Taste and See: Grace needed, grace offered

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O God, who teach us that you abide
in hearts that are just and true,
grant that we may be so fashioned by your grace
as to become a dwelling pleasing to you.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

Collect for the Sunday of the 6th week in Ordinary Time 

The Collect of Sunday of this week serves well as a focus for the meaning and work of the season of Lent which begins today, Ash Wednesday.

We look for purification and freedom, and we look for a new closeness with God, abiding in him and he abiding in us.

Slave by Michelangelo. Louvre, Paris. (c) 2017, Allen Morris

 

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Taste and See: Making the effort

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Whatever you eat, whatever you drink, whatever you do at all, do it for the glory of God. Never do anything offensive to anyone – to Jews or Greeks or to the Church of God; just as I try to be helpful to everyone at all times, not anxious for my own advantage but for the advantage of everybody else, so that they may be saved. Take me for your model, as I take Christ.

Second reading for Sunday of the 6th week in Ordinary Time
1 Corinthians 10:31-11:1

Our every action is laden with the implications and consequences of the choices we made in taking it.

Often we will not even be conscious of these. But Paul invites us to try to make sure that the implication of our every action is that we love and honour God and every intended consequence is about love of neighbour.

Today is the last day before the season of Lent begins – a season given us to help us recover the fullness of our Christian identity by attending to our behaviour.

St Paul, pray for us.

Sign for Christian Coffee Shop, Antalya, Turkey. (c) 2014, Allen Morris

 

Taste and See: Hope and joy

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You are my refuge, O Lord; you fill me with the joy of salvation.

Happy the man whose offence is forgiven,
whose sin is remitted.
O happy the man to whom the Lord
imputes no guilt,
in whose spirit is no guile.

You are my refuge, O Lord; you fill me with the joy of salvation.

But now I have acknowledged my sins;
my guilt I did not hide.
I said: ‘I will confess
my offence to the Lord.’
And you, Lord, have forgiven
the guilt of my sin.

You are my refuge, O Lord; you fill me with the joy of salvation.

Rejoice, rejoice in the Lord,
exult, you just!
O come, ring out your joy,
all you upright of heart.

You are my refuge, O Lord; you fill me with the joy of salvation.

Responsorial Psalm for Sunday of the 6th Week in Ordinary Time
Psalm 31:1-2,5,11

Punishment can last long after repentance, after forgiveness even.

And in that shadowed time, joy at being loved, joy at being offered forgiveness and reconciliation can be the predominant emotion, even as suffering continues.

We live, so we say in the Salve Regina, in a vale of tears, but hope is ours here, because of the mercy and love of God.

  • Who forgives you?
  • Who might you forgive?

Bloomsbury, London.  (c) 2014, Allen Morris

Taste and See: Love at all costs

DSC03882.jpgPraise the Lord who heals the broken-hearted. or Alleluia!

Praise the Lord for he is good;
sing to our God for he is loving:
to him our praise is due.

Praise the Lord who heals the broken-hearted. or Alleluia!

The Lord builds up Jerusalem
and brings back Israel’s exiles,
he heals the broken-hearted,
he binds up all their wounds.
He fixes the number of the stars;
he calls each one by its name.

Praise the Lord who heals the broken-hearted. or Alleluia!

Our Lord is great and almighty;
his wisdom can never be measured.
The Lord raises the lowly;
he humbles the wicked to the dust.

Praise the Lord who heals the broken-hearted. or Alleluia!

Responsorial Psalm for the Sunday of the 5th Week of Ordinary Time
Psalm 146:1-6

The Lord who would save us from sorrow and sin does it by entering into our sorrow and sin and gathering it to himself. And then redeeming it, freeing us from all that would hurt and diminish us.

From what do you still need him to free you?

Deposition from the Cross and Harrowing of Hell. Pietro Lorenzetti. Assisi. (c) 2014, Allen Morris

Taste and See: Heavenly grace

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Keep your family safe, O Lord, with unfailing care,
that, relying solely on the hope of heavenly grace,
they may be defended always by your protection.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

Collect for the 5th Sunday of Ordinary Time.

  • On what pots, potions and dreams do you base your life?
  • Where do they come from?
  • Where do they lead?

What might you take from that reflection for your keeping of Lent?

  • From what might you turn?
  • In what might you seek to grow?
  • What might you try again to share with others?

Printemps Haussmann, Paris. (c) 2011, Allen Morris

Taste and see: the beauty and the challenge

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Grant us, Lord our God,
that we may honour you with all our mind,
and love everyone in truth of heart.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

Collect for the Sunday of the 4th week in Ordinary Time

Sometimes the complaint is that the Collects of the current translation of the Roman Missal are too obscure in their language or complex in their syntax. No such problems this week – only in trying to follow through and do what we pray.

But that’s one reason we pray that sinners might become saints through their imitation of Christ and in love of God and love of neighbour: that we might become saints with the help of God, our first and greatest hope.

Interior of Cathedral, Kremlin, Moscow. (c) 2015, Allen Morris.

 

Taste and See: Life or death

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Moses said to the people: ‘The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like myself, from among yourselves, from your own brothers; to him you must listen. This is what you yourselves asked of the Lord your God at Horeb on the day of the Assembly. “Do not let me hear again” you said “the voice of the Lord my God, nor look any longer on this great fire, or I shall die”; and the Lord said to me, “All they have spoken is well said. I will raise up a prophet like yourself for them from their own brothers; I will put my words into his mouth and he shall tell them all I command him. The man who does not listen to my words that he speaks in my name, shall be held answerable to me for it. But the prophet who presumes to say in my name a thing I have not commanded him to say, or who speaks in the name of other gods, that prophet shall die.”’

First reading for Sunday of 4th week in ordinary Time
Deuteronomy 18:15-20

In our youth most of us live like we will live for ever. It ain’t so.

We live only when we live in the Lord. Apart from him our lives are strictly time limited. But in him we flourish and live forever.

Life in God transcends the mortality we experience in this world: it draws us into the eternity of goodness and love that is God.

  • What are the choices you make this day because of your hearing the word of God?
  • Which choices would the word of God hold you back from?

Ruined memorial. Coventry Cathedral. (c) 2014, Allen Morris