The Season of Lent is a time for conversion of life; this also includes conversion of the way we speak. The three traditional ways to attain to true conversion of heart and life are: 1) prayer, 2) almsgiving, 3) Fasting.
I found this article in one of the Catholic website and I hope everyone will find it helpful in their seriously making this Lent a time of conversion and not just another Lenten practice. The article was written by Father Ed Broom.
True, one can and should fast from food, especially on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. Fasting can be done in many other ways. For example, fasting of the eyes from harmful TV programs, fasting from laziness at work, fasting from being overly critical and judgmental in our hearts.
Still there is another form of fasting: fasting of the tongue, fasting in speech, fasting from offending others with our words. Why not undertake this on your Lenten journey as you head to the Cross on Good Friday, with your hearts joyfully awaiting the Risen Lord Jesus the day of the Resurrection?
Indeed this practice could result in promoting harmony in your home with your family members, peace in your relations at work, and charity towards all people you meet!
The following are two short but powerful supports to help us carry out successfully a Program of fasting in our speech.
- Pentecost Experience and Speech. The Apostles during the Public life of Jesus made many mistakes in word and deed. However, they experienced one transforming event—it was Pentecost. The twelve Apostles spent nine days and nine nights in prayer with the Blessed Virgin Mary and boom!!! There was an explosion of grace.
The Holy Spirit descended upon them in tongues of fire. Emphasize the word tongues! Then they were endowed with the ability—with their own tongues—to preach the Word of God powerfully and convert countless souls. The message and its meaning? Simple! If our speech is to be edifying and sanctifying, then we must be purified, converted and sanctified by the fire of the Holy Spirit. All of us must have and experience a daily Pentecost experience; we all must invoke the Holy Spirit on a daily basis so that He will guide our minds, our hearts and the words that usher forth from our mouths! “Come Holy Spirit, come, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary.”
- The Golden Rule and SpeechEvery person on earth can understand the Golden Rule given to us by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ: “Do to others what you would like them to do to you.” Everybody responds positively towards a kind word, friendly smile, and charitable gesture. Why not apply the Golden Rule of Jesus to how we will speak to others. A bitter or sarcastic word can leave irreparable wounds in the soul. On the contrary, a kind word motivated by a pure and loving heart can lift somebody out of the pits of desolation.
Saint Bernard, in one of his edifying homilies, reminds us of three rules to apply to our speech:
- 1) Speak to accuse ourselves of our own failures (great way to do this is a good confession)
- 2) Speak to praise God. Saint Ignatius of Loyola in the Spiritual Exercises in the meditation Principle and Foundation reminds us as to why we are here on earth: “To praise God, reverence God, serve God and then to save our souls…”(Spiritual Exercises text # 23)
- 3) Finally, St. Bernard asserts that we should speak so as to edify our neighbor.
The word “edify” technically means “To build up”. Our words should serve to build up our neighbor. Today the world has been inundated by a Tsunami of gossip, criticism, negativism, sarcasm and irony—not to mention lies and slander. We must counteract negative and poisonous speech by using our tongue to lift others closer to God who is in heaven. We should never forget that God’s ear is keenly attentive to every word, letter, syllable that issues forth from our mouth.
The Word of God reminds us that he who does not control his speech is not on the highway to holiness. However, the man who controls his tongue is being led by the Holy Spirit and is following the pathway to heaven—the narrow path that Jesus taught us.
In conclusion, let us turn to the Blessed Virgin Mary, who spoke only seven times in the Gospels that we would learn the art of fasting in many ways. However, especially in the Holy Season of Lent, let us fast from all words that could offend others and God who is offended when we offend others with our speech. Let us learn to praise God, with Mary, with our words and with our lives: “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.” Let us praise God, with Our Lady, in time and forever in heaven!
Peace and Blessings!
Liturgical Music Corner by our Music Director, Rebecca Brown
March 8, Third Sunday of Lent
Entrance antiphon; “I will pour clean water upon you and cleanse you from all your impurities, and I will give you a new spirit, says the Lord.”
In today’s Gospel reading, Jesus goes up to Jerusalem and drives the moneychangers out of the temple. The Temple in Jerusalem was intended to be the seat and sign of the divine presence of God with his people. The Temple, however, had departed from all this and had become worldly, resembling a public market. Jesus promised a new temple, his own risen body (“destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up”), calling us, all believers in Him, to a life of holiness, adherence to His commandments, and faith in the resurrection.
Songs for the 9 am Mass:
Processional Hymn: Return to God (SS)
Psalm 19: Lord, you have the words of everlasting life.
Gospel Acclamation: Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ, King of endless glory.
Preparation of Gifts: More Than Gold
Lord, I love your commands, more than gold is your word,
so precious to me.
Communion Song: Fly Like a Bird (BB # 467)
Recessional Song: Save Your People (BB # 131)
The Gloria is omitted during the Lenten season, as is the “Alleluia”, both of which will be brought back in all their glory during the Holy Thursday and Easter liturgies.