Brother John Raymond
Note: Although the following Lenten dates are off for the current year I hope you will still find it beneficial.
Lent is a time of sacrifice. Traditionally we begin this season by giving up something. This is only one aspect of Lent. It is also a season of conversion. We all need conversion. Love does not know half-giving. Love only understands a total gift. Jesus wants all our love. He gave us all of His. Hopefully this calendar can help to lead us to this total conversion. But it does not have to end with Lent. Keep up the practices suggested here. Make God the number one priority in your life. If you do this everything else in your life will fall into place!
Both Ash Wednesday and Good Friday are days of fast and abstinence. All the Fridays of Lent are days of abstinence. Fast means that you can have one main meal and two smaller ones (these two smaller ones added together cannot exceed the main meal). In between these meals one cannot have food. Abstinence means that no meat or things made from meat can be eaten on that day. The fasting law applies to ages 21 to 59 inclusive. The abstinence law applies beginning at age 14 and then applies to everyone.
February 21 Ash Wednesday - Fast and Abstinence - First Reading: Joel 2:12-18.
Second Reading : 2Cor. 5:20 -6:2. Gospel Mt 6:1-6, 16-18.
In various apparitions Our Blessed Mother is asking for repentance and conversion. Let us begin Lent with a good examination of conscience and confession.
22 Thursday - Chair of St. Peter - First Reading: Dt 30:15-20. Gospel Lk 9:22-25 Thursday is traditionally dedicated to devotion to the Holy Eucharist. Do we show by our actions the belief we profess in the Real Presence? Resolve never to pass a Catholic church without some sign of respect, such as making the Sign of the Cross, for Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament.
23 Friday - Abstinence - First Friday - First Reading: Is 58:1-9. Gospel Mt
It has always been a Catholic tradition to make the Way of the Cross on Fridays during Lent. If we cannot make them in our parish church let us at least make them at home. Our Lord has promised many graces to those who practice this devotion.
24 Saturday - First Saturday - Ss. Perpetua & Felicity - First Reading: Is
58:9-14. Gospel Lk 5:27-32.
The grace of Final Perseverance was promised by Our Lady to those who on five consecutive First Saturdays 1. Pray five decades of the Holy Rosary. 2. Go to Confession eight days (before or after) the First Saturday. 3. Receive Holy Communion in reparation for the sins committed against Her. 4. Spend 15 minutes meditating on the Mysteries of the Rosary. Let us begin this devotion today!
25 First Sunday of Lent - First Reading: Gn 9:8-15. Second Reading: 1Pt 3:18-22.
Gospel Mk 1:12-15.
Today is a day of rest. Jesus said "The Sabbath was made for man." We need to refresh our bodies and souls. God made us and He knows what is best. Learn to rest on Sunday. Spend some time in silence in Church or your room. Read a good Catholic book or magazine. Turn your mind to God this day.
26 Monday - St. Frances of Rome - First Reading: Lv 19:1-2, 11-18. Gospel Mt
St. Frances of Rome worked among the poor. Lent is also a time of almsgiving. Perhaps we cannot physically help the poor but we can send a donation to a group that helps them. Find a good Catholic charity and send a donation today.
27 Tuesday - First Reading: Is 55:10-11. Mt 6:7-15.
Let us examine ourselves again today. Where do we fail most? In thoughts, words or actions? Resolve to fight against this particular failing. Ask God's grace to overcome it. It can be done. St. Frances de Sales had a terrible temper. He prayed and worked on this fault. He became very patient and is now known as the Gentleman Saint!
28 Wednesday - First Reading: Jonah 3:1-10. Gospel Lk 11:29-32.
Jonah was sent to preach repentance to the people of Ninevah. They repented in sack cloth and ashes. Our Lady in Her apparitions throughout the world is preaching repentance. She has said many people are spreading Her messages but few are living them. Let us learn about these messages and LIVE them!
29 Thursday - First Reading: Est 12:14-16, 23-25. Gospel Mt 7:7-12.
Do we value the Holy Eucharist enough? In the desert the Jews in the Old Testament survived on the Manna God gave them everyday. God gives us the Holy Eucharist everday. Can we survive without it? Resolve to receive more frequently. The Church now allows us to receive twice a day as long as we attend the full second Mass. Also I suggest that those who receive Holy Communion in the hand choose to receive on the tongue. When one receives in the hand, due to the fragile nature of the Host, Pieces or Particles can break off - and These are Jesus!
