The blog of the Dominican student brothers at Blackfriars, Oxford.

Built on the four pillars of our Dominican life – preaching, prayer, study, and community – Godzdogz offers many resources for exploring the Catholic Faith today.
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Lent Week 1: Tuesday

Tuesday, March 15, 2011
Today's readings: Isaiah 55: 10-11; Psalm 34; Matthew 6: 7-15 Read more

Lent Week 1: Monday

Monday, March 14, 2011
Today's readings: Leviticus 19:1-2, 11-18; Psalm 19:8-10, 15; Matthew 25:31-46 Read more

First Sunday of Lent

Sunday, March 13, 2011
Today's Readings: Genesis 2:7-9. 3:1-7; Psalm 50(51); Romans 5:12-19; Matthew 4:1-11 Read more

Saturday after Ash Wednesday - Follow Me

Saturday, March 12, 2011

We most often associate Lent as the season for ‘giving something up’, but simply giving something up for the sake of it can be an empty practice. Rather we should seek to create through this a space in our lives whereby we can take on, or recognise, something of more importance and greater worth. Sacrifice then, can play a wholly fruitful role in our lives if it is made in charity. Some sacrifices are less laudable. In today’s Gospel we can recognise both sides of the coin.

The Calling of St Matthew by Arnold Houbraken (1660-1719)
Luke recounts to us the calling of Levi, a tax-collector, later more familiar to us as Matthew. He is presumably a man who knows about ‘sacrifice’. To take on such a role effectively meant placing yourself outside of your own community as a despised collaborator of the Roman government. Tax collectors had a poor reputation among the Jews, to say the least. Taxes are never popular but those taxing on trade from their customs posts were doubly despised: their reputation for dishonesty was legendary. After they had a reached the quota demanded by the Roman authorities they could keep whatever else they made; it was a sure way to make money, and lots of it. So being a tax-collector made you wealthy, secure in possessions, but you had to be prepared to sacrifice family, friends, and the whole Jewish cultural-religious system in which you were raised. Men like Levi were prepared to make that sacrifice, and once made, there was no going back.

When Jesus sees this despised figure sitting at his booth He does not shun him. In fact, He does the unthinkable and asks that he follow Him. He gives him an opportunity that no one else can or will. Levi responds by following: “And leaving everything behind, he got up and followed him.” Leaving his post, Levi effectively abandons his old life but without promise of worldly security; his own people do not recognise him and his old post will soon be filled by another. It is a brave decision and his trust in Jesus is remarkable. He once sacrificed everything he had, his very reputation for material wealth, now he makes another choice involving great courage and risks the only thing he has left – his material security – for Christ.

“Those who are healthy do not need a physician, but the sick do. I have not come to call the righteous to repentance but sinners.” In Jesus’ response to the Pharisees we see that no one is beyond Christ’s mercy, not even the tax-collector. We, however, regardless of the nature of our sins, are called to respond. Inevitably, a response to Christ’s call will involve sacrifice, possibly of a radical nature, but if we make the right choice and listen to Him then He will not abandon us and the rewards will be far greater that those that can be given by earthly powers. Like Levi, we all have a choice – sit in our ‘booths’ or rise and follow Him.
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Friday after Ash Wednesday - Fasting and Abstinence

Friday, March 11, 2011
Today's Readings: Isaiah 58:1-9; Psalm 50:3-6, 18-19, Matthew 9:14-15 Read more

Thursday after Ash Wednesday - Lent and Prayer

Thursday, March 10, 2011
Today's readings: Deuteronomy 30:15-20; Psalm 1; Luke 9:22-25

We are in the middle of the great shift in the liturgical year, as we begin the forty days of Lent. We have enjoyed Shrove Tuesday with a nice meal and pancakes in different flavours. In this way the last day before Lent has been properly marked, and so we have entered Ash Wednesday in silence and prayer. We have been marked with the cross on our forehead, and we have witnessed how the liturgy changes, how the prayers of the Church and the psalmodies lead us in to deeper layers of our faith. And most of us have heard or remember the “golden triangle” through which God invites us to come closer to him, that is by fasting, almsgiving and prayer. Each one of these cornerstones is fundamental in our Christian life, and today I would like to pay attention to the latter, the prayer. Read more

Ash Wednesday

Wednesday, March 09, 2011
Readings: Joel 2:12-18; Ps 50; 2 Corinthians 5:20-6:2; Matthew 6:1-6,16-18 Read more

Books for Lent

Tuesday, March 08, 2011
The Godzdogz team recommend the following spiritual reading for Lent Read more

Lent is coming, Get Set ...

Monday, March 07, 2011

Godzdogz Lenten Retreat

Monday, March 07, 2011
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Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness ...
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