The Lie at the Heart of Human Sinfulness:
The lie at the heart of human sinfulness is that we can gain control of our existence by some action of our own and that God does not want us to have this power. God creating human beings in God’s own likeness is described in the first creation account in Genesis. But instead of accepting the friendship with God that was offered, human beings chose to enter into rivalry with God. The consequences of that disastrous choice plague our world still.
Do I harbor any distrust of God over control and power in my life? Can I pray the New Testament prayer “I believe; help my unbelief”?
► Pray with the Lunchtime Examen today.
2018 Lenten Message February 13, 2018
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
The season of Lent begins on Ash Wednesday as we gather to receive the “mark of ashes,” an exterior sign of our desire for interior change and renewal. The time period of Lent mirrors the 40 days Jesus spent in the desert, the 40 years the people of Israel wandered in the wilderness – a biblical number reflecting the passage of a generation and the emergence of a new one. Lent is an annual opportunity in the liturgical year to engage in a spiritual renewal and to prepare for Easter by returning to the Lord in every aspect of our lives through the practices of prayer, almsgiving and fasting.
Daily life can be occupied with many distractions which impact upon the peace in our hearts and draw us away from the practices of prayer. Lent is a time in our faith lives that invites a return to solitude, silence and prayer. Lent resounds with the words of the psalmist calling us to “be still and know that I am God.” (Ps. 46) Pope Francis has described the experience of prayer in this way, “In the face of so many wounds that hurt us and could lead to a hardness of heart, we are called to dive into the sea of prayer, which is the sea of the boundless love of God, in order to experience his tenderness.”
The pace of life sometimes isolates those who live in poverty or with underemployment. This isolation reduces our personal contact with people living with insufficiency and those who could help can become disconnected from the needs of others. The time of Lent echoes with the exclamation, “for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.” (Mt. 25: 35) It is this reconnection which Lent summons in our hearts. Through acts of sacrificial giving and in being truly present to the needs of others we recognize the sacred reflection of God in another person, we see their needs and our faith inspires us to respond generously.
When speaking of fasting, the third penitential practice of Lent, Pope Francis says, “Fasting wakes us up. It makes us more attentive to God and our neighbour. It revives our desire to obey God, who alone is capable of satisfying our hunger.” This penitential practice helps us to control our desires and to be freely attentive and open to the love of God.
This is indeed a holy season in the liturgical year. May this season of prayer, almsgiving and fasting be a time of true spiritual conversion for all of us which in preparing our hearts to rejoice with the Risen Christ at Easter!
Yours in Christ,
☩ Most Reverend William T. McGrattan, D.D.
Bishop of Calgary
Gospel Mk 1:12-15
He was among wild beasts, and the angels ministered to him.
After John had been arrested, Jesus came to Galilee proclaiming the gospel of God:
“This is the time of fulfillment.The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.”
The word “Lent” comes from the old English, “lencten,” which means “spring.” In Middle English is derived the words, lenten, lente, lent; related to the Dutch, lente, the German, Lenz, also rendered “spring.” In Old German are found the related words: lenzin, lengizin, and lenzo, which probably comes from the same root as “long” and referring to “the lengthening days,” as the earth moves from the winter solstice toward the spring equinox.
In the Christian Church, Lent refers to the period of abstinence preparatory to the Feast of Easter. As this fast falls in the early part of the year, it became confused with the season, and gradually the word Lent, which originally meant spring, was confined to this liturgical use. The Latin name for the fast is Quadragesima derived from the Sunday which was the fortieth day before Easter.
The length of this fast and the rigor with which it has been observed have varied greatly at different times and in different countries. In the time of Irenaeus (second century A.D.) the fast before Easter was very short, but very severe; thus some ate nothing for forty hours between the afternoon of Good Friday and the morning of Easter. This was the only authoritatively prescribed fast known to Tertullian. In Alexandria about the middle of the 3rd century it was already customary to fast during Holy Week; and earlier still the Montanists boasted that they observed a two weeks’ fast instead of one.
