Thoughts for Lent, Tuesday after the Fourth Sunday in Lent

The Meaning of Life

To judge from the way we spend our days, life might be only a comedy. Throughout the year, we pass the time, working and playing, eating and drinking, and making merry, as if these were the sum total of the things that concern us; as if our existence upon this earth had no very profound meaning; as if life were indeed a comedy, marred occasionally by the intrusion of some painful episodes, but generally pleasant and sure to end happily. The truth is that life is tragic. We know that best when we are alone, alone with God.

The life that appears upon the surface is a sham. The soul-life, the inner life, the life of mental and spiritual struggle, is terribly real. Its considerable and inconclusive victories, its tragic failures, and the always impending possibility of final disaster, make even the most prosaic life dramatic, if not tragic.

As with life, so with religion. Superficially, our religion seems to be a matter of routine, of form, of ceremony and regular observance. In the lives of some it even appears to be a matter of play, of enjoyment, a high sort of pleasure. But, fundamentally, religion is solemn and awful. The basic fact of our faith is a hideous tragedy, the Crucifixion. In the Lenten season we look beneath the surface of life, delve deeper down into profound mystery, into the suffering and death of the Son of God.

- Father James M Gillis

Among other things needful in the spiritual combat, one is the perseverance with which we must strive continually to mortify our passions, which in this life never die, but on the contrary like evil weeds shoot up every hour.

And this is a battle from which, as it ends only with life, there is no escape; and he who fights not in it is of necessity either taken captive or slain. Besides we have to deal with enemies who bear us an unceasing hatred, so that from them we can never hope either for peace or a truce, because they slay those most cruelly who strive most to make friends of them.

Thou hast no cause however to fear either their power or their number; for in the battle none can be a loser but he who wills it; the whole strength of our enemies is in the hand of the Captain for whose honor we have to fight. And not only will He guard thee from all treachery, but He will even fight for thee, a being mightier than all these enemies. He will give the victory into your hands, if only you wilt fight manfully together with Him, and trust not in thyself, but in His power and goodness. And if the Lord give thee not so speedy a victory, be not disheartened, but be the more assured that all things which shall befall thee, those even which to thee may seem furthest from, yea most opposed to your victory, all will He turn to your good and profit, if you wilt but bear thyself as a faithful and generous warrior.

- Scupoli

The soldier's fidelity is proved in battle, and blessed is he who is faithful in adversity. - Saint Alphonsus Liguori

I waited patiently for the Lord, and He inclined unto me and heard my cry. - Offertory

Almighty and everlasting God, the comfort of the sad, the strength of sufferers, let the prayers of those that cry out of any tribulation come unto Thee; that all may rejoice to find that Thy mercy is present with them in their afflictions.

Give fortitude, O Lord, to all who are afraid, and confidence to those who have no trust; that, sustained by the knowledge of Your unfailing power, they may adore always the Majesty of Your Fatherly will and loving kindness. Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

To save one's soul is the man-sized task in the world. Even with grace it can never be child's play; without grace, it would make a Hercules look like a kindergarten frolic.

- Father E. F. Murphy, S.J.

- the texts are taken from -