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1. MAKE THE SIGN OF THE CROSS THEN SAY"May the Word of the Lord be on my mind, on my lips, and in my heart."

2. COMPOSITION OF PLACE—

"VISIO DIVINA" OR SEEING WITH HEART'S EYES (Optional)

Use this image of Joseph The Carpenter with child Jesus by Georges de La Tour. The experience of beholding a La Tour is like looking at the sunset; your eyes are glued to the dimming sun. Sit down and quietly gaze and marvel at this masterpiece by someone who went through a similar crisis. Ten years after painting this in 1652, Georges and his family perished in an epidemic in LunĂ©ville France. GUIDED MEDITATION—1—Does it mirror or evoke any feeling of the darkness surrounding you these days? Focus on your breathing and feel your own heart beat; listen.—2—Move your attention towards the candle light. Feel in your eyes the warmth. Look at those dirty fingernails. Ask to be cleansed.—3—Notice too the straight flame unperturbed by Joseph's breath. Imagine the heart of God beating and aflame with divine love for you.—4—Join in! The light leads the way as you enter the scene. As you move closer towards Jesus' glowing face you likewise move away from the cast shadows. Look at that face with a bright smile. Thank him briefly.—5—Now, tell Jesus quietly your heart's desires. Imagine his gaze shifting on you. Jesus says "BE STILL AND KNOW THAT I AM GOD" (Ps 46:10). Use this image as a screen saver.

Readings at Mass - 26 Feb 2021

Here is your Readings at Mass page for 26 Feb 2021: Friday of the 1st week of Lent.

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Friday 26 February 2021

Friday of the 1st week of Lent 

Liturgical Colour: Violet.

Readings at Mass


First readingEzekiel 18:21-28

Do I derive any pleasure from the death of the wicked and not rejoice when he turns from his evil way that he may live?

Thus says the Lord God: If the wicked man turns away from all the sins he committed, if he keeps all my statutes and does what is right and just, he shall surely live, he shall not die. None of the crimes he committed shall be remembered against him; he shall live because of the virtue he has practiced. Do I indeed derive any pleasure from the death of the wicked? says the Lord God. Do I not rather rejoice when he turns from his evil way that he may live? And if the virtuous man turns from the path of virtue to do evil, the same kind of abominable things that the wicked man does, can he do this and still live? None of his virtuous deeds shall be remembered, because he has broken faith and committed sin; because of this, he shall die. You say, “The Lord’s way is not fair!” Hear now, house of Israel: Is it my way that is unfair, or rather, are not your ways unfair? When someone virtuous turns away from virtue to commit iniquity, and dies, it is because of the iniquity he committed that he must die. But if the wicked, turning from the wickedness he has committed, does what is right and just, he shall preserve his life; since he has turned away from all the sins that he committed, he shall surely live, he shall not die.

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 130:1-2, 3-4, 5-7a, 7bc-8
If you, O Lord, mark iniquities, who can stand?
Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord; Lord, hear my voice! Let your ears be attentive to my voice in supplication.

If you, O Lord, mark iniquities, who can stand?
If you, O Lord, mark iniquities, Lord, who can stand? But with you is forgiveness, that you may be revered.
If you, O Lord, mark iniquities, who can stand?
I trust in the Lord; my soul trusts in his word. My soul waits for the Lord more than sentinels wait for the dawn. Let Israel wait for the Lord.
If you, O Lord, mark iniquities, who can stand?
For with the Lord is kindness and with him is plenteous redemption; And he will redeem Israel from all their iniquities.
If you, O Lord, mark iniquities, who can stand?

Gospel AcclamationEzekiel 18:31
Cast away from you all the crimes you have committed, says the Lord, and make for yourselves a new heart and a new spirit.

GospelMatthew 5:20-26

Go first and be reconciled with your brother.

