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Lenten readings

How to keep Lent:
Ash Wednesday

 

 

 

 

"You must meditate more on the Passion.  Why, My children?  Because you, too, as followers of Mine, shall go through your passion upon earth....  Time shall bear out this message." - Jesus, November 1, 1977

 

 

The following is an excerpt from the booklet How to Keep Lent, + Imprimatur by Patrick Cardinal Hayes, February 6, 1935).

The Season of Lent

Ash Wednesday is the index to Lent. It tells us the meaning of Lent. It is not a day by itself, but the first day of a period of time, called by the Church, the acceptable time. It is the first of forty days of public penance, which is binding in a greater or less degree upon all Christians who have come to the use of reason.

The Church, usually so rich and grand in her ceremonies, on Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the day of salvation, gathers together her people for a ceremony unusually simple in its externals, yet one which contains within it depths of meaning.

On Palm Sunday of last year the Church blessed branches of palm and gave a branch to each of her children. On the first Palm Sunday the Jews bore their Lord and King in triumph into Jerusalem, and waving palm branches in their hands, made the streets resound again and again with their joyous hosannas. We can hardly believe it, but on Friday of the very same week the voices of these same Jews swelled the cry which raised their Lord and King on the ignominious Cross.

We, too, last Palm Sunday joined in the procession and welcomed our God and King with many "Hosannas." How many of us since then have crucified Him over again by mortal sin?

So these palms of last year are burned and reduced to ashes. And on Ash Wednesday these ashes are blessed and the Church throughout the world gathers together her children, places these ashes upon their heads and reminds them of their mortality in the memorable words used by Almighty God when He pronounced sentence of death on our first parents: "Remember, man, thou art dust, and unto dust thou shalt return."

The Church covers us with ashes in order to imprint indelibly upon our hearts those words first uttered by God Almighty Himself, words which have not lost one jot of their force or meaning. Who dares to say he can forget his origin with impunity? How often we do forget it! How seldom we think of it! How much need in every year for such a season as Lent! This is the truth the Church by her ceremony impresses on us the opening day of Lent. "Remember, man, thou art dust and unto dust thou shalt return."

Mindful of our origin we shall not lose sight of our end. No matter how much care we may take to preserve the body, it will decay, it will return to the earth from which it was taken. In what more striking, more effective manner could the Church prepare us for the great work of Lent?

As Ash Wednesday is but the first day of Lent, of a period of time, so the warning must be in our minds and hearts during the whole of Lent. Before the altar of God we make a public act of humiliation. Humbled, we see the seriousness of our crimes and ingratitude as we have never before seen it. This disposition begets an earnest desire to do penance and live up to the spirit of Lent; and the fulfillment of this desire leads us on to a more perfect love of God, which is the essence of perfection, the end for which we were made, and in which alone our true happiness consists both in time and eternity.

Lent calls on us to take account of ourselves before God. It calls on us to search into our souls and see how we stand before God. Lent is the acceptable time and a day of salvation to us according to the manner in which we spend it. If, during these days of public penance, God is liberal and generous towards those who even make but slight efforts, let us not forget that He is equally strict and severe with those who spend the time of Lent carelessly and indifferently, and who abuse the graces and opportunities offered to them at this holy season. Lent, then, according as we use it or abuse it, is a time of salvation or damnation. To abuse Lent is to seek eternal death.

The Right Spirit

However many our practices of self-denial and sacrifice might be, they would be all quite worthless were they not animated by the right spirit. To understand what that spirit is we have but to recall the chief significance of such a season as that of Lent. The forty days are but a journey to Calvary. They lead us to the Cross. They are a meditation upon the passion and death of our Savior. Thus, yearly, the Agony and Crucifixion of our Lord are brought vividly to our mind, that we may, through love of Him, call forth that sorrow for sin which is our best expression of sympathy with the Divine Sufferer.

The spirit of Lent is, then, a spirit of repentance. Our soul is awakened to a sense of its own defects and their gravity, and to the need of an abiding interior sorrow. This spirit will manifest itself first in the active steps we take to stop sin, to avoid the occasions of sin, and to guard ourselves against falling back into sin. We cannot expect to derive any profit or spiritual benefit from Lent, unless, above all things, we put sin behind us, and set our faces, with determination, towards God and the right. This spirit will manifest itself also in outward acts of sorrow for all sins that we have committed, and, hence, the external penances of Lent.

