In Thee O Lord I have hoped

On Prayer And Fasting

February 9, 2016

On Prayer And Fasting

My dear brethren,

According to an ancient and salutary tradition in the Church, on the occasion of the beginning of Lent, I address these words to you in order to encourage you to enter into this penitential season wholeheartedly, with the dispositions willed by the Church and to accomplish the purpose for which the Church prescribes it.

If I look in books from the early part of this century, I find that they indicate three purposes for which the Church has prescribed this penitential time:

  • first, in order to curb the concupiscence of the flesh;
  • then, to facilitate the elevation of our souls toward divine realities;
  • finally, to make satisfaction for our sins.

Our Lord gave us the example during His life, here on earth: pray and do penance. However, Our Lord, being free from concupiscence and sin, did penance and made satisfaction for our sins, thus showing us that our penance may be beneficial not only for ourselves but also for others.

Pray and do penance. Do penance in order to pray better, in order to draw closer to Almighty God. This is what all the saints have done, and this is that of which all the messages of the Blessed Virgin remind us.

Would we dare to say that this necessity is less important in our day and age than in former times? On the contrary, we can and we must affirm that today, more than ever before, prayer and penance are necessary because everything possible has been done to diminish and denigrate these two fundamental elements of Christian life.

Never before has the world sought to satisfy—without any limit, the disordered instincts of the flesh, even to the point of the murder of millions of innocent, unborn children. One would come to believe that society has no other reason for existence except to give the greatest material standard of living to all men in order that they should not be deprived of material goods.

Thus we can see that such a society would be opposed to what the Church prescribes. In these times, when even Churchmen align themselves with the spirit of this world, we witness the disappearance of prayer and penance-particularly in their character of reparation for sins and obtaining pardon for faults. Few there are today who love to recite Psalm 50, the Miserere, and who say with the psalmist, Peccatum meum contra me est semper—”My sin is always before me.” How can a Christian remove the thought of sin if the image of the crucifix is always before his eyes?

At the Council the bishops requested such a diminution of fast and abstinence that the prescriptions have practically disappeared. We must recognize the fact that this disappearance is a consequence of the ecumenical and Protestant spirit which denies the necessity of our participation for the application of the merits of Our Lord to each one of us for the remission of our sins and the restoration of our divine affiliation [i.e., our character as adoptive sons of God].

  • In the past the commandments of the Church provided for:
  • an obligatory fast on all days of Lent with the exception of Sundays, for the three Ember Days and for many Vigils;
  • abstinence was for all Fridays of the year, the Saturdays of Lent and, in numerous dioceses, all the Saturdays of the year.

What remains of these prescriptions—the fast for Ash Wednesday and Good Friday and abstinence for Ash Wednesday and the Fridays of Lent.

One wonders at the motives for such a drastic diminution. Who are obliged to observe the fast?—adults from age 21 to 60 [here in the USA, the minimum age is 18 years old—Ed.]. And who are obliged to observe abstinence?—all the faithful from the age of 7 years.

What does fasting mean? To fast means to take only one (full) meal a day to which one may add two collations (or small meals), one in the morning, one in the evening which, when combined, do not equal a full meal.[The archbishop is referring to the European order of meals; in the United States though, dinner is usually the evening meal—Ed.]

What is meant by abstinence? By abstinence is meant that one abstains from meat.

The faithful who have a true spirit of faith and who profoundly understand the motives of the Church which have been mentioned above, will wholeheartedly accomplish not only the light prescriptions of today but, entering into the spirit of Our Lord and of the Blessed Virgin Mary, will endeavor to make reparation for the sins which they have committed and for the sins of their family, their neighbors, friends and fellow citizens.

It is for this reason that they will add to the actual prescriptions. These additional penances might be to fast for all Fridays of Lent, abstinence from all alcoholic beverages, abstinence from television, or other similar sacrifices. They will make an effort to pray more, to assist more frequently at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, to recite the rosary, and not to miss evening prayers with the family. They will detach themselves from their superfluous material goods in order to aid the seminaries, help establish schools, help their priests adequately furnish the chapels and to help establish novitiates for nuns and brothers.

