Patrick Foort's Lenten Series, based on the book by Roderick Strange.
Study Session Va. Hope and Everlasting Life.
In the name of the Father...
Here I am, Father, to do your will.
Father, we can address no deeper prayer to you than this. We could never say these words if Someone had not already said them before us: Jesus, your obedient son.
Grant us, Father, the grace to say "Yes", now and right up to the day when we too shall say: "Father, not my will but thine be done".
Reading. Luke 2, vv. 22 — 32
AND when the day came for them to be purified as laid down by the Law of Moses, they took him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord — observing what stands written in the Law of the Lord: "Every first-born male must be consecrated to the Lord" — and also to offer in sacrifice, in accordance with what is said in the Law of the Lord, "a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons".
Now in Jerusalem there was a man named Simeon. He was an upright and devout man; he looked forward to Israel's comforting and the Holy Spirit rested on him.
Prompted by the Spirit he came to the Temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the Law required, he took him into his arms and blessed God; and he said: "Now, Master, you can let your servant go in peace, just as you promised; Because my eyes have seen the salvation which you have prepared for all the nations to see, a light to enlighten the pagans and the glory of your people Israel".
Study of Chapter 13
AS the Pope said, we are an Easter People: that means people of hope. We can trace its development through OT and NT; from the belief that all fulfilment was in this life to
acceptance that it Comes finally only in the next.
In the face of evil and of the terrible problems of our time, beware of a purely emotional reaction. God made this world, not some other more acceptable one; and the stuff of Christian growth lies in coping with life as it is. The hope is now, not in the sky.
Fr Strange takes us through the evidence for hope, leads us on to face the fears that accompany death. For a Christian that is the time of his total handing over of himself to God: the perfection of fidelity in love.
Hell is the inability to accept death and so to die 'in Christ'. Purgatory has its place in the experience of death. Ultimate faith is not shelter from the defeat that is death, but a way through defeat to victorious new life.
Study Session Vb. Mary the Mother of Jesus Prayer: Mary's "Yes" (Fiat Rosary) Father,.Your, Son has always said "Yes". His "Yes" has preceded uS like that of his Mother, our Mother too: Mary. All that the human heart contains of humility, of availability, of obedience and willingness to listen, is already contained in his "Fiat" and finds there its consistency.
Father, grant us the grace to believe that with you all things are possible, and give us the joy of saying, like Mary: "May it be done to us according to your word". Amen.
Reading. The Magnificat. Luke 2, vv. 46 — 45.
And Mary said: "My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord and my Spirit exults in God my saviour; because he has looked upon his lowly handmaid. Yes, from this day forward all generations will call me blessed, for the Almighty has done great things for me. Holy is his name, and his mercy reaches from age to age for those who fear him. He has shown the power of his arm, he has routed the proud of heart. He has pulled down princes from their thrones and exalted the lowly.
"The hungry he has filled with good things, the rich sent empty away. He has come to the help of Israel his servant, mindful of his mercy according to the promise he made to our ancestors of his mercy to Abraham and to his descendants for ever".
Study of Chapter 14
DO allow yourself time for this chapter, even if it means extending your studies. The whole Christian world with few exceptions, is coming to realise that we cannot believe in Jesus' perfect love without honouring his Mother.
Difficulties about the Virgin Birth are relatively new. For 1600 years there was no conflict, and the Gospel message is unique and unequivocal.
Its significance lies in its being the supreme act of God's intervention. Mary's Immaculate Conception speaks to us of a life dominated by perfect love for God.
That she remained sinless is due to the triumph of her faithfulness in love. That also assured her Assumption for it is sin that gives death its pain.
Question for Discussion.
Is the world more in need of hope now than ever before; or is every age faced with its own terrible problems?
"Christ will come again". Are there any signs that His return is imminent?
What would you say to a protestant who claimed that we used Mary to get round Jesus, instead of going to Him direct?
The Catholic Faith by Fr Roderick Strange, is published by OUP £3.95.