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Tuesday, March 4, 2014
How to Prepare for Lent

Our Lord tells us, as recorded in Scripture, "Unless you shall do penance, you shall all likewise perish" (Luke 13:3). And St. John the Baptist announced the coming of the Saviour with the ominous admonition, "Do penance: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." (Matt. 3:2).

Dead Christ Mourned by the Angels, Boston Museum

Stations of the Cross CD & Booklet is pleased to sponsor with Holy Innocents Catholic School in providing the Stations of the Cross CD & Way of the Cross Booklet. Your purchase will greatly benefit the children of Holy Innocents School, who will receive 90% of the purchase price.

As Christ said, “Take up you cross and follow Me.” Who better than Our Lord knows what we suffer. Make the Benedictine Way of the Cross while following along with our beautiful Stations of the Cross booklet filled with colored mosaic pictures. Hear the heavenly voices of the children as they sing Stabat Mater Dolorosa. You will love this CD because it is easy to meditate on the Passion of Our Lord as you make the Way of the Cross.  The CD includes all fourteen Stations of the Cross with the beautiful Stabat Mater Dolorosa between each Station.

Also included on the CD are a number of Lenten hymns including Now Are the Days of Humblest Prayer, Attende Domine, Parce Domine, What a Sea of Tears and Sorrows, He Who Once in Righteous Vengenance, Adoramus te Christe, Overwhelmed in Depths of Woe, and several others!

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Importance of Lent

With regard to prayer, St. Paul tells us to "Pray without ceasing." (1 Thess. 5:17). And Our dear Lord advises us, "Amen, amen I say to you: if you ask the Father anything in my name, he will give it you." (John 16:23). Also He said, "If you abide in me [i.e., "live in Me," or "stay in the state of grace"], and my words abide ["live"] in you, you shall ask whatever you will, and it shall be done unto you." (John 15:7). Further, Our Lord has said, "Watch ye, therefore, praying at all times, that you may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that are to come, and to stand before the Son of man." (Luke 21:36). And in the Book of Judith we read, "Know ye that the Lord will hear your prayers, if you continue with perseverance in fastings and prayers in the sight of the Lord." (Judith 4:11).

Our obligation to do apostolic work, no matter who we are, is seen in the general admonition of St. John the Baptist, ". . .make straight the way of the Lord . . ." (In. 1:23; Is. 40:3). The Church has used this counsel in her Advent liturgy, so we know it applies to all—at least to the extent that all must pray and do penance for the success of the Church's missionary activity, help support it financially—and wherever possible take an active part in the conversion or reconversion of those we know.

The primary purpose of Lent, of course, is to help us become truly holy—and we should work toward this goal during Lent by extra prayer, penance, good works, almsgiving, attendance at Mass and reception of the Sacraments (the chief sources of grace).

Fasting of St. Charles Borromeo, the Patron Saint of

Practices for Lent

As such, let us consider the following 5 PIOUS PRACTICES FOR CATHOLICS TO PRACTICE DURING LENT:

1. Abstain from Meat

We should all know that Catholics are required to abstain from all meat on Ash Wednesday, Good Friday, and all the Fridays of Lent.  This is the minimum requirement and violation of this law is a mortal sin and, if you die without Confession and Contrition, for this sin your soul will be damned.

Yet, certainly we can do more than the simple minimum practice for Lent?  Catholics could go further and maintain the older discipline of fasting and partially abstaining from meat on all weekdays of Lent unless a 1st Class Feast falls during the week (e.g. 1st Class Feast of St. Joseph on March 19).  By partial abstinence, a person is allowed to eat mea t only at the major meal.
2. Fasting

On Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, all Catholics are bound under pain of mortal sin to fast.  Those between 18 and 59 years of age (Can. 1252), are also bound to fast on these two days . Only one normal-sized meal and two smaller meals that do not equal the normal meal are allowed. Eating between meals, however, is prohibited although fruit juices and milk are allowed. This is the minimum under the current Code of Canon Law.

What should a pious Catholic do?   All days of Lent but Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and 1st Class Feasts are days for us to fast and partially abstain from meat. If you fast all of these days, you will have fasted the 40 Days of Lent, as Christ did in the desert.

See laws of fasting and abstinence for more informatio n.

3. Limit (i.e. Remove) your Television During Lent

Even if you have not read Television: The Soul at Risk (and we do highly recommend it), the television is by most accounts, an occasion of sin.  Limit your television to only a few hours a day for your entire family or - better yet - unplug it all together.  Television is a passive activity not only leading to obesity and passivity but allowing indecent speech and dress as well as suggestive dialogue and environments into our very hopes.  Unplug it for Lent.  And think about keeping it unplugged afterward.

4. Daily Rosary

If you are not praying the daily Rosary, you should be.  Our Lady appeared to three shepherd children in Fatima. These three shepherd children were given messages and a miracle was even performed there that was witnessed by thousands. In the miracle on Oct 13, 1917, the sun danced, changed colors, and was hurled towards earth as if to destroy it. The sun then rose again in its original position. This event was witnessed be 70,000 thousands of people! It's been called, the Miracle of the Sun.

Before this on May 13, 1917, Our Lady told the 3 children (Lucia, Jacinta, and Francisco): "Say the Rosary every day to obtain peace for the world and the end of the war." In an apparition on July 13, she requested devotion to her Immaculate Heart and Communions of reparation on the first Saturday of each month. In a September 13th apparition, she stressed the importance of the daily Rosary, and in her final apparition, she said, "I am the Lady of the Rosary."

So pray the Rosary daily - and use Lent to start if you need to.

5. Wear the Brown Scapular

First, if you were not traditionally invested in the Brown Scapular (or if you are uncertain), find a Catholic priest to be properly enrolled in the Confraternity of the Brown Scapular.  Recall that by the wearing of the Brown Scapular, Mary promises to pray for us at the hour of death. And more than that - intercede with God to obtain the graces we need to remain in the state of grace. And if we are in a state of mortal sin, she will intercede for us that sanctifying grace may come back into our soul before we die. Mary also promises that the Scapular will be “a safeguard in danger.” Those are the two promi ses by Mary for those that wear the Scapular.

While those who wear the Scapular are required to fast on Wednesdays and Saturdays in addition to the daily prayer of the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary, priests nearly always dispense the Faithful to instead simply pray the Rosary Daily (See #4).

If you lost your Brown Scapular, simply purchase one online.  The Brown Scapular does not have to be blessed before it is worn, unlike most Sacramentals.

Read more pious practices...


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