Of the Lenten fast or Quadragesima, the first mention is in the fifth canon of the council of Nicaea (A.D. 325), and from this time it is frequently referred to, but chiefly as a season of preparation for baptism, of absolution of penitents or of retreat and recollection. In this season fasting played a part, but it was not universally nor rigorously enforced. At Rome, for instance, the whole period of fasting was but three weeks, according to the historian Socrates (History of the Church), these three weeks being not continuous but, following the primitive Roman custom, broken by intervals.
Gradually, however, the fast as observed in East and West became more rigorously defined. In the East, where after the example of the Church of Antioch, the Quadragesima fast had been kept distinct from that of Holy Week, the whole fast came to last for seven weeks, both Saturdays and Sundays (except Holy Saturday) being, however, excluded. In Rome and Alexandria, and even in Jerusalem, Holy Week was included in Lent and the whole fast lasted but six weeks, Saturdays, however, not being exempt. Both at Rome and Constantinople, therefore, the actual fast was but thirty-six days. Some Churches still continued the three weeks’ fast, but by the middle of the 5th century most of these divergences had ceased and the usages of Antioch-Constantinople and Rome-Alexandria had become stereotyped in their respective spheres of influence.
The thirty-six days, as forming a tenth part of the year and therefore a perfect number, at first found a wide acceptance. But the inconsistency of this period with the name Quadragesima, and with the forty days’ fast of Christ, came to be noted, and early in the 7th century four days were added, by what pope is unknown, so that Lent in the West would begin henceforth on Ash Wednesday.
About the same time the cycle of paschal solemnities was extended to the ninth week before Easter by the institution of stational masses for
Septuagesima, Sexagesima, and Quinquagesima Sundays. At Constantinople, too, three Sundays were added and associated with the Easter festival in the same way as the Sundays in Lent proper. These three Sundays were added in the Greek Church also, and the present custom of keeping an eight weeks’ fast (i.e. exactly 8 X 5 days), now universal in the Eastern Church, originated in the 7th century. The Greek Lent begins on the Monday of Sexagesima, with a week of preparatory fasting, known as the “butter-week”; the actual fast, however, starts on the Monday of Quinquagesima this week being known as “the first week of the fast” The period of Lent is still described as “the six weeks of the fast”, the seven days of Holy Week not being reckoned in.
Holy Week Liturgies:
The liturgies for Holy Week 2018 (Holy Thursday (March 29), Good Friday (March 30) and the Easter Vigil (March 31)) will take place at Our Lady of the Assumption Church. These are the reasons they will take place in Our Lady of the Assumption instead of St. Bernard’s:
Firstly, the number of our parishioners has grown and based on the attendance at the Holy Week liturgies last year, in particular Good Friday, St. Bernard’s church has become too small to accommodate our entire parish community. The Church envisions that a parish’s celebration of the Holy Week liturgies take place in one church building as opposed to having the various celebrations in multiple locations.
Secondly, Fr. Cristino Bouvette, Director of Vocations for the Diocese of Calgary, and the University of Calgary Catholic Community, have asked that they be able to use St. Bernard’s church for their Holy Week liturgies. While the university community have used our churches in the past for the Easter Vigil, they have also requested to have celebrations for their community on Holy Thursday and Good Friday at St. Bernard’s. St. Bernard’s church is the ideal size for their community.
Finally, Emmanuel Syrian Orthodox Community, who have been weekly meeting at St. Bernard’s for their Sunday Divine Liturgy, have also inquired about using St. Bernard’s church for some of their own Holy Week celebrations.
Easter Sunday Mass (April 1st) will take place at 9:00am at St. Bernard’s and at 11:00am at Our Lady of the Assumption.
Thank you for your understanding in regards to this matter.
Peace, Fr. Nathan
The Holy Father invites the whole Church to observe the Friday of the first week of Lent, 23rd of February, as a day of prayer and fasting for peace in the many areas of conflict throughout the world, particularly the Democratic Republic of the Congo and South Sudan. Initiatives may include: The Way of the Cross (adapted for Peace in Congo and South Sudan), Eucharistic Adoration and Prayer Service.