Jesus said to his disciples: “I tell you, unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter into the Kingdom of heaven. “You have heard that it was said to your ancestors, You shall not kill; and whoever kills will be liable to judgment. But I say to you, whoever is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment, and whoever says to his brother, Raqa, will be answerable to the Sanhedrin, and whoever says, ‘You fool,’ will be liable to fiery Gehenna. Therefore, if you bring your gift to the altar, and there recall that your brother has anything against you, leave your gift there at the altar, go first and be reconciled with your brother, and then come and offer your gift. Settle with your opponent quickly while on the way to court. Otherwise your opponent will hand you over to the judge, and the judge will hand you over to the guard, and you will be thrown into prison. Amen, I say to you, you will not be released until you have paid the last penny.”
Copyright © 1996-2021 Universalis Publishing Limited: see www.universalis.com. Scripture readings from the Jerusalem Bible are published and copyright © 1966, 1967 and 1968 by Darton, Longman & Todd, Ltd and Doubleday, a division of Random House, Inc, and used by permission of the publishers. Text of the Psalms: Copyright © 1963, The Grail (England). Used with permission of A.P. Watt Ltd. All rights reserved.

Calendar used: Philippines

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3. 'TODAY, IF YOU HEAR HIS VOICE HARDEN NOT YOUR HEARTS'—EVER IN SCRIPTURE, IT IS THE HEART THAT PRAYS. In today's featured Gospel reading, what word or phrase from God speaks to me?—PONDER—LISTEN—THANK—SURRENDER. I contemplate God's word and then end with the OUR FATHER...

Nota bene: Featured after 3:00 PM Philippine Time (PHT) +0800 UTC are the readings for tomorrow.
4. "FATHER, WE THANK YOU FOR SPEAKING TO US TODAY THROUGH YOUR HOLY WORD."
“Now, Master, you may let your servant go in peace, according to your word, for my eyes have seen your salvation, which you prepared in the sight of all the peoples: a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and glory for your people Israel” (Luke 2:29-32).

†FINAL BLESSING

"MAY ALMIGHTY GOD BLESS US, IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER, AND OF THE SON, AND OF THE HOLY SPIRIT. AMEN." The sign of the cross strengthens us in temptations and difficulties (CCC 2157). Wherever you are be mindful of your interior silence. "If we do not understand silence, we do not understand God."

Optional/Alternative Prayer Exercise

THE EXAMEN PRAYER at the Center for Ignatian Spirituality Philippines [www.cisphil.org]

Lectio Divina: The three concentric circles of Divine Reading

I. The first outermost circle–the mind–which is the first place or vessel of the Word. It is said that "Empty vessels make the most sound" so feed your mind with the words of Scripture and let it reverberate–never straining to "study or solve." But, first, it might be good to empty your mind of other concerns. When ready, slowly read and pause to listen to the echoes by remembering a word or a phrase from what you read. Be reverent towards the Word of God that is expressed in human words and fashioned in the light of the same Spirit through whom it was written (cf. DV 12).

II. It is not just the mind that is fed by the Word of God. Move to the second inner circle–the mouth, the door to our enteric nervous system which is commonly called gut. When we were still in the womb of our mothers both our gut and our brain originated from the same clump of tissue called the neural crest. One section turned into the brain between our ears and another section turned into the "second brain" or one's gut where one half of all our nerve cells are located. One can "think" through the gut. Our capacity for feeling and expressing emotions depend primarily on it and, only secondarily, the brain. There is a Native American proverb which says, “Listen or your tongue will make you deaf.” Like the mind, the mouth needs quieting down too. They are like Siamese twins; when one is sick, the other may also be sick. The reason you do not hear others' feelings or even your own emotions is because your busy tongue has made you deaf.

III. Only after we have quieted our two brains that we can move into the third innermost circle–the heart. The opening words of the Rule of St Benedict says, “Listen with the ear of the heart.” What does it mean to listen with the ear of the heart? Once, I got a feedback from one of my silent retreatants who thanked me for listening not only to words but to movements of the heart. It dawned on me that it does make a big difference to listen in this way. As always in the Scripture, it is the heart that prays. Deep in the heart, prayer happens. So allow the "ears of your heart"–to do their work. It is a difficult and challenging journey though to listen with the heart if it is not emptied, e.g., of one's own assumptions, prejudices and past hurts. However, this is the most privileged place to receive the Word of Scripture. This innermost place of prayer is what the desert fathers and mothers call “purity of heart” where we come face to face with God. "Even before there is a word on my tongue, behold, O LORD, You know it all" (Ps 139:4). Although God knows already what you might have there in your heart, talk to Him and listen reverently to His words of consolation.