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Beauty and Penance – A Time of Renewal Daily Reflections for the Lenten Season
An excerpt from A Time of Renewal: Daily Reflections for the Lenten Season :
Beauty and Penance
“When we examine the Church’s liturgy, the idea of blossoming beauty is very evident everywhere in this season of penance. It neither begins nor ends with anything severe, even though we are told to set ourselves to work, which will inevitably involve suffering and pain since we are so disjointed. We are so unbeautiful sometimes. The Lenten liturgy is one of hope and of restoration that speaks of a great blossoming that is to come, that is to be accomplished during these days. Holy Church tells us that it is not in vain that we keep vigil, and that a crown is promised to those who watch. She tells us that our penance is not without purpose.
We might stop to reflect there for just a minute. In our time the Church has lifted so much of what was mandatory in penitential practices, thereby placing great trust in us. She has not changed anything about her concept of penance or understanding of the need for penance, she has merely removed penalties. She has tried to show us a greater trust. If the Church is aware that penance had been done for the wrong reason, she is now asking us to do it for the right reason, without penalty.”
Mother Mary Francis. A Time of Renewal: Daily Reflections for the Lenten Season . Ignatius Press. Kindle Edition.
From the book’s description:
Mother Mary Francis, abbess of a Poor Clare Monastery for over forty years, left an enduring legacy in her writings and in the conferences she gave to her spiritual daughters. In this work she presents beautiful meditations on the liturgical season of Lent, revealing the treasures of the liturgy to Christians in all walks of life. Her insight into Holy Scripture and her poet’s heart engendered reflections that illuminate the daily Mass readings in a fresh and attractive way.
These meditations enlighten the reader to see conversion as positive and enriching, and help us to understand that the generous embrace of Lenten penance has a purpose and brings a wondrous reward: deeper union with God. She was a true daughter of Saint Francis of Assisi, who found perfect joy by turning away from self to God.
As a spiritual guide, Mother Mary Francis excels in the art of persuasion, aware that the human heart cannot be forced but only gently led to holiness. She makes this goal attractive and desirable by tirelessly explaining why striving for holiness is the happiest and wisest way to live. This book provides a wealth of material for plundering the riches of the Lenten season and for deepening one’s spiritual life. Her meditations are profound and timeless, not changing from year to year, thus providing a lifetime of Lenten meditations in this one volume.
Mother Mary Francis, P.C.C., (1921-2006) was for more than forty years the abbess of the Poor Clare Monastery of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Roswell, New Mexico. She became recognized as an authoritative voice for the renewal of religious life through her many books, including A Right to Be Merry, But I Have Called You Friends, and Anima Christi. To learn more about Mother Mary Francis and the Poor Clare Nuns of Roswell, NM visit their website at https://poorclares-roswell.org