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Archive for the ‘Lent’ Category


lamb

Again in the holy Gospel for this week, the Lord Jesus solemnly challenges His foes to find in Hun any fault if they could: “Which of you convinceth Me of sin.” To this challenge there was no reply, and never at any time did His bitterest enemies lay any moral fault to His charge. The most they could do was to attempt to fasten upon Him an accusation of a political nature, and to accuse Him of sedition. But this was obviously so untrue that Pilate refused to entertain it. “I find,” he said, “no fault in Him; no, nor yet Herod.” His only fault, even in the eyes of His accusers, was that He had claimed to be the Son of God and the Messiah of Israel.

It was necessary that the sacrifice for sin should be God, for if He were not God His sacrifice of Himself would not be a sacrifice of sufficient value to atone for the sins of all men. It was necessary that the sacrifice for sin should be man, for God cannot suffer and die. As it was man who had sinned, it was just that man should make atonement for sin.

It was necessary also that the man who would make this atonement should be a sinless man, for otherwise ho would have been among those who needed that that atonement should be made. Moreover, if the Lord Jesus had been guilty of sin, this would have contradicted the truth of His Godhead. So, we see, therefore, that it was necessary that He should be unstained by sin. “The wages of sin is death,” and if He had deserved to die for His own sin His death could not have been an atonement for the sins of oven one other man.

It may be thought that if He was thus sinless His temptation was unreal. On the contrary, this made His temptations so much the more painful to Him. The purer in heart any man may be, the more painful will temptation he to him. To the perfectly holy soul of the Lord Jesus all temptations to sin were more horrible and painful than they are to our sin-stained souls.

Prayer

Lord Jesus, help me to be holy because Thou art the most Holy, and to follow Thee day by day. Amen.

From Lent for Busy People © 2017 Fr. Charles H. Nalls

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Church

In the holy Gospel for this week, the truth that our Lord and Saviour is God is plainly set forth. “Before Abraham was, I am.” There is with Him neither past nor future. The words “I am” express the truth of His eternal being.

Yet He laid aside His Divine glory, which He had with the Father before the world was, and humbled Himself to be made man, that He might be truly and perfectly both God and Man. As man He chose the last and the lowest place. His mother was a maiden of somewhat lowly station. He was born in the stable of an inn. He grew up as a carpenter at Nazareth. He had not anywhere to lay His head, and was among His disciples as he that serveth.

His will was not only to be tempted in all points like as we are, but also to know the fellowship of our infirmities, that He might feel the sorrows of all, and so be able to sympathize with all. His desire was to be poor that He might know by experience something of the grinding hardness of poverty. He was to labor with hard toil that, though sinless Himself, He might taste and bear the curse of sin which was partly expressed in the words, “In the sweat of thy brow shalt thou eat bread.”

He was young as many regular men, active, vigorous, and of high spirit, like myself. But He was without sin, “a Son that never did amiss,” brave and patient, but at the same time kind and gentle towards all, loving above all things the courts of His Father’s house.

Temptation assailed Him, but He conquered it. Sometimes it came from the great tempter himself, sometimes from the mistaken kindness of some dear friend, and sometimes from the cruel taunts of bitter foes. In spite of all, though He was sometimes weighed down and depressed by it all, He kept the straight path of obedience to the will of God. At last, when He had perfected His obedience in life He offered Himself in death a sacrifice for our sins.

Prayer

Lord Jesus, teach me truly to believe in Thee, that I may the better know Thy love, and so may the more heartily love and follow Thee all the days of my life. Amen.

From Lent for Busy People © 2017 Fr. Charles H. Nalls

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confession-drawing-01
On Passion Sunday the sense of mourning is intensified by the veiling of all crucifixes, devotional statues, and pictures–the Church is hiding her glory as she mourns the price of our salvation. The Stations of the Cross, however, remain uncovered; and well so, for throughout Lent, but more so as the Passion is approached, they are one of the chief forms of devotion both for corporate and for individual acts of worship.

