Regína sacratíssimi Rosárii, ora pro nobis!


Second Sunday of Lent—28 February AD 2021
Ave Maria!


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Ordinary of the Mass
Mass Text - Latin
Mass Text - English
Lenten Observance


Trust in God


“O Lord, who seest that we have no power whatever from ourselves; keep us both outwardly in our bodies and inwardly in our souls....”[1]


This is the second Sunday of Lent, and perhaps by now you have discovered that some Lents are better than others.  Hopefully this is turning out to be a good one for you, and you are feeling good about the prayer and penance you have been doing—hopefully you have that feeling of confidence which tells you that things are going smoothly; that it will soon be Easter Sunday, and you'll be able to look back knowing that you spent this time growing in God's graces.  Well, good—keep at it!

But, for some of you, it may not be going so smoothly.  You may be trying hard enough—yet for all your trying, you don't feel particularly close to God; you feel distracted in your prayers;  you've been unable to keep to fasting you planned;  you can't get into your spiritual reading —any one of the dozen or so things that can go wrong; and several of them have.

Don't be too disturbed if you are having those kinds of difficulties in making a good Lent.  They're pretty normal.  As human beings, we all have our “ups” and our “downs.”  That's as true in the spiritual life as it is in any other aspect of our lives.

Sometimes our daily problems get in the way—sometimes our family life—or our physical health.  Human beings are emotional creatures, and everything we do isn't always logical or consistent.  Perhaps, most of all, we are subject to temptation—the devil is envious that we can get close to God and he can't—he does everything in his power to frustrate our efforts; to make us feel bad; and even to lapse into despair and depression.

A lot of good people that I've talked to assure me that the devil seems to be most active during Advent and Lent—so that he can mess up our relationship with God just in time for Christmas or Easter.

But, if we ponder the prayers and most of the chants of this Mass—the Introit, the Gradual, the Collect, and so on—we can see again that all of this is to be expected.  In fact, we ought to reflect on the fact that unless we are aided by God's graces, we can do nothing.  That's what all of those prayers are for—to appeal for His graces.

Now, we have to be careful with that—because if we are afraid that God is stingy and selective about whom He gives His graces to, we may fall into despair.  And that kind of despair will drive us in one of two directions; both bad.

Despair may drive us wild abandon—“If I can't be good, I may as well be as bad as I can, and enjoy it while it lasts.”  That's pretty much the mistake of the modern world.

Or, despair may drive us to presumption—“that since I can do nothing, I will sit back and let God do everything.”  That was the mistake of Martin Luther.

Both mistakes wind up being about the same;  because both cause us to fall away from making the effort to do the will of God.  And, you will notice that Saint Paul, today, identifies God's will with our sanctification.

But the good news is that God gives us His graces freely.  We know that He died for the redemption of all mankind—that He doesn't give His graces to some, and withhold them from others.  He gives them to all of us—and all we have to do is to cooperate with Him to the best of our ability.

And that too is important—“To the best of our ability.”  Our cooperation with God may not be perfect—there are literally dozens of earthly things that can get in the way.

But there is an implicit promise in today's Mass.  In these various prayers we ask for God's graces, and for help to do His will.  And in return, in the Gospel, God grants us a glimpse of Himself in glory—in His Transfiguration.  And that transfiguration is a foreshadowing of the glory that He has in store for us in heaven.  It's as though God is acknowledging our prayers, saying, “Yes, I know that you have difficulty, but stick with Me and things will be alright.”

So, do take heart.  Remember that being discouraged about Lent may be just the result of the human condition—or it may be the devil trying to lead us away from God into despair.  A bit of difficulty in keeping a good Lent is not unusual.  Ask for God's help, and trust Him to furnish the graces that are necessary.  Remember that if we cooperate, and do His will to the best of our ability, we have been promised a share in His future glory.


Take heart—keep the Faith—make a good Lent!


[1]   The Collect of the day.


Dei via est íntegra


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