The prescriptions of the Church do not concern fast and abstinence alone but also of the obligation of the Paschal Communion (Easter Duty). Here is what the Vicar of the Diocese of Sion, in Switzerland, recommended to the faithful of that diocese on February 20, 1919:

  • During Lent, the pastors will have the Stations of the Cross twice a week; one day for the children of the schools and another day for the other parishioners. After the Stations of the Cross, they will recite the Litany of the Sacred Heart.
  • During Passion Week, which is to say, the week before Palm Sunday, there will be a Triduum in all parish churches, Instruction, Litany of the Sacred Heart in the Presence of the Blessed Sacrament, Benediction. In these instructions the pastors will simply and clearly remind their parishioners of the principal conditions to receive the Sacrament of Penance worthily.
  • The time during which one may fulfill the Easter Duty has been set for all parishes from Passion Sunday to the first Sunday after Easter.

Why should these directives no longer be useful today? Let us profit from this salutary time during the course of which Our Lord is accustomed to dispense grace abundantly. Let us not imitate the foolish virgins who having no oil in their lamps found the door of the bridegroom’s house closed and this terrible response: Nescio vos—”I know you not.” Blessed are they who have the spirit of poverty for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. The spirit of poverty means the spirit of detachment from things of this world.

Blessed are they who weep for they shall be consoled. Let us think of Jesus in the Garden of Olives who wept for our sins. It is henceforth for us to weep for our sins and for those of our brethren.

Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for holiness for they shall be satisfied. Holiness—sanctity is attained by means of the Cross, penance and sacrifice. If we truly seek perfection then we must follow the Way of the Cross.

May we, during this Lenten Season, hear the call of Jesus and Mary and engage ourselves to follow them in this crusade of prayer and penance.

May our prayers, our supplications, and our sacrifices obtain from heaven the grace that those in places of responsibility in the Church return to her true and holy traditions, which is the only solution to revive and reflourish the institutions of the Church again.

Let us love to recite the conclusion of the Te DeumIn te Doming, speravi; non confundar in aeternum—”In Thee, O Lord, I have hoped. I will not be confounded in eternity.”

+ Marcel Lefebvre
Sexagesima Sunday
February 14, 1982
Rickenbach, Switzerland

What Does Your Heart Desire?

If you are not being tempted then you are not breathing.  The demons spend most of their time studying us.  Even though they are unable to read our thoughts they can learn about our weaknesses by watching and studying our every move.  Lent is a great time to acknowledge our weaknesses and work to overcome them through prayer and fasting.  Thank God for the different seasons, like lent, the Church provides for us that pushes us to grow in holiness.

It is better to know truth than pleasure.

It is better to pursue truth than to please the self.

In truth there lies the ultimate pleasure.

Please read Father Carota’s latest post on the heart being the seed of all our desires that lead us to sin and away from Jesus.

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http://www.traditionalcatholicpriest.com/2015/02/25/rend-heart-lent/

Rend Your Heart For Lent

Posted on February 25, 2015 by fc

Lent is an excellent time to watch out for what our hearts desire. Jesus says it clearly:

For where thy treasure is, there is thy heart also. Matt. 6:21

In these days of going to daily Latin Mass, praying, reading the Holy Bible, reflecting on the true condition of our soul and fasting, it is wise to watch what temptations come up.

The devil uses our weaknesses to tempt us. He watches what we like and incites those desires and passions.

He tried to incite in Jesus’ heart the desire to fill His stomach with bread when He was hungry.

He tried to get Him to avoid all suffering, especially on the cross, by inciting His ability to do miracles and to not suffer no matter what would happen by falling off the top of the Temple.

He tried to incite in Him the easy way of bringing about His Kingdom by quickly adoring the devil and then getting on with His Good Kingdom.

So what are the areas that your heart longs for? Where is your heart and treasure?

■Is it food?
■Is it sex?
■Is it dirty pictures and books?
■Is it being loved?
■Is it shopping?
■Is it alcohol?
■Is it drugs?
■Is it wanting to rest all the time?
■Is it wanting to be liked by everyone?
■Is it wanting to be affirmed?
■Is it being better than others?
■Is it wanting a lot of money so that you can be happy buying what ever you think will make you happy?
■Is it working too much to make a lot of money?
■Is it getting always your way?
■Is it vanity?
■Is it dressing sexually so that you are desired by others?
■Is it making quick money by gambling?
■Is it winning video and computer games?
■Is it watching television and soap operas to avoid living our own lives?
■Is it watching and talking about sports?
■Is it talking about others so we do not have to look at your own defects?

