer them, ingratitude will gnaw away at their satisfaction with what God has given them. For the next six weeks, you will “inhabit” the land of Lent. You may find the walls narrow as you give up some of your time and preferences. So reflect on your expectations. How confident are you that you will be blessed here? In the weeks to come, when your initial enthusiasm turns to weariness or hunger, how will you ensure that you recognize God’s gentle hand protecting you, guiding you, and cultivating your growth? You might consider keeping a written list each day of reasons to be thankful. Or agree to meet a friend regularly to share your gratitude. Paying attention to God’s goodness will ignite your appreciation and love for him. “Lord, help me pay less attention to the narrow walls around me, and more attention to how you will enlarge the hall of my life and fill it with blessing!” !

Psalm 1:1-4, 6 Luke 9:22-25

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Friday, March 3 Isaiah 58:1-9 This, rather, is the fasting that I wish . . . (Isaiah 58:6) Fat-burning diets, raw food diets, low carb diets. Name the problem, and there’s a specialized diet for it. Sometimes the diets offer conflicting advice, making it hard to decide which one is best. But despite their differences, they all have one goal in common: to make you a slimmer, healthier version of yourself. The people of Israel had a goal for their “dieting” as well: they wanted God to hear and answer their prayers. But fasting is not like dieting, where we simply reduce our food intake to get the results we are looking for. Fasting is an invitation to strip off distractions and make more room for God. It may not sound appealing at first, but fasting is one of the greatest blessings God gives to us during Lent. Our distractions are too numerous to count. When we eliminate one or more of them—snacks or TV time or gossip—we open up time and space for God. We move beyond the thing we are giving up and embrace the gift that God has for us. Perhaps it’s a word of encouragement from Scripture or an insight about someone we love or a softer heart toward a difficult neighbor.

Fasting can open the door to these gifts simply because we are more able to recognize them in our lives. There’s another blessing to fasting, one that we don’t often think about. That same time and space that we give to God is also a sacred gift that we give to ourselves. When we set aside this time and space, we are asking the Lord to be more present to us. We are asking him to give us a deeper taste of his love and a deeper sense of his comfort and healing. So pray about what types of

“A heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn.” —Psalm 51:19 things might be good for you to fast from. Remember, this is a season of grace, and God is more than willing to shower his blessings on you as you seek him. “Father, through my fasting and prayer this Lent, help me to glimpse the glory you have promised.” !

Psalm 51:3-6, 18-19 Matthew 9:14-15

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Saturday, March 4 Isaiah 58:9-14 If you call the sabbath a delight . . . if you honor it by not following your ways . . . then you shall delight in the LORD. (Isaiah 58:13, 14) Today is Saturday, the day of the Jewish Sabbath. All across the world, the people of Israel will gather to worship, be instructed by the Hebrew Scriptures, and rest. So why do we Christians consider Sunday as “the Lord’s day”? The practice of gathering to worship on Sunday began almost immediately in the early Church and became common by the end of the first century. As best we know, it’s because of a few factors working together. Even as the New Testament was being written, Christianity and Judaism were quickly growing apart. Many Gentiles, with no ties to Jewish tradition, were converting to Christianity. So adopting a new day wouldn’t necessarily be inconceivable. But why Sunday? It goes back to Genesis, where Sunday is portrayed as the dawn of creation. It’s the first day, when God brought light into the darkness. It’s also the day that Jesus rose from the dead—a day that all four Gospels attest to. So the first Christians took this image of light breaking through as a way to describe Jesus’

resurrection and our entry into new life. It was the dawning of the age of the Church, the day that the darkness of sin was defeated and the gates of heaven were opened. The power of sin and the grave were broken two millennia ago, on a Sunday, when Jesus rose victorious. This weekend, as you rest from the weekly rhythm of work, school, or other duties, remember that God has already finished the job for the ages. “In the beginning” he formed the cosmos. Through Jesus, he redeemed it back to himself on the first day of the week—and all in a day’s work. So try your best to set aside some time to rest with the Lord. Let his love and his holiness move you to awe. Let him fill the beginning of this new week with the light of his smile toward you. Whatever way, whichever day you’re able to celebrate the Sabbath, it will become a delight and nourishment to your spirit. “Lord, I delight in you. I put aside my own duties to rest with you this Sabbath!” !

