Fr Reginald Amanze, our Roman Catholic Chaplain, shares some thoughts and quotations during the season of Lent from Ash Wednesday (5 March 2014) onwards. Whatever faith you have, we hope they will help you: whether food for thought, inspiration or a step in transforming your life.

Thursday 27 March 2014

Work as if you were to live a hundred years; pray as if you were to die tomorrow.

Benjamin Franklin

Prayer, however, does not change the Will of God rather our own Will, giving us the inner courage to change what needs to be changed and to accept what we cannot change. In any given situation, two Wills are always at play, God’s Will and our Will. Which of these is likely to be defective or erroneous and which is perfect and good? Definitely the former and not the later; the former needs to be changed to conform to the later.

Tuesday 25 March 2014

Today is the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord or the Feast of the Annunciation to the Blessed Virgin Mary , which marks the announcement of Gabriel to Mary that she will give birth to a son who will be called “Son of God”. You can read the story in the Gospel of Luke, chapter 1 verses 26-38. In this story, Gabriel says to Mary:

For nothing is impossible with God.

Gospel of Luke 1: 37

This event recalls the sacred and holy moment in the drama of our salvation. It reveals how God always takes the initiative, the first step towards us. By the Annunciation, God asked everything of Mary yet at the same time offered her everything. Similarly, God asks everything of us but in return gives us everything: every grace, every blessing.

Friday 21 March 2014

Not everything that is faced may be changed,
but nothing can be changed until it is faced.

James B Lytton

Change as a word, and no less an idea, is as important as it is inevitable. Firms, companies and governments often talk about change and development. Call it re-event or re-brand or even death, change and development is indeed a central idea in living the Christian life. However this comes not primarily through effort or application but by God’s grace.

Faith means believing that God truly loves us; that he is alive and active, capable of mysteriously intervening; that he does not abandon us and that he brings good out of evil.

Thursday 20 March 2014

Go out to the whole world; proclaim the good news.

Mark 16:15

By this, everyone is intended: ordained ministers, lay faithfuls and, in fact, all the baptised. Our immediate environment (family, friends or work-place) becomes the “world” to evangelize. Don’t worry much about special skills and expertise since St Peter and his colleagues hadn’t these. Yet they were led by the Holy Spirit to great achievements. God asks only for willing collaborators!

Thursday 13 March 2014

When life itself brings us to our knees, prayer becomes imperative and inevitable as Ethel Barrymore would put it:

When life knocks you to your knees, and it will, get up! If it knocks you to your knees again, as it will, isn't that the best position in which to pray?

Ethel Barrymore

Wednesday 12 March 2014

The Gospel never calls us to gloom. It never views human beings with pessimism. Just the opposite; it attempts to awaken in us a peaceful joy.

Tuesday 11 March 2014

Peace of mind; a rare gift sort by both the High and Low, yet cannot be bought or acquired but freely given by the one and only Prince of Peace, Christ the Lord.

Peace of heart in all things. Our peace of heart communicates the gift of pacification to those around us. Peace of heart leads to serene joy. It is one of its sources.

Br Roger of Taizé

Monday 10 March 2014

Fasting is the soul of prayer, mercy is the lifeblood of fasting. So if you pray, fast; if you fast, show mercy; if you want your petition to be heard, hear the petition of others. If you do not close your ear to others, you open God’s ear to yourself.

St Peter Chrysologus

Fasting is largely concieved in terms of food and drinks, however it goes far beyond that to touching on all aspects of lives where change are most desirable. Consequently what is fasted from in terms of material things should be translated to the welfare of the less privilaged amongst us. By so doing, the gap between fasting and mercy is grossly reduced.

Friday 7 March 2014

Fasting is a form of self-deprivation that frees us from ungodly entanglements and frees us for a selfless service to God and to humanity.

If there is no element of asceticism in our lives, if we give free rein to the desires of the flesh (taking care of course to keep within the limits of what seems permissible to the world), we shall find it hard to train for the service of Christ. When the flesh is satisfied it is hard to pray with cheerfulness or to devote oneself to a life of service which calls for much self-renunciation.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, from "The Cost of Discipleship"

Thursday 6 March 2014

We all suffer for each other, and gain by each other's suffering. For man never stands alone here, though he will stand alone hereafter...

John Cardinal Newmann

Lent could sometimes be misunderstood. Instead of a time of joy, transformation and renewal, it might be percieved by some as one of doom and gloom, engendering a rather pessimistic and negative outlook. Pope Francis alludes to this when he said that there are Christians who live their lives as Lent without Easter. Of course, it is true, examination of conscience, repentance and sorrow for sin are very much part of the season - it is after all a penitential season. But these are great blessings and can be, or should be, the sourse of great joy and happiness in our lives.

Ash Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Remember that you are dust and unto dust you shall return! We set off today a 40 days lenten journey. Our Goal: to encounter the Lord.

Being a Christian is not the result of an ethical choice or a lofty idea, but the encounter with an event, a person, which gives life a new horizon and a decisive direction.

Pope Benedict XVI

During this holy season of grace, let us seek a renewed encounter with God's love, let us create time and place to pray, let us seek to deny ourselves certain comforts for the benefit of the less privileged.


These thoughts and quotations are offered for reflection and do not represent the views or policy of the Chaplaincy or The University of Bolton.