Quinquagesima Week [Monday-Tuesday]
#1
MONDAY OF QUINQUAGESIMA WEEK
Taken from The Liturgical Year by Dom Prosper Gueranger (1841-1875)

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The life of a faithful Christian, like that of the patriarch Abraham, is neither more nor less than a courageous journeying onwards to the place destined by him by his Creator. He must put aside everything that could impede his progress, nor must he look back. This is, undoubtedly, hard doctrine; but if we reflect, for a moment, on the dangers which surround fallen man during his earthly pilgrimage, and on what our own sad experience has taught us, we shall not think it hard or strange, that our Saviour has made the renouncing and denying of ourselves an essential condition of our salvation. But, independently of this, is it not far better to put our life under God’s guidance, than to keep it in our own? Are we so wise or so strong, as to be able to guide ourselves? We may resist as we please, but God is our sovereign Lord and Master; and by giving us free-will, whereby we may either resist His will or follow it, He has not abdicated His own infinite rights to His creatures’ obedience. Our refusal to obey would not make Him less our Master.

Had Abraham, after receiving the divine call, chosen to remain in Chaldea, and refused to break up the home which God had bade him leave, God would then have selected some other man to be the patriarch of His chosen people, and father of that very family, which was to have the Messias as one of its children. This substitution of one for another in the order of grace is frequently forced upon divine justice; but what a terrible punishment it is for him that caused the substitution! When a soul refused salvation, heaven does not therefore lose one of its elect: God, finding that He is despised by the one He called, offers the grace to another, until His call His followed.

The Christian life consists in this untiring, unreserved obedience to God. The first effect of this spirit of submission is, that it takes the soul from the region of sin and death, wherein she was wasting away her existence; it takes her from the dark Chaldea, and places her in the promised land of light. Lest she should faint on her way along the narrow path, and fall a victim to the dangers which never leave her because they are within herself, God asks her for sacrifices, and these brace her. Here, again, we have Abraham for our model. God loves him, and promises him the richest of blessings; He gives him a son, as pledge of the promise; and then, shortly after, tests the holy patriarch’s devotedness, by commanding him to slay with his own hand this dear child, on whom he has been told to build his hopes!

Man’s path on earth is sacrifice. We cannot go out from evil except by the way of self-resistance, nor keep our footing on good ground but by constant combating. Let us imitate Abraham: fix our eyes steadfastly on the eternal hills, and consider this world as a mere passing dwelling, a tent, put up for a few days. Our Jesus has said to us: “I came not to send peace, but the sword; for I came to separate.” Separation, then, and trial are sure to be sent us; but we are equally sure that they are for our good, since they are sent us by Him who so loved us that He became one of ourselves. But this same Jesus has also said: “Where thy treasure is, there too is thy heart.” Christians! can our treasure be in this wretched world? No, it must be in that fair land above. There, then, must we be, in desire and affection.

These are the thoughts the Church would have us meditate upon during these days, which immediately precede the forty of Lent. They will help to purify our hearts and make them long to be with their God. The noise of the world’s sins and scandals reaches our ears: let us pray that the kingdom of God may come to us and to those poor sinners; for God’s infinite mercy can change them, if He will, into children of Abraham. Not a day passes but He so changes many a sinner. He has, perhaps, shown that miracle of His mercy to us, and those words of the apostle may be applied to us: “You, who some time were afar off, are now made nigh (to God) by the Blood of Christ.”

Let us pray for ourselves and for all sinners, in these beautiful words of the Mozarabic breviary.

Prayer

Dum te, omnipotens Deus, nostræ delinquentiæ reddunt adversum, tua inspiratione, quæsumus, nostra te invocatio propitium et confessio faciat esse placatum: ut, te miserante, nec tribulatio secularis nostram mentem dejiciat, nec persuasio nociva possideat, nec infidelitas tenebrosa concludat; sed vultus tui super nos signato lumine fulgeamus, semperque in eodem splendore stabilitate veræ fidei gradiamur. Amen.

We beseech thee, O almighty God! that whereas our sins have angered thee against us, our prayers and praise, which thou inspirest, may propitiate and please thee: that thus, by thy mercy, the vexations of this world may not cast down our soul, nor hurtful delusion possess her, nor the darkness of unbelief surround her; but may we gleam with the light of thy countenance, wherewith thou hast signed us, and ever, by firmness in the true faith, walk in the brightness of the same. Amen.
"So let us be confident, let us not be unprepared, let us not be outflanked, let us be wise, vigilant, fighting against those who are trying to tear the faith out of our souls and morality out of our hearts, so that we may remain Catholics, remain united to the Blessed Virgin Mary, remain united to the Roman Catholic Church, remain faithful children of the Church."- Abp. Lefebvre
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#2
Tuesday of Quinquagesima Week
Taken from The Liturgical Year by Dom Prosper Gueranger (1841-1875)