Psalm 86:1-6 Luke 5:27-32

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Daily Mass Readings March 1 – April 16, 2017

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Wednesday, March 1 Ash Wednesday

(Roman Missal 193; Lectionary 219) Entrance You are merciful to all, O Lord, Antiphon and despise nothing that you have made.

You overlook people’s sins, to bring them to repentance, and you spare them, for you are the Lord our God. Wis 11.24, 25, 27 Collect Grant, O Lord, that we may begin with holy fasting

this campaign of Christian service, so that, as we take up battle against spiritual evils, we may be armed with weapons of self-restraint. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. First Joel 2.12-18 Reading Even now, says the Lord,

return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; rend your hearts and not your clothing. Return to the Lord, your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love, and relents from punishing. Who knows whether the Lord will not turn and relent, and leave a blessing behind him: a grain offering and a drink offering to be presented to the Lord, your God? Blow the trumpet in Zion; sanctify a fast; call a solemn assembly; gather the people. LENT 2017 | M1

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Wednesday, March 1 Sanctify the congregation; assemble the aged; gather the children, even infants at the breast. Let the bridegroom leave his room, and the bride her canopy. Between the vestibule and the altar let the priests, the ministers of the Lord, weep. Let them say, “Spare your people, O Lord, and do not make your heritage a mockery, a byword among the nations. Why should it be said among the peoples, ‘Where is their God?’” Then the Lord became jealous for his land, and had pity on his people. Responsorial Psalm 51 Psalm R. Have mercy, O Lord, for we have sinned.

Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. R. For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. Against you, you alone, have I sinned, and done what is evil in your sight. R. Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me. Do not cast me away from your presence, and do not take your holy spirit from me. R. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and sustain in me a willing spirit. O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise. R. M2 | MASS READINGS SUPPLEMENT

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Wednesday, March 1 Second 2 Corinthians 5.20–6.2 Reading Brothers and sisters: We are ambassadors for Christ, since God is

making his appeal through us; we entreat you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake God made Christ to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Christ we might become the righteousness of God. As we work together with him, we urge you also not to accept the grace of God in vain. For the Lord says, “At an acceptable time I have listened to you, and on a day of salvation I have helped you.” See, now is the acceptable time; see, now is the day of salvation! Gospel Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ, King of endless glory! Acclamation Today, do not harden your hearts, but listen to the voice of the Lord. Ps 95.7-8

Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ, King of endless glory! Gospel Matthew 6.1-6, 16-18 Reading JESUS SAID TO THE DISCIPLES: “Beware of practising your piety before

people in order to be seen by them; for then you have no reward from your Father in heaven. “So whenever you give alms, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be praised by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your alms may be done in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you. “And whenever you pray, do not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, so that they may be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. But whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you. “And whenever you fast, do not look dismal, like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces so as to show others that they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that LENT 2017 | M3

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Wednesday, March 1 your fasting may be seen not by others but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.� Blessing of Dear brethren (brothers and sisters), Ashes let us humbly ask God our Father

that he be pleased to bless with the abundance of his grace these ashes, which we will put on our heads in penitence. O God, who are moved by acts of humility and respond with forgiveness to works of penance, lend your merciful ear to our prayers and in your kindness pour out the grace of your blessing on your servants who are marked with these ashes, that, as they follow the Lenten observances, they may be worthy to come with minds made pure to celebrate the Paschal Mystery of your Son. Through Christ our Lord. Amen. OR O God, who desire not the death of sinners, but their conversion, mercifully hear our prayers and in your kindness be pleased to bless these ashes, which we intend to receive upon our heads, that we, who acknowledge we are but ashes and shall return to dust, may, through a steadfast observance of Lent, gain pardon for sins and newness of life after the likeness of your Risen Son. Who lives and reigns for ever and ever. Amen. Distribution Repent, and believe in the Gospel. of Ashes OR

Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return. Prayer As we solemnly offer over the the annual sacrifice for the beginning of Lent, Offerings 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 M4 | MASS READINGS SUPPLEMENT

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Thursday, March 2 to celebrate devoutly the Passion of your Son. Who lives and reigns for ever and ever. Amen. Communion He who ponders the law of the Lord day and night Antiphon will yield fruit in due season. Cf. Ps 1.2-3 Prayer after May the Sacrament we have received sustain us, O Lord, Communion that our Lenten fast may be pleasing to you

and be for us a healing remedy. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

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Thursday, March 2 Thursday after Ash Wednesday

(Roman Missal 196; Lectionary 220) Entrance When I cried to the Lord, he heard my voice; Antiphon he rescued me from those who attack me.

