Ascension : Grotto News: Thought For The Week
Submitted by The Islander (Gavin Yon) 18.03.2004 (Article Archived on 01.04.2004)
Psalm 102 says that the Lord is compassion and love.
Psalm 102 says that the Lord is compassion and love. What a marvelous statement, one that puts all of our faith and trust into context for us. The compassion that our Lord has for us, and His love for us is His greatest gift, and His greatest blessing. Everything else stems from the abundance of His feelings for us. The psalm then goes on to spell it out in more detail.
“It is He who forgives all your guilt”. With the Lord’s forgiveness we can overcome our shortcomings, our past mistakes. He has the compassion to forgive us if we truly repent, and to let us move forward with a clean slate. He is forgiving enough to continue to forgive us when we slip again, because none of us are perfect and no matter how hard we try, we still make mistakes. If we approach the Lord, however, with true repentance, forgiveness will be granted. There is no limit to His love, and no statute of limitations on His forgiveness.
“It is He who heals every one of your ills”. We know that when bad things happen to us, that we usually turn to Him. It is our faith, and His support and guidance that help us to get through the dark times that we all encounter in our lives. Without this help, we would have an even tougher struggle. It still may not be easy, but our lives will go in the direction that He has chosen for us, but we know that we will make it. As Mother Teresa said: “I know that God won’t give me more than I can handle”. We can lean on Him, and know that as the poem says, when there is only one set of footprints in the sand, that was when He was carrying us.
“It is He who redeems your life from the grave”. This is what gives us comfort when our loved ones pass away, and when we look ahead to our own final days. The knowledge that we will be rewarded for our faith and commitment by joining God and those who have gone before us in a better place is what helps to ease the pain of the passing of those we love. It consoles us, and makes the burden of loss easier to bear.
“The Lord does deeds of justice, gives judgment for all who are oppressed”. This statement helps us by reassuring us that those people among us who suffer from oppression and live under terrible conditions will eventually triumph over the evils that surround them. This doesn’t absolve us of the necessity for our help in relieving their plight, because often we are the instruments of God’s love and compassion. It is we who have the tools to help end the suffering of many of our fellow people. And it is our testament to our faith when we use these tools for good. And it is our duty as Christians to put these tools to good use.
So, on this third Sunday of the Lenten season, let us remember the words of this psalm and take time to reflect on them, and come to understand their importance to our faith. Let us always remember the truth of the words “The Lord is compassion and love” and be grateful for this gift. And let us always remember the opening words of the psalm, and do our best to live by them:
“My soul, give thanks to the Lord, all my being, bless His holy name.
My soul give thanks to the Lord and never forget all his blessings”.
MOTHERING SUNDAY 21ST MARCH 2004 : THE ORIGINS OF THE FESTIVAL
The earliest festivals for honouring the mother figure are pre-Christian in origins, relating to the mother-goddess of pagan religion and entwined with the springtime cycle of new life and rebirth. The ancient Greeks celebrated a day in spring to honour the mother of the gods, Rhea, and early Christians held a springtime festival in honour of Mary the mother of Jesus. As the Christian faith spread through Europe, this practice was carried with it and this celebration of the Mother of Christ was gradually extended to the Mother Church and, eventually, to honour all mothers.
Mothering Sunday has been celebrated in Britain on the fourth Sunday in Lent since at least the 16th century. The custom possibly originated in the church festival of "Refreshment Sunday" when everyone was expected to revisit the church in which they were baptised, their "mother church." Many people worked away from home as servants in the homes of the wealthy so had to be given a day off to visit their home church and would naturally also be able to visit their families on this occasion; eventually this became the prime purpose of this annual visit and so "Mothering Sunday" was born.In the USA Mothers' Day is celebrated on the second Sunday in May, a date fixed in 1914; this date is shared by Australia, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Italy and Turkey.