- You might find some resources that you can adapt at the Development and Peace website, such as their Way of the Cross, Prayers of the Faithful or Reflections: https://www.devp.org (under Resources / Together for Peace / Way of the Cross).
- More resources will be posted as soon as they are available.
Lenten Soup Dinners and Stations of the Cross:
Beginning on Friday February 16th, we will resume our Parish’s Lenten custom of hosting Friday Soup Dinners, followed by the praying of the Stations of the Cross. The Soup Dinner will begin at 6:00pm and the Stations of the Cross at 7:00pm.
Please help to contribute to these dinners by making a meatless soup and/or providing bread and buns. We are also asking that you RVSP for dinner so we know how much soup and bread needs to be provided. To volunteer to provide soup and bread for the dinners and to RSVP, please contact Monique Tobicoe at email@example.com or (403) 288-4986.
The Lenten Dinners/Stations of the Cross will occur on the following dates:
Friday February 16th at Our Lady of the Assumption
Friday February 23rd at St. Bernard’s
Friday March 2nd at Our Lady of the Assumption
Friday March 9th at St. Bernard’s
Friday March 16th at Our Lady of the Assumption
Friday March 23rd at St. Bernard’s
Feast days for the coming week:
Sunday – Feb.18 – Bl. John of Friesole
Monday – Feb.19 – St.Conrad of Piacenza
Tuesday – Feb.20 – Sts. Jacinta & Franciso Marto
Wednesday – Feb.21 – St.Peter Damian
Thursday – Feb.22 – Chair of St.Peter
Friday – Feb.23 – St.Polycarp
Saturday – Feb.24 – Bl.Luke Belludi
HAC for Fr.Nathan
We have added a page with a selection of Prayer Cards for your enjoyment and use. These may be accessed from the main page menu, or from this link.
These cards are in Adobe PDF format, and will require a PDF viewer for viewing and printing.
images – courtesy and used with permission – www.freebibleimages.org – copyright LUMO Project
God’s Word and Spirit sustains those who seek God’s will
Matthew, Mark, and Luke tell us in their Gospel accounts that Jesus was led by the Holy Spirit into the wilderness. Mark states it most emphatically: “The Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness” (Mark 1:12). Why was Jesus compelled to seek solitude for such a lengthy period? Was it simply a test to prepare him for his ministry? Or did Satan want to lure him into a trap? The word tempt in English usually means to entice to sin or wrong-doing. The scriptural word here also means test in the sense of proving and purifying someone to see if there are ready for the task at hand. We test pilots to see that they are fit to fly. Likewise God tests his servants to see if they are fit to be used by him.
God tested Abraham to prove his faith. The Israelites were sorely tested in Egypt before God delivered them from their enemies. Jesus was no exception to this testing. Satan, in turn, did his best to entice Jesus to chose his own will over the will of his Father in heaven. Despite his weakened condition, due to fatigue and lack of food for 40 days, Jesus steadfastly rejected Satan’s subtle and not so subtle temptations. Where did Jesus find his strength to survive the desert’s harsh conditions and the tempter’s seduction? He fed on his Father’s word and found strength in doing his will. Satan will surely tempt us and will try his best to get us to choose our will over God’s will. If he can’t make us renounce our faith or sin mortally, he will then try to get us to make choices that will lead us, little by little, away from what God wants for us.
As soon as John the Baptist had finished his ministry, Jesus began his in Galilee, his home district. John’s enemies had sought to silence him, but the Gospel cannot be silenced. Jesus proclaimed that the time of restoration proclaimed by the prophets was now being fulfilled in his very person and that the kingdom of God was at hand. What is the kingdom of God? The word “kingdom” means something more than a territory or an area of land. It literally means “sovereignty” or “reign” and the power to “rule” and exercise authority. The prophets announced that God would establish a kingdom not just for one nation or people but for the whole world. God sent us his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, not to establish an earthly kingdom but to bring us into his heavenly kingdom – a kingdom ruled by justice, truth, peace, and holiness. The kingdom of God is the central theme of Jesus’ mission. It’s the core of his Gospel message.
