Friday 13 March 2015 — Latest update Sunday 10 January 2016

Saturday of the 3rd Week of Lent . Samedi de la 3e semaine de Carême

“For everyone who raise himself up will be humbled, but anyone who raises himself will be raised up.”

Hosea 6, 1-6 Ps. 50 Lk. 18, 9-14

Saturday 3rd Week of Lent

“Whoever raise himself up will be humbled, but anyone who humbles himself will be raised up.”

5th March 2016

Ho.6,1-6 Ps.50 Lk.18,9-14

“Jesus spoke the following parable to some people who prided themselves on being upright and despised everyone else. Two men went up to the Temple to pray, one a Pharisee, the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood there and said this prayer to himself, ’I thank you, God, that I am not grasping, unjust, adulterous, like everyone else, and particularly that I am not like this tax collector here!”

God likes us to take the first step towards Him. He likes us going in the direction of Heaven, knowing that we’ll never stop, certain that it will be a journey that is not always easy but always exciting, where God will accompany us and come to encounter us each time we desire so :

’Father, have pity on me, I am a sinner.’

Two men are praying the same Lord. For the Pharisee, prayer goes towards a ’me’, a self that is satisfied and secure, full of himself. As far as he is concerned, he is the only one intact, worthy, the artisan of his own perfection. ’The others’ let themselves be compromised with money, adventures, whereas he, ’the one set apart’ has been left untouched, unable to be attacked. He has never known how ’to be with others’, before God. To feel that he is living, he needs to perceive himself as being outside of common destiny, he has placed God at his service.

We know about these difficulties, and we find ourselves also in the other character of the Gospel! Like him, aware of our misery, we turn to God with lamentations, but God invites us to a relationship which is much deeper than him.

"The Pharisee stood there and said this prayer to himself, ’I thank you, God, that I am not grasping, unjust, adulterous, like everyone else, and particularly that I am not like this tax collector here! I fast twice a week; I pay tithes on all I get.’

This Pharisee is glad not to be like thieves, unrighteous, adulterers. The others are awful, he says to himself that he, on the other hand is someone great.

What creates this way of thinking? He says ’I’ all the time : ’I give thanks because I’m not like others, I fast, I pay my tithe. The only time he looks at others is to judge them, to speak badly of them and then he comes back to himself so as to be filled of himself once again.

All the assurance of the Pharisee rests on his works : his accounts for the Temple are in order, and once he’s paid the tithe he feels at peace to use what’s left over as he pleases.

We can be like this Pharisee, superior to others whilst remaining masked to ourselves!

’Your love flees like the morning mist’, says the Word.

The morning mist is this self sufficiency that has the gift of God disappear very quickly before the realities of life and before the more difficult events.

“The tax collector stood some distance away, not daring even to raise his eyes to heaven ; but he beat his breast and said ’God, be merciful to me, a sinner.’ This man, I tell you, went home again justified ; the other did not. For everyone who raises himself up will be humbled, but anyone who humbles himself will be raised up.”

The tax collector, collecting taxes recognises that he is a sinner. He looks at himself and says : This isn’t right.He prays in front of others, he is concerned with how they are seeing him, put aside. He is concerned about other people, he prays before God, worrying about how He sees him.He doesn’t dare look at Him.

Nevertheless he makes a request to God, he knows he is in need of Him, he recognise that he is unfinished, that he must move, change, move forward, he needs to, for he is a sinner.

God takes us right where we are. The tax collector comes to the Temple to find in God a confident for his misery. He holds himself at a distance, like a man who would not have the right to the Love of God. Like us, he recognises humbly, as if it is obvious, how lies have settled into his life, how much he has

lost this desire to hasten the coming of God’s Kingdom, and how much he loves little.

This is when true prayer rises up to Heaven, the one that crosses through proud biter disappointment and expresses true conversion, a genuine turning back to God : ’My God, have pity on me, sinner that I am!’