There are Christians who resemble the barren tree of which our Lord speaks when He says: "Cut it down, why cumbereth it the ground?" They bring forth leaves, shadows, appearances, but no fruit. They produce even blossoms and these are good intentions. These blossoms are forever being scattered to the ground by the winds of human respect, want of courage, attachment to the world and love of an easy-going life. There can be no good, true fruit without good works. The good works required of every Christian are comprised under fasting, alms deeds and prayer. There is no one who cannot perform these works, particularly during the Lent season.

Next installments:
How to Keep Lent, part II - Fasting   
How to Keep Lent, part III - Almsgiving
How to Keep Lent, part IV - Prayer

"Do not be misguided by those who, in the spirit of darkness, take the knowledge of the supernatural from you. Yes, in order, My children, to stay in the light, you will be rejected by many. You will be scorned; you will be called insane, because, I repeat: there is nothing in common between the light and the darkness. As they rejected Me upon your earth, you, too, must go the way of the cross. But carry your cross, My children, with purpose and fortitude. And I assure you, as your God, that the road you follow in the light will be well worth your perseverance. The joys of Heaven are for all, but all do not attain this height, My children, for they are not willing to sacrifice and do penance and to follow the way of the cross." Jesus, November 1, 1976

 
"As I look upon your world, I live anew My Passion and My suffering. I look upon your world and I am forced to say: Has My Sacrifice been in vain? Always in the past the Father has sent upon your world a just punishment. The Father has created and the Father will take away! From your world, many souls will be removed!"
- Jesus, March 29, 1975


Christ's Passion as seen and experienced by Veronica (March 8, 1971)

     The Passion was seen in vision by Veronica during the praying of the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary. Present during this phenomenon were Camille Debrowski, Ben and Mary Salomone, and Evelyn Murphy.  

     Veronica received the stigmata of the hands and feet at this time. A cross appeared on her right foot in the instep area, directly in line with the big toe and second toe, near the center of the instep, but over more to her left side of the instep, centered between the ankle area and toes. The nail bruise appeared on the instep of the left foot, more centered between the second and third toe from the large toe, at the center of the instep. The right foot was crossed over the left. The cross fitted perfectly in line with the nail mark on the left foot. 

The Passion as related by Veronica: 

     "Jesus started by requesting that on the three initial beads of the Rosary we say the Acts of Faith, Hope, and Charity. Then we entered into the Sorrowful Mysteries. 

THE AGONY IN THE GARDEN 

     "During the first decade I saw Jesus on His knees, bent over in anguish, praying. He was wearing a long, burgundy-colored cape over an inner garment of beige-colored material, long and flowing. There was a great sadness in His face, great sorrow. He was talking to His Father in Heaven:

     "'Father, I will drink of this cup, down to the last dreg, if it be Your will. It is not I that should seek that this cup be removed from Me. My strength is everlasting in the light, and My heart a bleeding vessel for this cup.' 

THE SCOURGING 

     "During the second Mystery, I cried out, 'No! No! Stop that!' For there was our beloved Jesus being pulled to and fro as His tormentors pulled His upper garment from His back. They tied His wrists together and drove a spike into an upright beam. Jesus' hands were bound by strips of a brown, leather-like cord. Then the central part of the cord that bound His hands was looped over the spike in the beam. Poor Jesus was pinned by His hands.

     "There were five people in this cave-like room that appeared to be dug out of a hillside, a sort of hole-room in the hillside.

     "I screamed and winced as two soldiers took turns hitting Jesus' bare back with a long brown, leather-like strap. On this strap were metal hooks, laid horizontally all along the strap. These nail-like, claw-like fixtures on the strap cut and scratched deeply into Jesus' flesh, causing blood to pour out. It was a despicable game with the soldiers. They laughed and joked. Jesus never said a word.