Entrust your cares to the Lord, and he will support you. Cf. Ps 55 (54).17-20, 23 Collect Prompt our actions with your inspiration, we pray, O Lord,

and further them with your constant help, that all we do may always begin from you and by you be brought to completion. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. First Deuteronomy 30.15-20 Reading Moses spoke to the whole people of Israel, saying: See, I have

set before you today life and prosperity, death and adversity. If you obey the commandments of the Lord your God that I am commanding you today, by loving the Lord your God, walking in his ways, and observing his commandments, decrees, and ordinances, then you shall live and become numerous, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land that you are entering to possess. But if your heart turns away and you do not hear, but are led astray to bow down to other gods and serve them, I declare to you today that you shall perish; you shall not live long in the land that you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess. LENT 2017 | M5

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6 The Order of Mass INTRODUCTORY RITES Entrance Antiphon

(See each day.)

Greeting

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. And with your spirit. (Other forms of the Greeting can be found in the Missal.)

Penitential Act

Brethren (brothers and sisters), let us acknowledge our sins, and so prepare ourselves to celebrate the sacred mysteries. I confess to almighty God and to you, my brothers and sisters, that I have greatly sinned, in my thoughts and in my words, in what I have done and in what I have failed to do, (The people strike their breast, saying:) through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault; therefore I ask blessed Mary ever-Virgin, all the Angels and Saints, and you, my brothers and sisters, to pray for me to the Lord our God. LENT 2017 | L1

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Have mercy on us, O Lord. For we have sinned against you. Show us, O Lord, your mercy. And grant us your salvation. May almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins, and bring us to everlasting life. Amen. (Other forms of the Penitential Act can be found in the Missal.) Kyrie

(The Kyrie is omitted if it has already been used in one of the forms of the Penitential Act.) V. Lord, have mercy. V. Christ, have mercy. V. Lord, have mercy. Or: V. Kyrie, eleison. V. Christe, eleison. V. Kyrie, eleison.

Gloria

R. Lord, have mercy. R. Christ, have mercy. R. Lord, have mercy. R. Kyrie, eleison. R. Christe, eleison. R. Kyrie, eleison.

(When it is prescribed, this hymn is either said or sung:) Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to people of good will. We praise you, we bless you, we adore you, we glorify you, we give you thanks for your great glory, Lord God, heavenly King, O God, almighty Father. Lord Jesus Christ, Only Begotten Son, Lord God, Lamb of God, Son of the Father,

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you take away the sins of the world, have mercy on us; you take away the sins of the world, receive our prayer; you are seated at the right hand of the Father, have mercy on us. For you alone are the Holy One, you alone are the Lord, you alone are the Most High, Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit, in the glory of God the Father. Amen. Collect

(See each day.)

LITURGY OF THE WORD Readings Profession of Faith

(See each day.) I believe in one God, the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all things visible and invisible. I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Only Begotten Son of God, born of the Father before all ages. God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, consubstantial with the Father; through him all things were made. For us men and for our salvation he came down from heaven,

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(At the words that follow, up to and including and became man, all bow.) and by the Holy Spirit was incarnate of the Virgin Mary, and became man. For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate, he suffered death and was buried, and rose again on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures. He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead and his kingdom will have no end. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son, who with the Father and the Son is adored and glorified, who has spoken through the prophets. I believe in one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church. I confess one Baptism for the forgiveness of sins and I look forward to the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come. Amen. The Apostles’ Creed

Or: I believe in God, the Father almighty, Creator of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, (At the words that follow, up to and including born of the Virgin Mary, all bow.) * who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried; he descended into hell;

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on the third day he rose again from the dead; he ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty; from there he will come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting. Amen. Prayer of the Faithful

LITURGY OF THE EUCHARIST Presentation and Preparation of the Gifts

Blessed are you, Lord God of all creation, for through your goodness we have received the bread we offer you: fruit of the earth and work of human hands, it will become for us the bread of life. Blessed be God for ever. Blessed are you, Lord God of all creation, for through your goodness we have received the wine we offer you: fruit of the vine and work of human hands, it will become our spiritual drink. Blessed be God for ever.