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The fundamental rule of Christian life is, as almost every page of the Gospel tells us, that we should live out of the world, separate ourselves from the world, hate the world. The world is that ungodly land which Abraham, our sublime model, is commanded by God to quit. It is that Babylon of our exile and captivity, where we are beset with dangers. The beloved disciple cries out to us: “Love not the world, nor the things which are in the world. If any man love the world, the charity of the Father is not in him.” Our most merciful Jesus, at the very time when He was about to offer Himself as a sacrifice for all men, spoke these awful words: “I pray not for the world.” When we were baptized and were signed with the glorious and indelible character of Christians, the condition required of us, and accepted, was that we should renounce the works and pomps of the world (which we expressed under the name of Satan); and this solemn baptismal promise we have often renewed.

But what is the meaning of our promise to renounce the world? Is it that we cannot be Christians unless we flee into the desert and separate ourselves from our fellow creatures? Such cannot be God’s will for all, since in that same Scripture wherein He commands us to flee from the world, He also tells us what are our duties to each other, and sanctions and blesses those ties which He Himself has willed should exist among us. His apostle also tells us to use this world as though we did not use it. It is not, therefore, forbidden us to live in, and to use, the world. Then, what means this renouncing of the world? Can there be contradiction in God’s commandments? Is it possible that we are condemned to wander blindly on the brink of a precipice, into which we must at last inevitably fall?

There is neither contradiction nor snare. If by the world we mean these visible things around us which God created in His power and goodness; if we mean this outward world, which He made for His own glory and our benefit; it is worthy of its divine Author, and to us, if we but use it aright, as a ladder whereby our souls may ascend to their God. Let us gratefully use this world; go through it without making it the object of our hope; not waste upon it that love which God alone deserves; and ever be mindful that we are not made for this, but for another and a happier, world.

But the majority of men are not thus prudent in their use of the world. Their hearts are fixed upon it, and not upon heaven. Hence it was that when the Creator deigned to come into this world, in order that He might save it, the world knew Him not. Men were called after the name of the object of their love. They shut their eyes to the light; they became darkness; God calls them “the world.”

In this sense, then, the world is everything that is opposed to our Lord Jesus Christ, that refuses to recognize Him, and that resists His divine guidance. Those false maxims which tend to weaken the love of God in our souls; which recommend the vanities that fasten our hearts to this present life; which cry down everything that can raise us above our weaknesses or vices; which decoy and gratify our corrupt nature by dangerous pleasures, which, far from helping us to the attainment of our last end, only mislead us—all these are “the world.”

This world is everywhere, and holds a secret league within our very hearts. Sin has brought it into this exterior world created by God for Himself, and has given it prominence. Now we must conquer it, and trample upon it, or we shall perish with it. There is no being neutral; we must be its enemies or its slaves. During these three days, its triumphs are fearful; and thousands of those who, at their Baptism, swore eternal enmity to it, are enrolling themselves its votaries. Let us pray for them; but let us also tremble for ourselves; and that our courage may not fail us, let us ponder those consoling words which our Savior, at His last Supper, addressed to His eternal Father. He is speaking of His disciples, and He says: “Father! I have given them Thy word, and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, as I also am not of the world. I pray not, that Thou shouldst take them out of the world, but that Thou shouldst keep them from evil.”

As an appropriate conclusion of this day, we may use this formula of the Ambrosian liturgy. 
It puts two truths in contrast: the spiritual indifference of worldlings, and the dread severity of God’s future judgment.
Ingressa
(Dominica in Quinquagesima)
Jucunda est præsens vita, et transit: terribile est, Christe, judicium tuum, et permanet. Quapropter incertum amorem relinquamus, et de infinito timore cogitemus, clamantes: Christe, miserere nobis. 


Sweet is this present life, but it passes away; terrible, O Christ, is thy judgment, and it endures for ever. Let us, therefore, cease to love what is unstable, and fix our thoughts on the fear of what is eternal; saying: Christ, have mercy upon us!
"So let us be confident, let us not be unprepared, let us not be outflanked, let us be wise, vigilant, fighting against those who are trying to tear the faith out of our souls and morality out of our hearts, so that we may remain Catholics, remain united to the Blessed Virgin Mary, remain united to the Roman Catholic Church, remain faithful children of the Church."- Abp. Lefebvre
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#3
A reminder...
"So let us be confident, let us not be unprepared, let us not be outflanked, let us be wise, vigilant, fighting against those who are trying to tear the faith out of our souls and morality out of our hearts, so that we may remain Catholics, remain united to the Blessed Virgin Mary, remain united to the Roman Catholic Church, remain faithful children of the Church."- Abp. Lefebvre
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