- Prayer letter
Believed and worshiped
in the most holy Sacrament
Tegelen, Fortnight of 2017
To all with whom we know ourselves connected
We have started the forty-day period with the words on Ash Wednesday: Man, remember that you are dust and will return to dust.
We may live in and from God’s mercy and let that mercy flow through us.
As a human being, we have a high calling:
… that you may become children of your Father in heaven …
“Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may become children of your Father in heaven … be perfect, just as your Father is perfect in heaven” (Mt 5,44-45a.48).
How far we are in this, can therefore be measured by our (forgiving) attitude towards the neighbor. We find the power for this in Jesus, especially in his suffering and dying. At Easter we renew our baptismal promises to become more and more like God.
Be perfect, just as your Father is perfect in heaven.
We humans are generally easily inclined to slip away from our high calling. Nothing less is required of us than holiness in all of our behavior and it requires constant effort to make progress on the path of sanctification. The following also applies to this road: stagnation means decline. It is therefore good to start with Zero Wednesday every year and make a new start. We may become aware that we may have been “burned out” or “burned out” in our endeavors, perhaps even in our desires to answer our exalted calling: sanctification. A kind of mental ‘burnout’.
Our holy Father Benedict also
knew this very well.
He writes in chapter 49
of his holy Rule
the forty-day fast :
In fact, the life of the monk must always be the same as in the 40-day fast; but because only a few have so much virtue, we advise the monk to preserve his life in all purity in those days of the forty-day Fast and to also erase all negligence of other times in these holy days.
He then mentions a number of means to get started with in order to experience a good preparation for Easter and a joyful preparation, a joy namely in the Holy Spirit:
This will then happen in the right way, if we put all our vices to rest and if we focus on prayer with tears, on reading, mourning of heart and fasting.
“Christ – says Pope Francis – invites us through the prophet to learn” to do the good through concrete things, not with words “(Isa 1,17).
In Matthew’s Gospel, Christ reproaches the leaders of the people because they “say and do not”, they do not know the concrete. And “without the concrete”, no “conversion” (Mt 2: 1-12).
The Pope continues: “Christ invites us to rise, but He takes us by the hand to help us get up:… first the invitation, then the help, together on the way, to help us, to explain things to us , taking us by the hand and taking us by the hand … The result is wonderful: Though your sins are red as scarlet, they will be as white as snow. So Christ can do that miracle, the miracle of changing us. “ (Excerpts from the March 14th sermon.)
If people seriously want to prepare for Easter, they think about fasting. They make intentions to eat or snack less, or put the emphasis on another area such as watching less TV or email, Skyping, texting and internet, which are certainly good means to get more time for reflection.
Our holy Father Benedict also recommends prayer with tears.
Praying with tears … does that mean anything to us? Tears are a sign of true humanity, a sign that we are becoming aware of our vices and sins. In this way we can achieve repentance and conversion and a renewed life.
To help us we can turn to Mary, the Mother of Sorrows.
With the tears in her eyes , the Mother stood deeply moved beside the Cross where Jesus hung. Because of her painfully sighing heart, overwhelmed with woe and sorrow, the sharp sword of sadness went.
Mary helps us to see how we can unite with Jesus in His suffering. Our own suffering is thereby absorbed in His and we can then experience firsthand what Jesus tells us:
Come all to Me who are exhausted and burdened with burdens, and I will give you rest and relief. Take my yoke on your shoulders and learn from me: I am gentle and humble in heart; and you will find rest for your souls, because my yoke is soft and my burden is light (Mt 11, 28-30).
We may pray that in the preparation for Easter we will grow more and more in the special qualities that characterize the children of God:
- Purity of heart
- Admissibility to the Word of God
- Softening the heart for divine things
- Pity for the weaknesses of others
- Proximity to the Mother of God
The Way of the Cross is suitable for every day of the year, but for the forty days it is an exercise par excellence.
I join this slow procession, where all sins are spread. I don’t know, but believe how hurt it is.
God’s body fell down, knocked down, under the preponderance of guilt and cross. O that the sins were so heavy upon you.
Kruisweg PPde Vries SJ
The suffering of Jesus
Be holy, for I, the Lord, am holy.
Holiness is an important key if we want to see the promises of God fulfilled in our lives. Holiness enables God to reveal his full goodness to us and is a way in which we ourselves can bear fruit. It is also a path whose purpose exceeds our imagination. For “we, who by nature have carried the image of earthly man within us, may by God’s sanctifying grace bear the image of heavenly man: Christ our Lord” (from the introductory prayer of Good Friday).
We, therefore, “who sow in tears, shall reap with joy!” (Ps.126.5).
We wish you all a Happy Easter !
In praying solidarity,
Your sisters Benedictines of the Perpetual Adoration of the Most Holy Sacrament,
Sister Immaculata Franken OSB ap, priorin
Priority Nazareth, Monastery Oude Munt
Van Wevelickhovenstraat 1 – 5931 KS Tegelen – 077-3731572
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in the name of Sister Benedictines of the Holy Sacrament in Tegelen