     "I cried, 'Say something! Say something!' He could save Himself, but Jesus remained silent as they spat and insulted Him. His back became a mass of welts and torn flesh. Jesus was barefoot; His sandals had fallen off as they banged a stake higher into the pole and raised poor Jesus up so His toes barely touched the floor. The floor was just dirt and blood. The soldier remarked, 'Maybe they cut out His lying tongue. Ha, ha!' Our poor Jesus remained silent.

     "Off to the side I saw a room. There was a large, kettle-like pot, real old looking--of rough metal, a deep reddish-brown in color, very large. Underneath was a fire burning; there was a heavy liquid bubbling. Off to the side was another, longer metal receptacle filled with water. There were two soldiers dressed in short dresses--short, knee-length skirts, with pointed metal pieces hanging down in a pattern of triangles all around the waist, front and back.

     "They had a metal, vest-like covering on their chests and silver-colored metal headpieces that were shaped like a cap, but swooped up to a flowing design on the top. Three other men were almost naked, dressed in diaper-like clothing. They were holding a long piece of metal. They placed the end in the large kettle; it had a red-hot glow. Then the third man had a large, mallet-like hammer, and he beat on the hot metal. He was pounding it round and round until it looked like a spike. He would then douse it in that metal water trough. Two soldiers were talking over at the side. Later they took the five spikes. (There were five large spikes made.) 

THE CROWNING WITH THORNS 

     "I then saw Jesus. He had been cut from the post and had fallen over. A soldier roughly pulled Him over to a wicker-like stool and plunked Jesus onto it. Poor Jesus hung forward, and a nasty soldier put a long stick in His hands to balance Him up, and yelled, 'Ha, ha! So this is the King of the Jews! Let's dress Him as fitting!'

     "The soldier went outside, to return with an armful of brier bush. He used the metal tongs to make it easier to handle. He made a sort of cap and stuffed a circlet of briers into it. In that way he could handle it better and shove it on poor Jesus' head. The thorns were too hard to weave, to stay together, so the cap was thought of. It was so big, and he kept batting it down with a stick. The sadist gloated as he swung. Jesus, dearest Savior, said never a word. The pain was excruciating. Tears coursed down the cheeks of our poor Jesus, but they were of sorrow. The greatest pain was in His heart!

     "Jesus' hands were tied again with the brown, leather-like material; and He was dragged to His feet. The soldier draped His top gown over His torn back. Oh, I could see it stick to His oozing blood. Oh, it was horrible!  

THE CARRYING OF THE CROSS 

     "Then a soldier pushed Jesus out of the hole-like entrance, and down a road. There were many people, all in a spirit of carnival. Two soldiers pushed Jesus over to the side of the big crossbeam which was carried through the crowd. It looked like a heavy log--real rough, and a brownish wood. Two soldiers stood it up and another put Jesus over to it. Two soldiers started to tie His hands onto it. It was supported across His back and on the shoulders. It looked awfully heavy and awkward. The brown leather rope was taut across His elbow area. He seemed to be balancing and supporting the beam as He struggled on.

     "There were three ladies and a man walking off to one side with Him. The ladies were weeping silently. The man had his arm about a lady. The man was very tall. He had a long, brown gown on, and he had a brown beard and dark brown hair. The ladies wore beige-colored gowns; but one lady had a purple, coat-like garment over hers.

     "Jesus tripped and fell. He was so weak now, the beam had thrown Him off balance as He staggered. Poor Jesus fell. One nasty old man ran out of the crowd to spit and kick Him--the nasty old beast! I tried to tear off my tunic to wipe the blood out of His eyes. It was awful! He looked up at me--the soldiers wouldn't let me through. I pulled at my hair in frustration and anguish. Jesus looked at me, and I saw the love of an eternal, glorious promise. I cried, 'What could I do?' I screamed, 'Help Him! Help Him, please!' I, Veronica, was helpless to lift the cross. I could only hope to wipe His dear face.

     "Soon a soldier grabbed a man out of the crowd. This man had a long gown on with stripes down the front, and he had a turban wrapped around his head with stripes in the front. He sure didn't want to carry the beam, but they knew Jesus couldn't make it to the outskirts of the town. So this man shouldered the beam while the insane crowd taunted. Jesus was pushed and pulled along. Dirt and blood were all over Him; He was a picture of bloody grime.