Invitation to Prayer

Pray, brethren (brothers and sisters), that my sacrifice and yours may be acceptable to God, the almighty Father. May the Lord accept the sacrifice at your hands for the praise and glory of his name, LENT 2017 | L5

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Art Resource, NY

A Visual Homily

Blessed Fra Angelico Used Art to Open the Scriptures by Jem Sullivan

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W

hen I used to give tours at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, The Adoration of the Magi by Fra Angelico was a must-see stop. I have always loved this painting by the celebrated fifteenth-century Dominican friar, and I enjoyed sharing it with visitors to the gallery. I’ll never forget the time that one visitor excitedly took over the tour when we stopped at this painting. She couldn’t wait to tell the group how much Fra Angelico had meant to her. Later, she explained to me that she had left the Catholic Church in her thirties. Rather than attend Mass on Sundays, she began to visit the museum, where she could ponder the gallery’s many fine examples of Christian art. The exquisite beauty and deep faith expressed in the paintings of Fra Angelico stood out for her. Slowly but surely, his work touched her heart deeply enough that it inspired her to return to the Church. In 1982, Pope John Paul II declared Fra Angelico “blessed.” Two years later, he named him “patron of artists.” Perhaps it’s because of how faith animated this friar’s art and how his paintings serve as tools

for evangelization then and now. That makes sense to me, because Fra Angelico’s paintings evoke profound spiritual truths. What’s more, with a bit of context, these paintings can also reveal how the gospel touched his heart.

Faith Intersects with Art. Much of what we know about Fra Angelico comes from Giorgio Vasari, a renowned biographer of Renaissance artists. Angelico was born and given the name of Guido di Piero around 1390. He grew up near the small town of Fiesole on the outskirts of Florence, Italy. His older brother, Benedetto, was a gifted manuscript illuminator, and it’s likely that

Above: Portrait of Fra (Beato) Angelico. Luca Signorelli (1441-1523) Scala/Art Resource, NY Lent 2017 | 69

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the brothers received their artistic training together. Little else is known about their family, although some historians guess they became orphans at a young age. Around 1423, Guido entered the Dominican community at his hometown of Fiesole, taking the name Fra Giovanni (Friar John). Life with the Dominicans was simple and devout. Day after day, he heard the Scriptures proclaimed at Mass, prayed in the rhythm of the Divine Office, and contemplated in sacred reading and study. By all accounts, it suited him. Although his extraordinary artistic talent set him apart in some ways, Fra Giovanni’s brother friars found him to be a gentle and pleasant person. Giovanni’s art, however, was bold and intense. It was as if he had a personal encounter with Jesus and then painted the prayerful visions he was having. Perhaps this is what makes him stand out among the Renaissance artists. Faith and art came together in his life in a unique way.

To Paint the Spiritual Life. Fra Giovanni’s Dominican brothers noticed how deeply invested he was in the spiritual themes he was painting. They would see him deep in prayer before he took up his brushes.

Painting was more than an occupation for him; it was meditation. When he painted the Lord’s crucifixion, for instance, tears of love and gratitude streamed down his face. Eventually, Giovanni’s sincerity and deep spirituality earned him a reputation. His brother friars began to call him Fra Giovanni Angelico, or the “Angelic One.” Vasari, in his Lives of the Artists, says he imagines that Angelico’s subjects “must appear in heaven just as [he] painted them.” He goes on to say that the rich colors rendered could be the work of one of the angels or saints. Although Vasari exaggerates, Fra Angelico did tell his Dominican brothers that anyone who occupies himself with the things of Christ should cling to Christ. So if someone is trying to portray spiritual images, he needs to be immersed in the spiritual life. Angelico’s motto echoed this simple yet profound truth: “To paint the things of Christ, one must live with Christ.” For years, Angelico did just that, painting, praying, and living out of the way, in Fiesole.

