From the always excellent Ars Orandi, a treasure trove of Catholic wisdom and beauty – not only the texts are excellent, but the magnificence and quality of the images published is simply way above what I have seen anywhere else – a short but extremely fitting excerpt from Dom Guéranger.
You can do much worse than visit this exemplary blog regularly.
The Liturgical Year
by Dom Guéranger, O.S.B.
The prophet, speaking to us in God’s name, assures us that, if we sincerely desire our conversion, we shall find mercy. The infinite distance which lies between the sovereign holiness of God and the soul that is defiled by sin is no obstacle to the reconciliation between the creature and the Creator. The goodness of God is omnipotent; it can create a clean heart in him that repents, and where sin abounded it can make grace abound more than ever sin abounded. The word of pardon will come down from heaven, like plentiful rain upon parched land, and that land will yield a rich harvest. But let the sinner give ear to the rest of the prophecy. Is man at liberty to accept or refuse this word that comes from heaven? May he, for the present, neglect it, in the hope that he will give it a welcome later on, when his life is at its close? No; God says to us by the prophet: “Seek ye the Lord, while He may be found; call ye upon Him, while He is near.” We cannot, therefore, find the Lord just when it suits our fickle humour; His nearness to us is not always the same. Let us take heed; God has His times; the time for mercy may be followed by the time for justice. Jonas went through the streets of the proud city, and cried out: “Yet forty days, and Ninive shall be destroyed.” Ninive did not allow the forty days to pass without returning to the Lord: she put on sackcloth and ashes, she fasted, and she was spared. Let us imitate the earnest repentance of this guilty city; let us not set divine justice at defiance by refusing to do penance, or by doing it negligently. This Lent is, perhaps, the last God’s mercy will grant us. If we put off our conversion, God may refuse us another such opportunity. Let us meditate upon these words of the apostle, which repeat the truth told us in today’s Epistle: “The earth that drinketh in the rain which cometh often upon it, and bringeth forth herbs, meet for them by whom it is tilled, receiveth blessing from God; but that which bringeth forth thorns and briars is reprobate, and very near unto a curse, whose end is to be burnt.”
I have read on another blog a suggestion to pray the Rosary every day during Lent for the end of the SSPX-Vatican controversy.
Brilliant idea, but I think I have an even better one: to pray the Rosary every day for the sake of your soul.
I have written about it here and will therefore not repeat myself. What I would like to point out today is that Lent seems to me an ideal moment to take that momentum which could carry one praying the rosary every day after the end of Lent.
As always, the most difficult phase is the start, and this is where we often need a special incentive, a kick of some sort, a special propeller. Whilst for many this can be a particular difficult period, for others it might simply be the desire to make a special effort during Lent.
You will soon notice that, as always in life, once the habit starts to kick in everything comes easier, and soon the Rosary will be part of your daily routine; a non entirely pleasant perhaps at the beginning, something lived like a penance rather than a joy; but in time, you will see this habit will become more and more dear to you, a daily companion in the midst of life’s troubles, and a welcome place of quiet serenity in the happier days.
I have starting praying the Rosary every day now several years ago, and have not skipped one single day since. As the years go by, I have a growing awareness that together with Mass attendance, the daily Rosary is the single biggest contribution I bring toward my (hoped for) salvation.
I do not suggest you start “light”, for example with two rosaries a week. In my simple opinion, th eonly effective way to form a habit is to do something every day, and to decide there will be no day without it. As I started this, I decided I had no right to sleep until I had finished praying a proper rosary. It is much easier to get the right mindset at the start than to try to stick to a half-formed resolution.
A good recited rosary will take anywhere between, say, 17 and 20 minutes. By sixteen waking hours a day, this is a maximum of 2% of your waking time. Even taking away work, this is still 4% of your non-working time.
A Rosary doesn’t have to be prayed all at once, which means you do not have to find a 20 minutes spot. You can pray it a decade at a time, and the introduction (the one with the Creed) is even shorter. The train, the walk to the train station, the walk to the office, the walk from the office, are all precious occasions for a rosary. You won’t be run over by a car and if it truly has to happen, hey, then I prefer to be run over whilst praying the Rosary, please… 😉
But really, the key to your motivation should be the Rosary promises I have discussed in the blog post mentioned above. Who would want to risk compromising his chances for the sake of 4% of his waking time?
Read on Rorate Caeli about this beautiful Lenten indulgence.
I point out that:1) the “usual conditions” apply: communion, confession. It is generally believed (unless I am mistaken) that a leeway of a reasonable number of days for the confession is acceptable. Therefore, you might go to Mass tomorrow and to confession on Saturday or, if you can’t make it, the following one. During Lent you will notice the possibility of confession might be increased in many churches. 2) I am sceptical about this “easy plenary indulgence” thing, which I suspect is rather a fruit of modern times. I always remember what St Philip Neri had to say on the matter, because I really can’t see myself doing anything wrong if I do. I will reblog the relevant post. I suggest everyone who can gives it a try. Even if we do not get th eplenary indulgence, the day we die these little efforts might do all the difference. Mundabor
Beautiful blog post from Domine, Da Mihi Hanc Aquam.
As Lent is the main “confession time” and the only time of the year many Catholics will approach the confessional (and they are already clearly in front of the very many who will not do it because they believe – possibly with the complicity or, worse, acquiescence of their priest – that they can be their own confessors), it is very fitting to lead your attention to this beautifully written, very open, very encouraging piece of sound catholic advice.
I found the one about the “excuse, explanation or decoration” rather funny (once at the Oratory there was an entire homily on the matter, it tells you who cares for the sacraments and who doesn’t) and the one about “thine own sins ans no one else’s” outright amusing, but the entire piece is enjoyable and edifying at the same time.
Now that we are in the midst of Lent, perhaps this will help the one or the other “undecided” or lapsed catholic on the brink of coming back to sacramental life to take the plunge.
To my knowledge, people don’t die on the confessional and if they do, well I suppose it is because of a heart attack; but even so, I’d rather die of a heart attack just after the absolution than discover after death that I really, really needed one.