Only this prayer of the poor can open for us a way to peace, because it situates us before God in our truth as a creature, in our responsibility of sinners, but also in the certitude of Christ’s victory and in the hope of what he is preparing for us.

We ask God for the grace to unify within us the prayer of supplication and of thanksgiving so that a reflection of his Love may shine in our hearts.

SATURDAY of 3rd WEEK of LENT

Saturday 14th March 2015: Saturday of the third week of Lent

“He spoke the following parable to some people who prided themselves on being upright and despised everyone else. Two men went up to the Temple to pray, one a Pharisee, the other a tax collector.”… Two men praying the same Lord; for the Pharisee, prayer has just one pole : the “me”, satisfied and in security. In the eyes of this man, he alone is intact, the only one worthy of his own perfection. “The others” allow themselves to compromise with money, love affairs with women, with a hand in unjust matters, whereas the, “separated one”, the man apart, remained out of harms reach and untouched. He had never known how to be with others before God, and in order to feel himself live he needs to feel outside of the common destiny, placing God at his service. In difficult times, we find this other character of the gospel. Like him, aware of our misery, we turn to God shouting out loud. But God invites us to have a deeper relationship with Him. Both these attitudes of thanksgiving and supplication will little by little be unified within us. It is a long road, spread with obstacles and dangers, for our human condition can very quickly turn towards us believing we have the right to have what we need This can suffocate the work of grace.

“The Pharisee stood there and said this prayer to himself, ’I thank you God that I am not grasping, unjust, adulterous like everyone else, and particularly that I am not like this tax collector here.. I fast twice a week; I pay tithes on all I get.”…

The whole of the Pharisee’s assurance rests on his works : his temple accounts are in order, and once the dime is paid he feels free to use all the rest just as he pleases. Elsewhere his regular fasting reassures himself about mastering himself and confirm him in his impression of being well-balanced and successful. The way we may resemble this Pharisee may be quite masked for the way we see

ourselves! “Your love flees like the early morning mist” says the Word of God. The early- morning mist is this self sufficiency which has the gift of God disappear very quickly before the realities of life and its more difficult events. It is with great confidence in God’s goodness, enlightened by the Word of God, that we prepare for the Easter of the Lord during these forty days! Here we shall receive the salvation of God altogether, as a free gift and not due to our own merits!

“The tax collector stood some distance away, not daring even to raise his eyes to Heaven, but he beat his breast and said; ’Be merciful to me, a sinner.’ This man, I tell you, went home again justified ; the other did not. For everyone who raises himself will be humbled, but anyone who humbles himself will be raised up.”

As far as the tax collector was concerned , his coming to the Temple was in order to seek God who would receive his misery. He humbly recognizes, as something obvious, how much deceit finds its way into our lives, how much we have lost the sense of calling for God’s Kingdom to come, and how little we know what it means to love. Now, this is exactly when a real prayer can be raised up to God,

one which passes through spite and pride, one which expresses our conversion. This conversion is a genuine turning of ourselves towards God : “My God, have mercy upon me, poor sinner that sinner I am!” A way of peace can only be opened up for us by this kind of prayer of someone recognizing their state of poverty. This is because we find ourselves in this type of prayer standing before God as a creature , made by him. We find here in our responsibility of having sinned, but we have also the certitude of Christ’s victory and we remain in hope of what he is preparing for us. If we commend ourselves to God truthfully, in prayer, we shall receive an explosion of graces amidst the most trying situations. Jesus invites us to go beyond the difficulties we experience in our lives, inviting us to pray to join him in a confident supplication. God desires our love, this love is the only remedy that will transform our lives. We ask for the grace to enter into this intimate part of our being where God alone resides. The mystery of Mary, of humanity in its very depths, helps us to remain in this marvelous exchange where our renewed heart finds itself once again put into a confident attitude of adoration.

We ask God for the grace to unify in us the prayer of supplication and thanksgiving so that a reflection of his Love may shine in our hearts. Add your testimony