March 1 Friday - Abstinence - First Reading: Ez 18:21-28. Gospel Mt 5:20-26.
Our Blessed Mother has encouraged us to fast on bread and water on Fridays as the best form of fasting. If we cannot do this at least let us take seriously our obligation to do one real penance today.
14 Saturday - First Reading: Dt 26:16-19. Gospel Mt 5:43-48.
This day is dedicated to Our Lady. She wishes all Catholics to wear Her symbol - the Brown Scapular. Those who wear Her garment offer a continual prayer imploring Her maternal protection. For a free blessed Scapular send a stamped business-size envelope to:
JMJ, P.O. Box 381, Menomonee Falls, WI. 53052
15 Second Sunday of Lent - First Reading: Gn 22:1-2, 9:10-13,15-18. Second
Reading: Rom 8:31-34. Gospel Mt 9:2-10.
Perhaps today would be a good day to go for a walk alone. Walk with Jesus in silence. Find your joy in Him and your joy will be complete!
16 Monday - First Reading: Dn 9:4-10. Gospel Lk 6:36-38.
Time to help the poor again. You might know someone in need. Decide to help that person today. It could be spiritual poverty or material poverty.
17 Tuesday - St. Patrick - First Reading: Is 1:10, 16-20. Gospel Mt.23:1-12.
St. Patrick converted Ireland to Christianity. Is there someone we know who needs to be converted? Let us befriend them today. Make a friend. Be a friend. Bring the friend to Christ today.
18 Wednesday - St. Cyril of Jerusalem - First Reading: Jer 18:18-20. Gospel Mt
Reflection day! How are we doing with our resolution of last Tuesday? Are we keeping it? If not let's get back on track. You can do it with God's help. As Jesus said "With man it is impossible but with God all things are possible."
19 Thursday - St. Joseph - First Reading: Jer 17:5-10. Gospel Lk 16:19-31.
Work can be offered as our part in the Redemption, our part to help save souls. St. Joseph became a saint as a carpenter. Let us learn from this meek and humble Saint how to sanctify our work. Let us offer our work to Jesus. Let us strive to be like St. Joseph. And let us turn to him for both material and spiritual help. St. Joseph nevers fails!
20 Friday - Abstinence - First Reading: Gn 37:3-4,12-13,17-28. Gospel Mt
Do we have a Cross or Crucifix in our home or office? Let us remind ourselves of Jesus by putting one up. Whenever sufferings come our way today let's look at our Crucifix. Perhaps our sufferings are not as bad as we think. We can, by God's design, cooperate in the world's redemption. We do this by offering, in union with Jesus, our sufferings to God.
21 Saturday - First Reading: Mi 7:14-15. 18-20. Gospel Lk 15:1-3,11-32.
Our Lady has asked that the Holy Rosary to be said daily. She has even asked that we say all fifteen decades. Let us increase our devotion to the Holy Rosary. We all need prayers and Our Lady's help. Let us start today!
22 Third Sunday of Lent - First Reading: Ex 20:1-17 or 20:1-3,7-8,12-17. Second
Reading: 1Cor 1:22-25. Gospel Jn 2:13-15.
Do we support our local parish enough? Let us give a little more this Lent to our parish. Jesus looks at the love and sacrifice that goes into our giving. He will remember our extra generosity.
23 Monday - St. Turibius de Mongrovejo - First Reading: 2Kgs 5:1-15. Gospel Lk
If you have any money left over from yesterday, today it's time to give again! Mother Teresa of Calcutta said, "Give until it hurts." Here is a charity that helps the poor in the Philippines and elsewhere. It's dedicated to helping the poor in honor of Our Lady, Mother of the Poor.
Mary's Bread, 2241 Englewood Road, Englewood, FL 34223
24 Tuesday - First Reading: Dn 3:25,34-43. Gospel Mt 18:21-35.
This is the halfway point. Twenty days of Lent have gone by. How are we doing? Resolve to try harder and pray harder. Perseverence is the key to success.
