MONDAY THE THIRD OF APRIL, 2017
O most dear and tender Father, our defender and nourisher; endue us with your grace, that we may cast off the great blindness of our minds, and carefulness of worldly things, and may put our whole study and care in keeping of your holy law; and that we may labour and travail for our necessities in this life, like the birds of the air and the lilies of the field, without care. For you have promised to be careful for us; and have commanded that upon you we should cast our care, who lives and reigns, world without end. Amen.
( from Henry VIII’s primer )
God be gracious to us and bless us
and make his face to shine upon us,
that your way may be known upon earth,
your saving power among all nations.
Let the peoples praise you, O God;
let all the peoples praise you.
O let the nations rejoice and be glad,
for you will judge the peoples righteously
and govern the nations upon earth.
Let the peoples praise you, O God;
let all the peoples praise you.
Then shall the earth bring forth her increase,
and God, our own God, will bless us.
God will bless us,
and all the ends of the earth shall fear him.
Glory to the Father and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit;
as it was in the beginning is now
and shall be for ever. Amen.
In the face of Jesus Christ
your light and glory have blazed forth,
O God of all the nations;
with all your people,
may we make known your grace
and walk in the ways of peace;
for your name’s sake. Amen.
MEDITATION by Tim Madsen
John Paul II goes to the house of the Father
It was on the second of April, 2005 that Pope John Paul II died, after a long, slow decline due to Parkinson’s disease. It was just a week after Easter that year.
It was reported by those at his bedside that John Paul’s final words were “Let me go to the house of the Father.”
The year 1978 was known as the year of three popes. Paul VI, the architect of the post Vatican II Church died in August. That same month the College of Cardinals elected the Patriarch of Venice, who took the name John Paul I. Only sixty-five when elected, he suddenly died of a heart attack thirty-three days later. When the Cardinals met again in late September, they wanted someone who would be strong and youthful, and to the shock of the world, and overturning centuries of tradition, they turned to the Archbishop of Crakow, Poland, Karol Wojtyla, who took the name John Paul II. He strode into the papacy as a healthy, youthful (fifty-seven years old) man. His papacy lasted twenty-six years, the second longest papacy in history. He oversaw the demise of the Soviet Union, and raised the global profile of the Catholic Church by his many trips around the world, his personal charisma, and his strongly held faith.
All of that is a matter of public record. The figure of Pope John Paul in his final months tells a much different tale, as he suffered greatly from his Parkinson’s and he became increasingly frail. A couple of hospitalisations followed, then he returned to his apartment at the Vatican. Thousands gathered under his window that last Easter Sunday, and the Pope made an appearance. Everyone could see him struggling to pronounce the words of the blessing, but he was unable to do it, and silently blessed the crowd.
Pilgrims from all over the world gathered to pray and watch during that final week. He became a model of suffering for all to see.
Earlier in his ministry, he had written this about suffering: “In the light of Christ’s death and resurrection, illness no longer appears as an exclusively negative event. Rather, it is seen as an opportunity to release love, to transform the whole of human civilisation into a civilisation of love.”
Scripture. In the ninth chapter of “Acts,” at verses fifteen and sixteen we read:
“Go, for he is an instrument whom I have chosen to bring my name before gentiles and kings and before the people of Israel; I myself will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name.”
… for peace in the world.
… for Pope Francis and the people of the Roman Catholic Church.
… for the people of Guinea who are celebrating their national day today.
… for the Kurdish-Iranian, teenage asylum seeker who was brutally attacked by a large gang in Croydon, England, on Friday; for his two friends who were also injured and for all victims of hate crimes. DETAILS
… for those who are missing following the break up of the South Korean freight ship, Stellar Daisy, in the South Atlantic on Friday. DETAILS
… for journalists in Mexico who risk their lives reporting political corruption and organised crime; for those who have already been murdered. DETAILS
… for the twenty people murdered and those who were wounded at a Sufi shrine near the city of Sargodha, in Pakistan’s Punjab province. DETAILS
… for those who have died and for those who mourn their passing.
… for those who are unwell and for those caring for them.
… for those, both close to us and far off, who we hold in our personal prayers.
… for ourselves.
THE LORD’S PRAYER
Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done;
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power and the glory,
for ever and ever. Amen.
From an Ash Wednesday sermon by Pope Paul II:
“Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin! For I know my transgressions and my sin is ever before me. Against you, against you only, have I sinned and done that which is evil in your sight.”
“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me.”
In a certain sense, these words contain the very heart of Lent and, at the same time, express its essential programme. The words are taken from the fifty-first psalm, “The Miserere,” in which the sinner opens his heart to God, confesses his guilt and implores forgiveness for his sins.
With the words of the Miserere psalm, the sinner not only accuses himself of his own sins, but at the same time begins a new creative journey, the way of conversion.
Authentic conversion implies doing all those works which belong to the Lenten season: almsgiving, prayer and fasting. However, these must not be performed only as an external fulfilment, but as the expression of an intimate encounter, to a certain extent unknown to men, with God himself. Conversion involves a new discovery of God. In conversion one experiences that in him resides the fullness of good, revealed in Christ’s paschal mystery, and one draws from it abundantly in the inner abode of the heart.
God is waiting for this! God wants to create a pure heart in us and to renew within us a steadfast spirit. We want to open our souls to God’s grace and to live intensely the journey of conversion towards Easter.
Lord Jesus Christ, you came into our world as one of us, and suffered as we do. In the midst of suffering, anxiety, and pain, enfold us all in your loving grace, and teach us to know that you are very near us at all times and in all things; who live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
May the Lord bless us, protect us from all evil and bring us to everlasting life. Amen.
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