Friday, February 19th, 2010
From the Dominican Ordo:
Born at Zamora, Spain, towards the middle of the fourteenth century, Blessed Alvarez entered the Order in 1368. He preached throughout Spain and Italy and established the priory of Scala Caeli at Cordova where he promoted the regular life. By his preaching and contemplation of the Lord’s Passion he spread the practice of the Way of the Cross throughout the West. He died on February 19, about the year 1430.
For more on Blessed Alvarez, click here.
God of mercy,
you endowed Blessed Alvarez
with the gifts of penance and divine love.
With the help of his prayers and example
may we always bear the suffering of Christ in our bodies
and your love in our hearts.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, forever and ever. Amen.
On Saturday, February 27, the Church of St. Vincent Ferrer will host an Afternoon of Monastic Reflection led by Fr. Christian Leisy, OSB, a monk of Christ in the Desert Monastery in Abiquiu, New Mexico. He will be assisted by Sharon Colby, an oblate of the monastery. Together they will introduce participants to the rich spiritual tradition of Benedictine monasticism, and explain how the lessons of this centuries-old tradition of prayer and study can benefit the busy lives of lay Christians in the world. There is no cost for the afternoon, though a free will offering will be taken.
The afternoon’s presentations will begin at 1:30 PM in the St. Vincent Ferrer Church Hall (869 Lexington Avenue @ 66th Street). Registration is not required, but please call the Parish Office (212-744-2080) to reserve your seat.
PAPAL HOMILY FOR ASH WEDNESDAY
Basilica of Santa Sabina, Rome
February 17, 2010
“You love all creatures, Lord,
And do not loath anything you have made;
You forget the sins of those who convert and forgive them,
Because you are the Lord our God” (Entrance Antiphon)
Venerated Brothers in the Episcopate,
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
With this moving invocation, taken from the Book of Wisdom (cf 11:23-26), the liturgy introduces the Eucharistic celebration of Ash Wednesday. They are words that, in some way, open the whole Lenten journey, placing as their foundation the omnipotence of the love of God, his absolute lordship over every creature, which is translated in infinite indulgence, animated by a constant and universal will to live. In fact, to forgive someone is equivalent to saying: I do not want you to die, but that you live; I always and only want your good.
This absolute certainty sustained Jesus during the 40 days transpired in the desert of Judea, after the baptism received from John in the Jordan. This long time of silence and fasting was for him a complete abandonment to the Father and to his plan of love; it was a “baptism,” that is, an “immersion” in his will, and in this sense, an anticipation of the Passion and the Cross. To go into the desert and to stay there a long time, alone, meant to be willingly exposed to the assaults of the enemy, the tempter who made Adam fall and through whose envy death entered the world (cf Wisdom 2:24); it meant engaging in open battle with him, defying him with no other weapons than limitless confidence in the omnipotent love of the Father. Your love suffices me, my food is to do your will (cf John 4:34): This conviction dwelt in the mind and heart of Jesus during that “Lent” of his. It was not an act of pride, a titanic enterprise, but a decision of humility, consistent with the Incarnation and the Baptism in the Jordan, in the same line of obedience to the merciful love of the Father, who “so loved the world that he gave his only Son” (John 3:16).
The Lord did all this for us. He did it to save us and, at the same time, to show us the way to follow him. Salvation, in fact, is a gift, it is God’s grace, but to have effect in my existence it requires my consent, an acceptance demonstrated in deeds, that is, in the will to live like Jesus, to walk after him. To follow Jesus in the Lenten desert is, hence, the condition necessary to participate in his Easter, in his “exodus.” Adam was expelled from the earthly Paradise, symbol of communion with God; now, to return to that communion and, therefore, to true life, it is necessary to traverse the desert, the test of faith. Not alone, but with Jesus! He — as always — has preceded us and has already conquered in the battle against the spirit of evil. This is the meaning of Lent, liturgical time that every year invites us to renew the choice to follow Christ on the path of humility to participate in his victory over sin and death.