25 Wednesday - Annunciation - First Reading: Dt 4:1. 5-9. Gospel Mt 5:17-19.
On this day Our Blessed Mother gave Her unconditional "Yes" to God's Will. She always did what was most pleasing to God. Do we consider in our actions that which will be most pleasing to God? Ask your Heavenly Mother to help you to make all your decisions, little or big, for His Glory.
26 Thursday - First Reading: Jer 7:23-28. Gospel Lk 11:14-23.
After the reception of Holy Communion it is believed that it takes about 15 minutes for the Sacred Host to be "dissolved." Therefore Jesus is really present within us for quite some time after receiving Him. Do we use this time well? The saints received some of their greatest graces during this time. Stay after Mass or even sit in your car but keep Jesus company for a time. Talk or Listen to Him. He is there to help you. "Ask and you shall receive. Seek and you will find. Knock and it will be opened to you."
27 Friday - Abstinence - First Reading: Hos 14:2-10. Gospel Mk 12:28-34.
Perhaps now you have a Crucifix in your home or office. Now put one in your car or hang a Rosary over your rear view mirror. It will remind you to say the Rosary while driving or when waiting in those traffic jams!
28 Saturday - First Reading: Hos 6:1-6. Gospel Lk 18:9-14.
Let's prepare for Sunday today and really rest tomorrow. Some Jews do all their cooking for the Sabbath the day before. This week let us prepare our Sunday meal the day before, one that can be easily reheated tomorrow.
29 Laetare Sunday - First Reading: 2Chr 36:14-17,19-23. Second Reading: Eph
2:4-10. Gospel Jn 3:14-21.
"Laetare" means "rejoice" in Latin. The Church wishes us today to rest from our Lenten penances and rejoice. Today is up to you. But rejoice!
30 Monday - First Reading: Is 65:17-21. Gospel Jn 4:43-54
Today is alms day again. Sacrifice going out to eat at a restuarant this week and send the money to: Food For the Poor, 1301 W. Copans Rd., Pompano Beach, FL 33064
31 Tuesday - First Reading: Ez 47:1-9,12. Gospel Jn:5:1-3,5-16.
In Her apparitions Our Blessed Mother has asked us to avoid the Movies and television. Let us seriously resolve to watch ONLY what is necessary on T.V. Time is precious so don't waste it!
April 1 Wednesday - First Reading: Is 49:8-15. Gospel Jn 5:17-30
Today is reflection day. Am I still fighting my most common failing? We sometimes believe that the Saints did not have these struggles. Yet they were human just like us and sometimes had far worse failings to struggle with.
2 Thursday - Francis of Paola - First Reading: Ex 32:7-14. Gospel Jn 5:31-47.
Let us concentrate on reverence today. Do I have a reverent attitude when I am in church? Do I thoughtfully genuflect to Our Lord in the tabernacle? Do I remain silent in Church?
3 Friday - Abstinence - First Friday - First Reading: Wis 2:1, 12-22. Gospel Jn
Our Lord has asked us to make reparation to His Sacred Heart by receiving Holy Communion on Nine Consecutive First Fridays. He promised the grace of Final Perseverence (to die in the state of Grace) to those who do so. Let us start this practice today.
4 Saturday - St. Isidore of Seville - First Saturday - First Reading: Jer
11:18-20. Gospel Jn 7:40-53.
We probably will drive somewhere today. This is the day to learn to enjoy silence. Your car with the windows closed and the radio turned off gives you some quiet time. We need silence to hear God. Silence can be very enjoyable!
5 Fifth Sunday of Lent - St. Vincent Ferrer - First Reading: Jer 31:31-34. Second
Reading: Heb 5:7-9. Gospel Jn 12:20-33.
Let's try to stay together as a family today. Go to Mass as a family. Eat together. Recreate together. Be together!
6 Monday - First Reading: Dn 13:1-9,15-17,19-30,33-62 or 13:41-62. Gospel Jn
Today think about our CONSUMER society. People keep buying more and more believing that it will make them happy. Be happy with what you have. Desire treasure in Heaven which will last forever.
7 Tuesday - St. John Baptist de la Salle - First Reading: Nm 21:4-9. Gospel Jn
Today continue, or return to, the custom of praying before and after meals. Thank God for the food which he has provided for you. Many others have nothing to eat. Do not let the criticism of others stop you from this practice, even in public.