Jesus tells us that our evil desires, that lead into sin and away from Him is our heart.

For from the heart come forth evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false testimonies, blasphemies. Matt. 15:19

The prophet Joel reminds us that Lent is about changing the heart from which come our thoughts and then the will puts those desires into action.

Now therefore saith the Lord: Be converted to me with all your heart, in fasting, and in weeping, and in mourning. And rend your hearts, and not your garments, and turn to the Lord your God: for he is gracious and merciful, patient and rich in mercy, and ready to repent of the evil. Who knoweth but he will return, and forgive, and leave a blessing behind him, sacrifice and libation to the Lord your God? Blow the trumpet in Sion, sanctify a fast, call a solemn assembly, Gather together the people, sanctify the church, assemble the ancients, gather together the little ones, and them that suck at the breasts: let the bridegroom go forth from his bed, and the bride out of her bride chamber. Joel 2:12-16.

So, if this lent we can fall more in love with God and Mary, our hearts will want their love and trust their advise. It will be easier to not sin. Only then, can our hearts rest in God and Mary.

Other desires never give final rest. The transitory pleasures that our hearts desire never last. We all know this. We have experienced it a thousand times. But for some reason, we keep on falling for the same old trick of our flesh and the devil. If I just could have this sexual experience, buy this, have this person love me, eat that, go there, make more money, have that perfect job, house, spouse, children; then I will be happy forever.

So again, this lent let us watch carefully what our hearts desire. Let us redirect our desires toward God, Mary and the eternal things that fulfill and last for ever.

We are so blessed to be traditional Catholics to know this and to be encouraged to let go of passing worldly pleasures and put our hearts set on those of Heaven and God’s love

Ember Wednesday of Lent – Feb 25th

Please click the link below for the 03:13 homily of Msgr. Andrew Wadsworth, Superior/Moderator of the Oratory in-Formation at Saint Thomas Apostle Church in Washington, DC on Ember Wednesday of Lent  – Feb 25th.

https://archive.org/details/EmberWednesdayInLentFeb25th

St. Philip Neri’s Maxim of the Day:  

“A most excellent means of learning how to pray, is to acknowledge ourselves unworthy of such a benefit, and to put ourselves entirely into the hands of the Lord.”

Elias fed by an Angel

Elias is fed by an Angel before his fast of forty days.

Examination of Conscience for Lent

From New Liturgical Movement comes a solid examination of conscience to use for your next confession.

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http://www.newliturgicalmovement.org/2015/02/a-new-examination-of-conscience-for-lent.html

New Examination of Conscience for Lent
Peter Kwasniewski

As one who is generally skeptical of new things, I sympathize with any reader who might be wondering just what might be meant by a “new examination of conscience.” Aren’t the old ones just fine? Well, yes, they are fine. But, speaking personally (and perhaps due to my own faults), I have sometimes been dissatisfied with standard examinations of conscience when preparing for confession. This could be a result of an almost exclusive reliance on a Ten Commandments-based approach. It can help to have a fresh perspective on one’s sins by taking a different angle.

When I first read the Oblate statutes of the Benedictine monastery of Pluscarden (which later became the basis for the Oblate statutes of the monastery of Norcia), I was struck by the advice that we could profitably take Chapter 4 of the Holy Rule and examine our lives based on it. My pondering of this chapter led me to the (hopefully not too audacious) step of organizing its material into a little pamphlet, as an examination of conscience that might be useful in preparing for Confession. I’ve attached this below.

Why would the Holy Rule of St. Benedict work well for all of us? St. Benedict himself says that he is preparing “a little rule for beginners,” and the ages have proved that this rule of life is a school of holiness for all who incline the ear of the heart to its wisdom. Although some of its chapters don’t immediately apply to everyday life as a layman, the Holy Rule is abundantly filled with mature spiritual counsel that readily lends itself to the Christian’s battle against the world, the flesh, and the devil — a duty we must always keep in mind, especially in the holy season of Lent when the Church puts it before us quite starkly.

As Bossuet said (and as Pope Benedict XVI would surely agree): “Cette règle, c’est un précis du christianisme, un docte et mystérieux abrégé de toute la doctrine de l’Évangile, de toutes les institutions des saints Pères, de tous les conseils de perfection”: This rule is a synopsis of Christianity, a learned and mysterious abridgment of the whole doctrine of the Gospel, all the institutions of the holy fathers, and all the counsels of perfection.

