Friday, March 03, 2006

Friday after Ash Wednesday. "Words of Life - on the margin of the Missal" by Dom Columba Marmion Abbot of Maredsous

The Church and the Lenten penance.

In the course of the holy forty days, the Church prays daily for those who submit to these expiations; she unceasingly beseeches God that these works may be accepted by Him; that He will make them beneficial to us; ; that He will give us strength to perform them with the piety befitting disciples of Christ and with a devotion that nothing can trouble: Ut jejuniorum veneranda solemnia et congrua pietate suscipiant et secura devotione percurrant ...that they [the faithful] may begin the venerable solemnities of fasting with becoming piety, and may persevere to the end with steadfast devotion. (Collect for Ash Wednesday). This constant prayer of the Church for us is powerful over the Heart of God, and becomes a fount of heavenly benediction which makes our mortification fruitful.
If then we wish "to be Christ's," as St. Paul says. Let us accept, with great faith and generosity, these mortifications of the Church; in God's sight, they have a value and a power of expiation which other afflictive practices do not possess. Moreover, these mortifications are very salutary for us. The Church herself tells us, at the beginning of Lent, that she has "instituted them as a salutary remedy not only for our souls but also for our bodies. Be mindful, O Lord, of our supplications, and grant that we may keep with devout service this solemn fast, which Thou hast wholesomely ordained for the healing of our souls and bodies.Through Our Lord. Colect for the Saturday after Ash Wednesday.