During Passiontide, in Masses of the Season, the Glory be is not heard. The Preface of Lent is replaced by that of the Holy Cross which reminds us that the tree of Calvary repaired the damage caused by the tree of Eden: “Who by the tree of the Cross didst give salvation unto mankind; that whence death arose, thence life might rise again: and that he [i.e. the devil] who by a tree overcame, might also by a tree be overcome.”

The words of the daily Masses reflect the approach of the Passion, the Gospel on Saturday in Passion Week ending with the significant words “These things spake Jesus, and departed, and did hide himself from them.” It is he who will regulate the pace of the drama. Tomorrow, but not before, he will go up to Jerusalem; on Friday, but not before, he will ascend the Cross.

Prayer

We beseech thee, Almighty God, mercifully to look upon thy people; that by thy great goodness they may be governed and preserved evermore, both in body and soul; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.-Collect for Passion Sunday, 1928 Book of Common Prayer

From Lent for Busy People © 2017 Fr. Charles H. Nalls

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armor

The means of grace of which I have been thinking during the last few days have been granted me because, as a soldier, I need them. How would St. Paul arm me for the fight?

First, he girds me with the truth, and as the girdle enabled the ancient soldier to be free and unimpeded in fighting; so, much depends also on the completeness of my belief in the truth of God, and on my being quite truthful.

Then, as it was of the first importance that the breastplate also should be sound, because it covered the part of the body upon which the most dangerous wounds might be inflicted. So I must arm myself with the righteousness of my Lord, and strive to be so obedient, that Satan may find no opening by means of which he may wound my soul. If the Christian soldier is at peace with God, himself, and his fellows, he will, like a well-shod soldier, be the better fitted and equipped for his warfare.

“Above all taking the shield of faith,” for faith in God, in the love and power of Jesus Christ our Lord, in the grace of the Holy Ghost in things unseen, and in the ultimate triumph of right and truth. It lifts him who feels it above the world, and enables him to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.

Where there is faith there will also be hope. The hope of salvation in Christ is such a defence to the Christian as his helmet was to the soldier.

The only weapon is the Word of God, the sword which the Captain of our Salvation wielded so mightily in the wilderness. With it He repelled all Satan’s temptations with utterances from the Word of God. “Praying always,” adds St. Paul; not only night and morning, but everywhere. Such a soldier I am called to be.

Now “the royal banners forward go,” for the King is going forth to His last great conflict, which shall issue in the victory of the Resurrection, and in the triumph of the Ascension.

Prayer

O Lord Jesu Christ, draw me near unto Thee in the hours of Thy Passion, that I may learn of Thee how to attain to the victory. Amen.

From Lent for Busy People © 2017 Fr. Charles H. Nalls

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scott

It is vain for me to pray unless I am striving to do God’s will. If I am to do His will I must read His Word. It must be a lantern unto my feet and a light unto my paths. I need not read much at a time; but I should at least read a little regularly. Neither will it be much advantage if I read my Bible as a task, or merely as a duty, and do not try to see the meaning of what I read, and remember it, and think about it. Neither, of course, will it be any advantage, but the contrary, if I do not obey that which I learn from it. If I wish thus to read it I must pray for light and guidance. I must seek teaching and help from others, and be very unwilling to lean to my own understanding.

When we have learned the basics of the Christian Faith, that is, when we have learned to believe that in the one Godhead there are Three Persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost; and when we have learned to believe in the Incarnation of the Son of God, that He is now both God and Man, and in His Cross and Passion, His Resurrection and Ascension, and in the coming of the Holy Ghost, we shall do well to read and ponder the teaching of our Lord and His apostles. We do this with the practical purpose of learning what we must do if we would not forfeit our part in this great salvation, but make our calling and election sure. (I Peter i.10)

It is a great privilege to have the opportunity of being taught in church, to know the Creeds, and to have a Bible which we may read at home. And the more familiar we are with the Holy Scriptures, the better we shall be able to follow, and to understand, the teaching we receive in church. If the lantern of God’s Word is to guide us we must walk in the light of it; if it is to be a light which shall keep us from stumbling, we must let the light shine upon our daily path.