8 Wednesday - First Reading: Dn 3:14-20, 91-92,95. Gospel Jn 8:31-42.
We need to set up a regular schedule for our spiritual life. Today work out a daily time for spiritual reading (Sacred Scripture, Lives of the Saints, etc.) and meditative prayer. Be faithful to it!
9 Thursday - First Reading: Gn 17:3-9. Gospel Jn 8:51-59.
Be an apostle of the Holy Eucharist today. Encourage others to follow the Eucharistic suggestions from the past Thursdays. Oh, by the way, they might not listen if you are not doing them yourself.
10 Friday - Abstinence - First Reading: Jer 20:10-13. Gospel Jn 10:31-42.
Jesus died at 3:00. Let us pause at this hour, the Hour of Mercy, and thank Him for suffering and dying to save us. Implore His mercy on yourself and on the whole world. Perhaps you could do this every day at 3:00.
11 Saturday - St. Stanislaus - First Reading: Ez 37:21-28. Gospel Jn 11:45-57.
Other cultures have a real sense of Mary as their Mother.The Filipinos call Our Lady "Mama Mary." Reflect today on your relationship with Our Mother. Do you turn to Her often and trustingly for help and guidance?
12 Palm Sunday - First Reading: Is 50:4-7. Phil 2:6-11. Mk 14:1,15:47 or 15:1-3
Our Lord told the Spanish mystic, Sister Josefa Menendez, His plan for her during Holy Week was: "You will devote these days to adoring My Divine Person outraged by the torments of the Passion. Thus in your adoration, I shall find relief for My great sadness and bitterness." (The following days have quotations from what Our Blessed Lord and Our Lady said to this mystic.)
13 Monday - St. Martin I - First Reading: Is 42:1-7. Gospel Jn 12:1-11.
"Today I want you to keep Me company and share My sorrow in the prison. Consider how My Heart suffers from loneliness, for all have forsaken Me. My friends have all abandoned Me."
14 Tuesday - First Reading: Is 49:1-6. Gospel Jn 13:21-33, 36-38.
"Today come, stay with Me. Come quite close to Me to defend Me from the insults and outrages to which I was subjected in the presence of Herod. Contemplate the shame and the confusion with which I listened to the derision poured on Me by that man."
15 Wednesday - First Reading: Is 50:4-9. Gospel Mt 26: 14-25.
"The Hour has come! The executioners stretch Me upon the Cross. They violently seize and extend My arms that My hands may reach the holes they have prepared in the wood. Having nailed My hands, they pull without pity at My feet; My wounds burst open afresh, the nerves are severed and the bones dislocated. The torture is unspeakable!"
16 Holy Thursday - First Reading: Ex 12:1-8, 11-14. Second Reading: 1Cor 11:23-26.
Gospel Jn 13:1-15.
Our Lord's words about His institution of the Holy Eucharist. "Love gives Itself as food to Its own and this food is the substance which gives them their life and sustains them. Love surrenders Itself in totality. The Holy Eucharist is love to the extreme of folly."
17 Good Friday - Fast and Abstinence - First Reading: Is 52:13-53, 12. Second
Reading: Heb 4:14-16, 5:7-9. Gospel Jn 18:1-19, 42.
"Father, forgive them for they know not what they do. They have not known Him Who is their life. On My shoulders they have heaped the fury of their iniquities. But I beseech Thee, Father, heap upon them the full measure of Thy mercy."
18 Holy Saturday - Our Lady said "See, my child, the state to which His love for souls has reduced Him. He Whom you see in so sad and pitiable a state is My Son. Love has driven Him to His death. It is love that constrains Him to make all men brethren by giving them all His own Mother."
19 Easter Sunday - Rejoice! Some day you will rise too. Thank Jesus for this great gift and have a Holy, Happy, and Blessed Easter. Don't forget that next Sunday is DIVINE MERCY SUNDAY. Jesus promised total remission of all punishment due to sin for those who go to confession (can be eight days before or after) and receive Holy Communion on that day.
Reprinted with permission from Catholic Faith and Family, 33 Rossotto Drive, Hamden, CT 06514