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So here we are in the third week of Lent. How’s it going? If you are finding it tough, never mind, help is at hand in this week’s MAGNIFICAT meditations.

Thomas A Kempis kicks off by reminding us that if Christ endured verbal abuse without defending himself, then we ourselves should be able to put up with a few jibes for his sake. If that seems tough, on Tuesday the Jesuit Alfred Delp, executed at the hands of his own countrymen in 1945, has some profound words for us about how our own need of mercy is activated by showing mercy to others. “The sins of the world must vanish with transcendental guilt so that the world now and then may breathe again.”

On Wednesday St John Paul II explains how the prohibitive terms of the commandments are in fact positive assertions about human dignity and value. On Thursday Madeleine Delbrel challenges us to grasp what Joan of Arc meant when she said: “Christ and the Church are one.” We ourselves make up the Church, so that our every word and deed affects her, intimately. Each of us is a cell in that body, and we must function in a way that is ‘at once intelligent and loving’. Or as St Francis de Sales puts it in our Friday meditation: “To love our neighbour in charity is to love God in man, or man in God; it is to hold God alone dear for his own sake and the creature for the love of him.”

This is all very well, the honest soul might think, but I can’t see the wood for the trees just now. In Saturday’s meditation that insightful educator Luigi Giussani has some words which may console you… And then it’s Laetare Sunday, and we can indeed ‘breathe again’ as we celebrate both our human mothers, and our Mother the Church.

Leonie Caldecott is the editor of MAGNIFICAT UK and Ireland

MAGNIFICAT is an easy-to-read pocket-sized worship aid, of more than 400 pages. It can be used to follow the daily Mass and can also be read at home for personal or family prayer. To take up one of our MAGNIFICAT subscription offers, go here.