Two conditions for the kingdom – repent and believe
How do we enter the kingdom of God? In announcing the good news of the Gospel Jesus gave two explicit things each of us must do in order to receive the kingdom of God: repent and believe. Repent means to turn away from sin and wrong-doing in order to follow God’s way of love, truth, and moral goodness. When we submit to God’s rule in our lives and believe in the Gospel message the Lord Jesus gives us the grace and power to live a new way of life as citizens of his kingdom. He gives us grace to renounce the kingdom of darkness ruled by pride, sin, and Satan, the father of lies (John 8:44) and the ruler of this present world (John 12:31). Repentance is the first step to surrendering my will and my life to God. Repentance means to change – to change my way of thinking, my attitude, my disposition, and the way I choose to live my life – so that the Lord Jesus can be the Master and Ruler of my heart, mind, and will. Whatever stands in the way of God’s will and plan for my life must be surrendered to him – my sinful pride, my rebellious attitude, and stubborn will to do as I please rather than as God pleases. If I am only sorry for the consequences of my own sinful ways, I will very likely keep repeating the same sins that control my thoughts and actions. True repentance requires a contrite heart and true sorrow for sin (Psalm 51:17) and a firm resolution to avoid the near occasion of sin. The Lord Jesus gives us the grace to see sin for what it really is – a rejection of his love, truth, and wisdom for our lives and a refusal to do what he says is right and good for us. His grace brings pardon and freedom from guilt, and breaks the power of bondage to sin in our lives through the strength and help of the Holy Spirit who dwells within us. If we yield to the Holy Spirit and not to our sinful inclinations, we will find the strength and help we need to turn away from all wrong-doing and whatever else might keep us from living in his truth and love.
To believe is to take Jesus at his word and to recognize that God loved us so much that he sent his only begotten Son to free us from bondage to sin and harmful desires. God made the supreme sacrifice of his Son on the cross to bring us back to a relationship of peace, friendship, and unity with our Father in heaven. He is our Father and he wants us to live in joy and freedom as his beloved sons and daughters. God loved us first and he invites us in love to surrender our lives to him. Do you believe in the Gospel -the good news of Jesus Christ – and in the power of the Holy Spirit who transforms each one of us into the likeness of Christ?
Daily Quote from the early church fathers: The call to repentance, by Chromatius (died 406 AD)
“The voice of the Lord urging the people to repentance – the Holy Spirit made it known to the people that they might take heed, saying, ‘Today, when you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, as in the day of testing in the wilderness’ (Psalm 95:8). In the same psalm above, he made clear that he was urging the sinful people to repentance and showed the state of a repentant soul, saying, ‘Come, let us fall down before him and lament before the Lord who made us, for he is our God’ (Psalm 95:6-7). The Lord urges the people to repentance, and he promises to pardon their sins, according to Isaiah’s words: ‘I, even I, am the one who wipes out your iniquities, and I will not be mindful of your sins. But you be mindful, declare first your iniquities that you may be justified’ (Isaiah 43:25-26). Rightly then does the Lord urge the people to repentance when he says, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand,’ so that through this confession of sins they may be made worthy to approach the kingdom of heaven.” (excerpt from TRACTATE ON MATTHEW 15.3)
[Note: Chromatius was an early Christian scholar and bishop of Aquileia, Italy. He was a close friend of John Chrysostom and Jerome. He died in 406 AD. Jerome described him as a “most learned and most holy man.”]
Text and reflections, courtesy and used with permission – dailyscripture.net
“Lord Jesus, your word is life, joy, wisdom, and strength for me. Fill me with your Holy Spirit that I may have the strength and courage to embrace your will in all things and to renounce whatever is contrary to your will for me.”
HAC for Fr.Nathan
There will be a time of Eucharistic Adoration on the First Friday of every month. It will take place at Our Lady of the Assumption Church following the 9:00 am Mass and end with Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament at 11:00 am. All are welcome to join us for a time of silent prayer and adoration before Our Eucharistic Lord.