Keep your eyes open!...


Lent, 2015  

(Ecc 3:1-7) All things have their season, and in their times all things pass under heaven. A time to be born and a time to die. A time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted. A time to kill, and a time to heal. A time to destroy, and a time to build. A time to weep, and a time to laugh. A time to mourn, and a time to dance. A time to scatter stones, and a time to gather. A time to embrace, and a time to be far from embraces. A time to get, and a time to lose. A time to keep, and a time to cast away. A time to rend, and a time to sew. A time to keep silence, and a time to speak.

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VATICAN: Pope warns of globalization of indifference in Lenten message

ARCHBISHOP CHAPUT:  On the threshold of Lent, 2015

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10 things to remember for Lent

MEDITATION: Thoughts by St Theophan (1815-1894)

[Heb. 7:18-25; Luke 21:37-22:8]

Satan entered into Judas, and taught him how to betray the Lord; he agreed, and betrayed Him. Satan entered because the door was opened for him. What is within us is always closed; the Lord Himself stands outside and knocks, that we might open. What causes it to open? It is opened by sympathy, predisposition, or agreement. If all of this is inclined in the direction of the Lord, He enters. If satan enters, and not the Lord, the person himself is guilty. If you do not allow thoughts pleasing to satan, if you do not sympathize with them, or dispose yourself to their suggestions and agree to do them, satan walks nearby and then leaves, for he is not given power over anyone. If he takes possession of anyone, it is because that person gives himself over in slavery to him.

The source of all evil is one's thoughts. Do not allow bad thoughts and you will forever close the door of your soul to satan. That bad thoughts come — what can you do? Nobody on the earth is without them; there is no sin here. Chase them away, and that will end everything. If they come again, chase them away again — and so on for your entire life. When you accept thoughts and become engaged in them, it is not surprising that sympathy toward them appears as well; then they become even more persistent. After sympathy come bad intentions either for these or other bad deeds. Vague intentions then define themselves by an inclination toward one thing or another. Choice, agreement and resoluteness set in, and then sin is within! The door of the heart is opened wide. As soon as agreement forms, satan jumps in and begins to tyrannize. Then the poor soul is driven wearisomely like a slave or a pack-animal into doing indecent things. If it had not allowed bad thoughts, nothing of the sort would have happened.

REFLECTION: Lent leads to Easter

LENTEN READING: Lord of the World [Kindle edition $0.99] (non illustrated) eBook: Robert Hugh Benson: Kindle Store

BLOG: Pope Francis on Benson's "The Lord of the World"

Pope Francis talked about more than rabbits on his flight back from the Philippines. He mentioned Robert Hugh Benson's The Lord of the World in the context of discussing "ideological colonization" when first world countries offer funds to third world countries with strings attached:

There is a book, excuse me but I'll make a commercial, there is a book that maybe is a bit heavy at the beginning because it was written in 1903 in London. It is a book that at that time, the writer had seen this drama of ideological colonization and wrote in that book. It is called "The Lord of the Earth," or "The Lord of the World." One of those. The author is Benson, written in 1903. I advise you to read it. Reading it, you'll understand well what I mean by ideological colonization.

What Pope Francis is referring to is really the claims of secularization to create a perfect society imposed on the world. Pope Francis has referred to Benson's futuristic novel before, as Frances Philips of The Catholic Herald noted in 2014. She then cites Monsignor Robert Barron's analysis on Benson's novel:

Barron writes that it is the story “of the cataclysmic struggle between a radically secularist society and the one credible alternative to it, namely the Catholic Church.” Some people bridle at this claim, yet it is significant that innumerable converts cite it as the single most important reason for their conversion to the Church.

Barron points out that it is impressive that Benson “saw as clearly as he did the dangerous potential of the secularist ideology. By this I mean the view that this world, perfected and rendered convenient by technology, would ultimately satisfy the deepest longings of the human heart.” Benson’s bleak vision shows the “anti-Christ” – a charismatic personage called Julian Felsenburgh – winning all his battles against the Church with deadly efficiency, except for the final confrontation which takes place, not surprisingly, at Megiddo, “sometimes called Armageddon.”

Then Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger also urged his listeners at a speech in 1992 to read The Lord of the World in response to then President George H.W. Bush's talk of a "New World Order", saying that Benson's book depicted "a similar unified civilization and its power to destroy the spirit. The anti-Christ is represented as the great carrier of peace in a similar new world order.".

Father John McCloskey offers an introduction to the book and its author here. Although there are many reprints available, you can also read it online here.

MORE: Understanding Pope Francis - Francis and ‘The Lord of the World’

SEE ALSO: Letter # 5, 2015: Editorial — The Peril the Pope Fears BY ROBERT MOYNIHAN


The TRIB TIMES will not be updated again this year during the Lenten season, extending to the first week after Easter.  My computer time will be limited to 30 minutes each morning and evening during Lent. I will read all emails I receive, and will answer all that I can, time permitting.  I may also occasionally email non-reformatted news articles to Trib Times subscribers that I find to be of particular interest. But barring a major event (admittedly not unlikely these days), the Trib Times web page itself will not be updated. 

I apologize to all who have recently subscribed but will keep your email information for use after my return.  God willing, the next issue of the Trib Times should be shortly after Divine Mercy Sunday, April 12, 2015.  Please keep me in your prayers, and be assured that I will do the same.

I recommend the following links to keep up with unfolding events:

Catholic News

Signs of the Times

Readings & Meditations for Lent & Holy Week

Catholic Commentary
Courageous Priest
Statements of Archbishop Chaput
Crisis Magazine

Newer subscribers may also be interested in a meditation that first appeared in the Trib Times in 2004, The Pain of the Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ.

ORTHODOX LENT PRAYER: “Grant unto me, Thy servant, the spirit of chastity, meekness, humility, patience and love.

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The Desert Fathers: sayings of the Early Christian Monks: Sober Living

43. A brother said to a hermit, 'I don't find any disturbance in my heart.' The hermit said, 'You are like a door swinging open. Anyone who likes can go inside, and come out again, and you don't notice what is happening. If you had a door that was shut you wouldn't let wicked thoughts come in, and then you would see them standing outside the door and fighting against you.'
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