Reflection extracts from Daily Thoughts February and March 2020

Feb 25, 2020


Study and Read:  Do a family project on becoming eco-friendly: pray and share together. check family carbon footprint, energy and water saving, grow herbs, vegetables, trees, eat more healthily, support wild life, birds, bees, insects.

Save money:  Cut down alcohol, smoking, fizzy drinks, junk food, bottled water, cut car use. Think 2ce before you spend, do clothes-swop, buy bulk and share.

Waste-reduction:  Avoid single use plastics, styrofoam, avoid wasting food, compost food wastage.

Energy Saving:  Do energy check, switch off unnecessary lights and plugs, use solar power, use rechargeable batteries.

Water saving:  Use “grey” water from bath, shower and washing for toilets and garden. Don’t run taps if not needed.

General:  clean up environment, recycle, plant trees, support ecological campaigns in church, school and society

Care for others:  Share, give to poor, give away unused items, show care for sick and lonely.

Lenten calendar 2020  For a more comprehensive FAMILY LENTEN CALENDAR with a long list of possible activities.

February 26.  Ash Wednesday. BEGINNING OF LENT.  See eco-friendly family list. Jack, a catechist,  offered an explanation for the three Catholic practices of Lent which are each a form of sacrifice and should be done each day. “Prayer, fasting and almsgiving.  Prayer makes room for God in our lives. Fasting can mean denying ourselves something we like, so as to share with others in need.  Almsgiving means to share with others some of our gifts, time, talents, money or other possessions. A sacrifice is essentially something offered to God.  It can mean taking up something, doing, making, giving extra time for the benefit of others.  I have noticed that what can and does happen is that adults take extra time for churchy things while not much is done at home. Adopting a Family Lenten calendar and building in the environmental needs provides some ideas for Lent in the family.”

“Even now, says the Lord, return to me with all your heart, with fasting , weeping and mourning.  Tear your hearts and not your garments.  Gather the people, elders, children even nursing infants. Let the bridegroom leave his room and the bride her chamber. Joel 2:12-18. Remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return. From blessing with ashes.  Pope Francis: Our sister, Mother Earth cries out to us because of the harm we have inflicted on her by our irresponsible use and abuse of the goods with which God has endowed her.  We have forgotten that we ourselves are dust of the earth; our very bodies are made up of her elements, we breathe her air and receive life and refreshment from her waters.  LS2

February 27.   Jack continued his sharing about Lent.  “I never used to think about it much but when Moses speaks about life and death it certainly makes me think about the drought that exists in large parts of the country.  Animals and vegetation are dying for lack of water and human beings are suffering too.  We pray to God for rain but also have to accept responsibility for the fact that our actions have contributed to global warming and drought.  How can we repent?

Moses spoke to the people, “See I have set before you this day life and good, death and evil.  If you obey the commandments of the Lord by loving the Lord your God, walking in his ways and keeping his commandments then you shall live and multiply and the Lord your God will bless you in the land. Deut 30:15-20.  Pope Francis:  We need a spirit of holiness capable of filling both our solitude and our service, our personal life and our evangelizing efforts, so that every moment can be an expression of self-sacrificing love in the Lord’s eyes. In this way, every minute of our lives can be a step along the path to growth in holiness. GE Gaudete et Exultate. 31  

February 29.  Everyone agreed that still thinking about life-giving love and love giving life, the February theme, would contribute to it being a very meaningful Lenten journey. “We’ve certainly had some new insights to take to families at home.  Thanks to you, one and all and Thanks and Praise be to God!”

If you take away the pointing of the finger and speaking wickedness, if you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted the Lord will guide you continually and satisfy your desire with good things, make your bones strong and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water whose waters do not fail. Is 58: 9-14.  Pope Francis. God, who calls us to generous commitment and to give him our all, offers us the light and the strength needed to continue on our way.  In the heart of this world, the Lord of life, who loves us so much is always present.  He does not abandon us, he does not leave us alone, for he has united himself definitively to our earth and his love constantly impels us to find new ways forward.  Praise be to him!  LS 245


MARCH OVERVIEW.  Family Rights with a Lenten focus.   Of all human rights the right to life should be paramount. In some form it is enshrined in most Constitutions; the UN Declaration of Human Rights, the Church’s Charter of Family Rights and also the South African Constitution.  All human life, as individuals, but particularly too as family units, should be seen as precious from the first moment of existence until natural death.  Concern for animal and plant life has become a growing concern and “extinction means forever” is a true consequence of lack of care and commitment.  A culture of life approach should not only focus on rights from the perspective of justice, but also of love and positive relationships.  All of creation is interrelated.  We speak of the “butterfly effect.”  This means that when a butterfly flaps its wings in Dublin the energy it sets in motion can result in a tornado in far-away Pietermaritzburg. The right to protection of life, in all forms and all its stages, as a universal right is still far from being realized today.   Underlying the principle of the common good is respect for the human person endowed with basic and inalienable rights.  It calls for the welfare of society, social peace, stability and security provided through a certain order.  LS 55.  Whether in the administration of the state, the various levels of civil society, or relationships between individuals themselves, lack of respect for the law is becoming more common.  Laws may be well framed yet remain a dead letter.  LS142.  

Setting the Scene. The Southern African Catholic Bishops Conference has recently launched its new Pastoral Plan for the Church in this region, some 30 years after the 1st.  Its theme EVANGELISING COMMUNITY SERVING GOD, HUMANITY AND ALL CREATION is a further development of COMMUNITY SERVING HUMANITY. Marriage and Family Life is one of 8 focus areas, although an overlap exists between areas, all of which are aspects of evangelisation too. The reflections here are in the form of family or small group discussions based on a scripture reading of the day. As this is the season of Lent it is appropriate that each reflection could conclude with a possible action and a moment of prayer.

March 1.  Sunday Lent 1A.  Fr Sylvester began, “This new month which we call Human Rights month should also consider marriage and family rights. In the readings today we have two temptation stories, that of our first ancestors in Genesis and of Jesus.   Eve gave in to the devil, ate the fruit and then tempted Adam who did likewise. That makes them both guilty.  Jesus was not guilty of sin because he resisted the devil’s temptations. For us Isn’t it quite difficult to decide when something is temptation and something a sin? There’s a lot of talk these days about ecological sin too.” He paused for a bit, then added, “Why not discuss this whole issue at home.”

“The serpent was more subtle than any other wild creature that the Lord God had made. Genesis 2.  At that time Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. From Matthew 4:1-11. Pope Francis:  When a society whether local, nation or global is willing to leave a part of itself on the fringes, no political programmes or resources spent on law enforcement or surveillance systems can indefinitely guarantee tranquility. Just as goodness tends to spread, the toleration of evil, which is injustice tends to expand its influence. LS 59. After reflecting consider an action response and end with prayer.

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