An Examination of Conscience based on Chapter 4 of the Holy Rule of St. Benedict

General
 Have I neglected to love the Lord God with all my heart, all my soul, and all my strength, and my neighbor as myself? If so, in what specific ways?
 In deed or in thought, have I killed, committed adultery, stolen, coveted, or borne false witness?
 Have I failed to honor all men?
 Did I do to another what I would not have had done to me?
 Did I prefer anything to the love of Christ?

Self-Denial
 Have I been self-indulgent instead of denying myself in order to follow Christ?
 Have I pampered my body or sought after delicate living, rather than chastising my body?
 Have I neglected fasting or abstinence?
 Have I overindulged in wine or other beverages, or verged on gluttony?
 Have I been drowsy or slothful?
 Did I immerse myself in worldly affairs rather than keeping aloof from them?
 Did I fulfill the desires of the flesh rather than hating my own will?
 Have I sinned against chastity, modesty, or purity?

Charity towards Neighbor
 Have I neglected, when it was possible, to relieve the poor, clothe the naked, visit the sick, bury the dead, help in affliction, or console the sorrowing?
 Have I gratifed anger or harbored a desire of revenge?
 Have I fostered guile in my heart or made a feigned peace?
 Have I failed to utter truth from heart and mouth?
 Have I rendered evil for evil or done wrong to anyone?
 Did I feel or exhibit impatience when wronged?
 Have I hated my enemies or any man?
 Did I neglect to pray for my enemies in the love of Christ?
 Have I avoided making peace with any adversary before the setting of the sun?
 Have I fled persecution for justice’s sake?
 Have I rendered cursing for cursing, rather than a blessing?
 Have I been guilty of murmuring or detraction?
 Have I indulged in excessive talk, vain words, or unfitting laughter?
 Have I uttered evil and wicked words?
 Have I been jealous or given way to envy?
 Have I loved strife?
 Did I give in to vanity?
 Have I been proud?
 Did I fail to reverence my elders in Christ?
 Did I fail to love those who are my brothers, juniors, dependents, or pupils?
 Have I, in any other way, forsaken charity?

Seeking First God’s Kingdom
 Have I been lax in fulfilling each day the commandments of God?
 Did I neglect in my prayer the daily confessing of past sins?
 Have I faltered in putting my hope in God?
 Have I subtly or openly attributed the good that I see in myself to myself rather than to God?
 Have I run away from acknowledging the evil I have done, or tried to blame it on someone else?
 Have I delayed taking the steps necessary to amend my sins, negligences, and failings?
 Have I been remiss in smashing my evil thoughts on the rock of Christ the instant they came into my heart?
 Have I been lax in applying myself to frequent prayer or lectio divina?
 Did I fail to keep death daily before my eyes, with fear of the Day of Judgment and dread of hell?
 Have I not been desiring everlasting life with all spiritual longing?
 Have I failed to keep guard over the actions of my life by bearing in mind that God sees me everywhere?
 Have I not sought the counsel of my spiritual father when I should have done so?
 Have I hidden evil thoughts from him?
 Have I shown poor obedience to the commands of those who are placed in authority over me?
 Did I seek a reputation for holiness rather than holiness itself?
 Have I ever despaired of God’s mercy?

Traditional Lenten Practices

Father Carota offers the following traditional Lenten practices as we kick off another lenten season today.  Happy Ash Wednesday!

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http://www.traditionalcatholicpriest.com/2015/02/16/12-traditional-catholic-lenten-practices/

12 Traditional Catholic Lenten Practices

On Ash Wednesday, all over the world, traditional and Novus Ordo Catholics are going to be praying and fasting.  It is a powerful day to ask for God’s forgiveness and for the salvations of Souls.  All of us Catholics need to pray for unity and purity of Catholic dogma. We also want to repent of individual and collective sins that are destroying the Mystical Body of Christ.

holy_mass_elevation_christ_crucifiedHere are some suggestions of what we can do for Lent.

confession-731x10241) Do a very humble and sorrowful confession.  Take the time to go over a very good examination of conscience and write down your sins so as to not forget them.  Often we get nervous in the confessional and can forget them.  Stating how many times and when was the last time you committed the sins.  This helps the confessor to give you the right penance and to help you root out these vices.  Example: if you see pornography and self pleasure yourself everyday, compared to once having seen a dirty picture a year ago, there is an enormous difference.  Never ever conceal sins because of shame.  Especially be sorrowful for sacrilegious sins like having received Holy Communion with a mortal sin on your soul.