A Visual Homily. A new chapter in Angelico’s life began when his Dominican community moved to the Convent of San Marco in Florence. It was a newly built monastery,

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Fra Angelico’s Annunciation is visible on the wall of a monk’s cell in San Marco. (David Collingwood/ Alamy Stock Photo)

and one of Florence’s wealthiest art patrons, Cosimo de Medici, often came there to pray. There was even a small room set aside for the Medicis to make retreats there. As the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance, Florence was unequaled in cultural, literary, and artistic achievements. Its wealthiest merchant families, such as the Medicis, paid artists large sums of money to decorate churches, chapels, and altars

with elaborate frescoes, paintings, and sculptures. Cosimo de Medici was always looking for promising artists, and he took interest in the arrival of Angelico. Perhaps the friar could decorate the monastery’s walls with his sublime art! Commissioned by Medici, Fra Angelico began painting spaces in the friars’ cloister, in the corridors of the convent, and in the cell rooms of his brother friars. Each gospel scene he painted became a channel for the friars’ prayer and contemplation. It’s as if he were offering his brothers visual homilies. For instance, upon seeing the angel Gabriel stand before Mary in the Annunciation, the friar in one cell might have been touched by Mary’s openness to God’s word. Kneeling, Lent 2017 | 71

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she has the Scriptures in her hand as the angel tells her that her child shall be “holy” and be called “the Son of God” (Luke 1:35). Fra Angelico seemed to be saying that from obedience to God’s word, the Word of God came to dwell in Mary. What a beautiful sermon to wake up to every day!

Putting Yourself in the Gospel. The Dominican community included lay brothers whose spiritual formation was less intense than the friars’. As a way of directing their meditation more closely, Fra Angelico painted seven scenes of Christ’s crucifixion in the cells along their corridor. He put his own spiritual insights into them, adding and subtracting characters and details to send different messages. The largest and most revealing is in the cell that might have been the lay brothers’ meeting room. This painting, which is reproduced on the next page, shows two of Angelico’s spiritual fathers, St. Dominic and St. Thomas Aquinas, on Calvary, facing Jesus and the two thieves. From his days as a novice, Angelico had studied St. Dominic’s way of simplicity and poverty and read the writings of Aquinas, one of Dominic’s most influential spiritual sons. The fresco gives a glimpse into

the artist’s own meditation: how he imagined these saints’ love for Christ and Christ’s love for them. It’s a personal expression of his heart, placing his spirituality at the feet of Christ. Angelico depicts St. Dominic (the figure with a star above his head) praising the mercy of God with arms uplifted as Jesus tells the criminal beside him, “Today you will be with me in Paradise” (Luke 23:43). St. Thomas kneels in awe, book in hand, as if to acknowledge that all his great philosophical ideas take on their fullest meaning in the crucifixion, where God gives us himself. The beauty of these two saints’ encounter with Jesus doesn’t eclipse the reality of his suffering; blood trickles down the wood of the cross as a painful reminder of that. It was common for artists in Angelico’s day to paint their wealthy patrons into biblical scenes. But it’s surprising to see an artist putting his spiritual heroes, from different historical moments, into a scene like the crucifixion.

A Path to God. In The Joy of the Gospel, Pope Francis reminds us to “attend to the ‘way of beauty.’” He tells us that proclaiming Christ means showing people that his way is just as beautiful as it is true.

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Credit: Scala/Ministero per i Beni e le Attività culturali /Art Resource, NY

The Crucifixion with St. Dominic and St.Thomas Aquinas by Fra Angelico is still on display at the San Marco Convent Museum in Italy. Through beauty, God is capable of filling life with new splendor and profound joy, even in the midst of difficulties. For this reason, “Every

expression of true beauty can thus be acknowledged as a path leading to an encounter with the Lord Jesus” (Evangelii Gaudium, 167). Lent 2017 | 73

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Fra Angelico has helped millions of people encounter Jesus through the beauty of his art.

Tourists in the Cloister of San Marco Museum in Florence (LOOK photo agency)

Fra Angelico is no exception: he has helped millions of people encounter Jesus through the beauty of his art. The Renaissance artist Michelangelo so admired Angelico’s work that he carved a statue of the risen Christ for the friar’s tomb, noting that the artist had “gone to meet those he painted.” English art critic John Ruskin said Angelico’s paintings were “not works of art, but visions.” The enthusiastic National Gallery visitor and anyone who takes a moment to contemplate

his paintings today would agree wholeheartedly. Using art as a means of meditating on the gospels is a time-honored way to let the salvation story move us closer to Christ. Today, you don’t have to go to Italy or Washington, DC, to do it. You can go to the nearest library, museum, or computer. There, with the help of Blessed Fra Angelico, you too can join the saints at the foot of the cross. n Jem Sullivan, PhD, is the author of The Beauty of Faith: Art and the Spread of the Gospel (Our Sunday Visitor).

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The Word Among Us Canadian Lent 2016