Prayer

O God, who hast given us Thy Word to show us the way that we should walk in grant me grace, I beseech Thee, always to rule myself after Thy Word, that I may walk always in the path of obedience to Thy will, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

From Lent for Busy People © 2017 Fr. Charles H. Nalls

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ChaliceSince the fall of man it has been impossible to enter into communion with God except on the basis of sacrifice. A sacrifice was not necessarily offered every time prayer was made. However, prayer and thanksgiving were offered in connection with the typical sacrifices of the patriarchs and of the law of Moses; as they are now offered in connection with the true sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ, through Whom alone we can come unto the Father. Almost every prayer, therefore, concludes with the words “through Jesus Christ our Lord,” since we and our prayers can only be accepted in Him.

In the celebration of the Holy Communion. “He instituted, and in His holy Gospel commanded us to continue, a perpetual memory of His precious death,” whereby He offered Himself a sacrifice for our sins, “until His coming again.” “Do this,” He said, “in remembrance of Me.” Again, “Do this, as oft as ye shall drink it, in remembrance of Me.”

Thus He made the celebration of this great sacrament to be the memorial of His sacrifice of Himself once offered, that His Church on earth might, in union with Him, plead that sacrifice, even as Ho pleads it on our behalf before the Throne in Heaven. Hence the Collect, which is used at the celebration of the Holy Communion, is used in the Morning and Evening Prayer day by day, to link and unite all our prayers and thanksgivings to that Celebration.

Therefore, it is rightly called the Holy Communion, for in it we have communion with God; with the Father, who giveth us the true Bread from Heaven; and with the Son, whose Body and Blood are given to us to be our spiritual food and sustenance. In this way, we may dwell in Him and He in us and with the Holy Ghost, who is the Spirit that quickens us. Here we join with the angels and archangels and all the company of heaven worshipping and adoring God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, whose peace and blessing. are bestowed upon us.

Prayer

O God, I beseech Thee to bless me, and to feed me with the Bread of Life, even the precious Body and Blood of Him through whom alone we have access to Thee, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

From Lent for Busy People © 2017 Fr. Charles H. Nalls

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Catholic ChurchIs public worship dreary obligation or joyful obedience?

The obligation to worship God arises naturally from the relation in which we stand to Him. We have been created, redeemed, and regenerated by God, and therefore we naturally owe Him worship as well as obedience.

We are also members of Christ, and therefore children of God and also, inheritors of the kingdom of heaven. This relation in which we stand to God is a gift from God alone, and all these hopes are built on God. It is both natural and reasonable that we should offer unto God the homage of our grateful hearts.

When we are gathered together in His House of prayer for this purpose, He is present to receive this worship, and to grant His blessing. He was thus present in the tabernacle and in the temple of Israel.

In the bright, radiant glory which rested on the mercy-seat, between the cherubim, in the Holy of Holies, was the presence of God. None of the Israelites had seen it, except only the high priest, and he only on one day in each year; but they believed that it was there. They were glad, therefore, to go up to the house of the Lord.

In like manner the same Presence, though also invisible, has been promised to us, “Where two or three are gathered together in My name, there am I in the midst of them.” So that every church, whether it be mean and poor, or beautiful and stately in outward appearance, is to the earnest Christian “the House of God and the gate of Heaven.”

The value of public worship to us arises chiefly from this fact. But it is often forgotten, for if it were believed and remembered many would necessarily behave with more awe and reverence in church than they do. As they worship God the holy angels veil their faces.

But how is it with me? Am I glad to go up to the house of the Lord? When there, am I attentive and reverent because I believe that I am in God’s presence?

Prayer

O God, who art present everywhere, help me, I beseech Thee, by Thy Holy Spirit to worship Thee in spirit and in truth, and to draw near unto Thee at all times with reverence and godly fear, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

From Lent for Busy People © 2017 Fr. Charles H. Nalls

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