Saint_Nicholas_of_Tolentino2) Holy Latin Mass everyday.  It takes a lot of discipline to get up early to go to Holy Mass, but the fruits are well worth it.  There is no greater prayer than the prayer of Jesus to the Father through the Holy Spirit in the Holy Latin Mass in which we participate.

rosary-madonna63) Pray the Holy Rosary.  Meditate prayerfully on the Passion of Jesus (Sorrowful Mysteries) everyday during lent.  It would be even more effective, if the whole family prays it together.  Set a time to pray when people are home and not too late when everyone wants to fall asleep.  Try to put your heart into the words and meditations on the passion.

still_life_with_open_bible_candlestick_and_novel4) Read the Bible.  Read and meditate on all that led up to the passion and crucifixion of Jesus.  Each Gospel depicts the passion and crucifixion a little differently.

5) Pray the Stations of the Cross Slowly.  StationsPenult2Take yourself back in time to the Holy Land, retracing the steps of Jesus on His way to Calvary.  Search for a good traditional pamphlet on the Stations and use it.  This is usually done on Friday, but it would also be good to do everyday of lent.

6) Read a traditional Catholic book.   Like the “Imitation of Christ” or “The Secret of the Rosary“.  Any book that will encourage and inspire you to be happier and holier.

7) Make time for heart felt prayer.   Talk heart to heart with the Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit.  This is best done in front of the Blessed Sacrament.  If for some reason you cannot go to a church, pray at home facing where ever the closest Tabernacle is in a nearby church.  Then have faith that God has heard your prayers.

8) Disconnect from social media and News.  Fast from Facebook, blogs and use your Cell Phone, computer, to the absolute minimum.  I want to really emphasize this.  We need to be connected to God instead, not the internet and the cell phone.  Help your children to not use video games and electronic devices at all.  If you haven’t already disconnected cable and TV antennas, lent is the perfect time to do this, (and for good).  There is no good left on TV.

9) Stop watching the news.  Instead use this time to pray for the world governments.  What good does it do us to be depressed over all the evil things going on in the world that we have no control over?  What good does it do to be aware of the weather?  This time can be much better used to love and communicate with our families and make our home a happier world where they can see the difference.  Use time to eat and play together as a family.  Take time to communicate with each other and love each other more.

StationsPenult310) Fast by eating healthy and as a family.   Make a firm promise to absolutely not buy any fast food (Fast from Fast Foods).  No pizza either, especially Pepperoni (meat) on Friday.  Sacrifice time to make delicious healthy home made meals that everyone can enjoy.  Stay away from desserts and sodas.  Set the table and enjoy each others company.

11) Forgive and Pray for those who have hurt you.  Forgive everything from the past, once and forever.  Holding on to pain from our childhood, our parish, our spouses, does more harm to our spiritual life than you can imagine.  “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us”, “Love your enemy”, “Pray for those who persecute you”, Jesus.  Pray for all those who are destroying Catholic doctrine and liturgy too.

12) Stop taking the Salvation of The World on you Shoulders.  Jesus is the savior of the world.  We are just to help those with whom we have influence.  And let us not forget, salvation starts with our own souls and family.  Every time you get depressed about the pope, bishops, priests, religious and laity, get down on our knees and pray about it.  Then, give it over to God, Mary and the Saints to take care of it.  We only do what ever we can to peacefully reform and renew the Church.  Then, we let God do the rest.  We are not God.  Invite people this lent to attend a Latin Mass, Traditional Retreat or Traditional group.  Chill out and have more joy.  God is still in charge of the Church and the world.  We are only His humble servants.

StationsPenult1After the 40 days of Lent, hopefully we have spiritually grown and have been renewed by the power of the Holy Spirit.  The passion, death and resurrection of Jesus brought about the pouring out of the Holy Spirit on the apostles and the whole Church.  This is the happy destination (being filled up with the Holy Spirit) we are trying to reach after the 40 days of traveling through the desert of lent.  It is so wonderful to be a traditional Catholic.