     "I was retching; I was sick. Oh, such a horror! Such torture! How could they do this to Him? What did He do but love everyone! Beasts! Beasts! Soon the soldier ran up with the five spikes. When they reached the hill, there was a long piece of wood already on the ground. A soldier lifted the beam from the shoulders of this other man and threw it to the ground. Two other soldiers placed it on top of the long piece of wood to form a cross--long all the way down, and sort of sticking out at the top. They slammed one spike into the two beams and the cross was made. 

THE CRUCIFIXION 

     "Two lousy soldiers threw Jesus to the ground, and they pulled His arms out to stretch across the cross beam. Oh, how it hurt, the back so torn! I could see the pain in Jesus' eyes, but He never uttered a word. He just looked sad. Then they took brown, leather-like cord and wrapped it around His wrists at the board, bound to the board. Then they lifted and tied the wrists to the board, bound and wound the leather cord around the ankles and the wood to hold Him in place. 

     "Then the spikes were thrown onto the ground, and one soldier got down on his knees and he placed the spike in the center of the palm of poor Jesus' hand. With that metal mallet he drove it in through the skin and out into the board. I screamed! I threw up! This was repeated on the right hand. Then Jesus looked up to the sky. They started on the legs--one large spike into both feet, His right foot over the left, at a twisted sort of angle, placed to lie flat against each other. I retched as I heard the metal against flesh and bone and wood. One spike protruded out the other side. They hammered a block of wood under His poor feet, 'to line 'em up,' they said. It was awful!

     "I looked off into the crowd. Oh, there were only nine people there to stay with Jesus. I now knew His Mother, Mary Cleophas (the wife of Clopas), Mary Magdalen, and John. Oh, poor Jesus--never a word did He say as they nailed Him to the wood. Oh, such love!

     "Soon two soldiers lifted the head of the wood and three the bottom, carrying Jesus on the cross, and dropped the end into a hole. It went in with a thump! Jesus winced. And it tore His hands more. Blood was trickling down His face. He couldn't move His head. The pain was awful; each movement cut deep. He sagged a bit, but pulled upward. The sagging tore more.

     "Mary and Mary ran up to Him. They did not speak at first; they could talk with their eyes to each other. They didn't need words. John came over, for Jesus' bottom tunic fell down. Oh, dear, He was almost naked. I turned away, but John ran over and tied sort of knots in it, like a diaper. Oh, the humiliation to poor Jesus! Then Jesus said to John: "Behold, John, your Mother. And this, Mother, is Your son. I must go to the Father soon."

     "The crowd started to move off. Jesus cried: "Abba, abba sabba la bec tori"--that is what it sounded like--a foreign sound. Sabba sabba sabba la bec tori. (I can't spell it well, just by sound.) Then He looked up. "I thirst!" (This I heard in English.)  

     ". . . Water, yellowish water. . . . Jesus' head hung down to His right. It became dark, so dark. Everyone went away but the nine. They all came close; and Mary clung to His feet, wordless in sorrow." 

     Veronica finished the recitation of what she experienced to find her feet swollen and her arms sore, the feet marked and the hands stinging. Her wordless reaction was a mixture of wonder, joy, and love--joy that now she could join Jesus in His suffering and hold His hand on the road to the Kingdom.


 

Directives from Heaven

D1 - The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass  PDF LogoPDF
D2 - The Holy Eucharist 
 PDF LogoPDF
D5 - The Holy Priesthood
 PDF LogoPDF
D66 - The Passion of Christ (Part 1) 
 PDF LogoPDF
D67 - The Passion of Christ (Part 2) 
 PDF LogoPDF
D87 - Divinity of Jesus Christ 
 PDF LogoPDF
D119 - Jesus Christ, Redeemer   PDF LogoPDF
D120
- Resurrection 
 PDF LogoPDF
D198 - Kneel Before Your God  PDF LogoPDF
D228 - Consecrated Hands   PDF LogoPDF
D292 - Way of the Cross  PDF LogoPDF

 

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Revised:
March 17, 2022