February 2020: Prayers and Reflections
Prayers and Reflections
What is original sin?
One day an engineer (a good engineer) gave me the most beautiful definition of original sin that I have so far heard – or, shall we say, a very appealing and simple one. From his engineering experience, he knows that for every gadget you need an instruction manual. If I fail to follow the instructions in the manual, then I cannot complain if the piece of equipment doesn’t work. This engineer put it to me that original sin, or, to put it more precisely, the first sin of our ancestors, was the refusal to follow the instruction manual. God has given us a human nature; we are creatures, and written within our creaturely nature, so to speak, are the correct instructions. If we then use ourselves differently, then we have no right to blame God if things do not work. Original sin is the refusal to accept our creaturely nature…
Cardinal Schönborn of Vienna, quoted in Youcat Confirmation Book
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A Blessing of the Sick for use by a Lay Person
A lay person traces the sign of the cross on the forehead of the sick person and says the following prayer of blessing:
Lord and Father, almighty and eternal God,
by your blessing you give us strength and support in our frailty:
turn with kindness toward this your servant N.
Free him/her from all illness and restore him/her to health,
so that in the sure knowledge of your goodness
he/she will gratefully bless your holy name.
Through Christ our Lord.
The Veritas Book of Blessings for All Occasions
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Lent as a Time to Pause
Pause a little, leave behind the unrest and commotion that fill the soul with bitter feelings which never get us anywhere. Pause from this compulsion to a fast-paced life that scatters, divides and ultimately destroys time with family, with friends, with children, with grandparents, and time as a gift… time with God.
Pause for a little while, refrain from the need to show off and be seen by all, to continually appear on the ‘noticeboard’ that makes us forget the value of intimacy and recollection.
Pause for a little while, refrain from haughty looks, from fleeting and pejorative comments that arise from forgetting tenderness, compassion and reverence for the encounter with others, particularly those who are vulnerable, hurt and even immersed in sin and error.
Pause for a little while, refrain from the urge to want to control everything, know everything, destroy everything; this comes from overlooking gratitude for the gift of life and all the good we receive.
Pause for a little while, refrain from the deafening noise that weakens and confuses our hearing, that makes us forget the fruitful and creative power of silence.
Pause for a little while, refrain from the attitude which promotes sterile and unproductive thoughts that arise from isolation and self-pity, and that cause us to forget going out to encounter others to share their burdens and suffering.
Pause for a little while, refrain from the emptiness of everything that is instantaneous, momentary and fleeting, that deprives us of our roots, our ties, of the value of continuity and the awareness of our ongoing journey.
Pause in order to look and contemplate!
Pope Francis, Ash Wednesday, 14 February 2018
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Wit and Wisdom
‘Curiously enough, it is a fear of how grace will change and improve them that keeps many souls away from God. They want God to take them as they are and let them stay that way. They want Him to take away their love of riches, but not their riches – to purge them of the disgust of sin, but not of the pleasure of sin. Some of them equate goodness with indifference to evil and think that God is good if He is broad-minded or tolerant about evil.’
‘Never forget that there are only two philosophies to rule your life: the one of the cross, which starts with the fast and ends with the feast. The other of Satan, which starts with the feast and ends with the headache.’
Venerable Fulton J. Sheen
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