Tag Archives: penance

Quick Takes

Buckfast Abbey

Buckfast Abbey

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I cannot let another blog-post go past without mentioning the new School of the Annunciation. This is a wonderful initiative of the new evangelisation, much needed in this country. I am just going to quote their prayer, which is beautiful:

Mary, Mother of the New Evangelisation, as you prayed continuously with the Church at the beginning (Acts 1:14) be united with us now in prayer. Help us to return to the school of Nazareth and to echo your words in the hour of the Annunciation: “let it be to me according to your word” (Lk. 1:38). Help us to rejoice in the wonder of the Incarnation and with you to treasure all these things and ponder them in our hearts (Lk 2:19). Obtain for us the courage to take our stand with you beside the Cross of your Son (Jn. 19:25) in the hour of Redemption. Guide us as we set out along all the ways of the earth to bring to our brothers and sisters the light of faith, hope and charity (Lk. 1: 39). All to the praise and adoration of the Most Holy Trinity, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit both now and for ever. Amen.

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Pancake_and_crumpet

By now, the last of the pancakes have been polished off, and Lent has truly begun. I somehow feel grateful for Lent this year. In the words of Blessed John Henry Newman,

Let not the year go round and round, without a break and interruption in its circle of pleasures.

This is the time when we refuse to accept “bread” from the devil in our wilderness, but rather, learn the words of Christ to the woman at the well: “I have food to eat of which you do not know” (John 4:32).

I read recently that the virtue of temperance (which is a virtue for all year round, not just Lent) is a memory of the taste of God – meaning we do not need to lose ourselves in other things, but know simply that God alone is enough.

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This Lent, our Bishop is offering a weekly online catechesis on the Gospels of Lent. The first one, on Jesus’ temptations in the desert, is here. There are also questions for reflection to accompany each video.

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Crossofashes

Now is also the time of ‘Purification and Enlightenment’ in the RCIA process, when catechumens and candidates prepare for their Baptism or reception into the Church. If we are catechising or sponsoring someone this Lent, let’s offer our prayer and penance for them. How can we help them live a good Lent? Here are some ideas…

  • Do everything we can to help them prepare for a good Confession (more here) – not only is good catechesis on the sacrament vital, but also practical help – a thorough examination of conscience, talking through the steps, ensuring everything is prepared for the day of the first Confession, arranging somehow to celebrate it afterwards
  • Invite them to make a Holy Hour with you
  • Talk about choosing good spiritual reading for Lent and perhaps buy them a book… Anything by Jacques Philippe is good, e.g. Interior Freedom
  • Offer an extra mortification or penance for them each week
  • ACM offers a wonderful ‘home retreat’ for sponsors – see the Sponsors’ Handbook. Do this for yourself, and offer it for your catechumen / candidate
  • Chat about the Triduum – including all the signs, symbols, meanings – as often as you can. Get them excited…!

Happy Lent, everyone!


Hello Advent!

Our Advent wreath :-)

Our Advent wreath 🙂

First Sunday of Advent in my new need-a-truck-to-take-to-Mass Missal

First Sunday of Advent in my new need-a-truck-to-take-to-Mass Missal

I LOVE Advent. But it is so short this year! It is so hard to get beyond the external joys (spiced biscuits currently cooking in the kitchen and yesterday afternoon was spent in a hot, crowded pub with the heady smells of mulled cider and East 17’s Stay Another Day – now that was a blast from this nineties girl’s past!) and I think we need longer to get into it. For catechesis, too, it means just one session with a purple cloth in the sacred space before the premature Christmas party. Boo 😦

But, since there’s not really an option of campaigning for a longer Advent, we’re just going to have to get into it RIGHT NOW. I realised this morning the best thing we can do to prepare is a deep, thorough examination of conscience. All the lovely externals take us away from looking inside ourselves, which is where God our Father invites us to turn during this season – into our own hearts, the sins we repeat too frequently, the underlying motives – time for a deep clean and a good Confession. This is easier in Lent when everything is starker. In Advent, we need a bit more self-discipline. Maybe we can even use the externals to go within? A priest suggested to me one time, every time you see Christmas lights, say a quick prayer to the Christ-Child.

So, people, let’s not let Advent pass us by! Let’s begin today.