Daily Lenten Meditations

Edited by Fr Max Polak

Pope John Paul II's pontificate has been one of the longest and most eventful of the whole history of the Catholic Church. More importantly, this Pope's enduring and courageous preaching of the Gospel message throughout the world has meant that an unprecedented number of people have been exposed to its challenging and invogorating influence. People of the most varied cultures and degrees of Christian commitment have listened to this ambassador of Christ as he addressed their needs and concerns while digging deep into the words of Jesus. Many have been moved to take up the Gospels themselves and rediscover their on-going relevance. Others have felt their devotion to the Church strengthened or have better understood its call to conquer evil with good, violence and hatred with forgiveness, selfishness and pride with humility and self-giving.

The present volume is a small representation of John Paul II's teaching presented as a help to those who wish to live the Christian Church's season of Lent more meaningfully. However, it can also meet the interest of inquirers who wish to know something of the Pope's message to Christians and his hopes for a world in which respect for truth and the knowledge of God's love bring joy and peace to the hearts of many.

Index of Themes

All is new in Jesus who has risen! 98

Be helpful to each who is near 84

Be ready to suffer and sacrifice for Christ 32

Conversion and the giving of alms 14

Do we love him? 86

Everyone is called to holiness 24

Faith must win out over disbelief 54

Forgive and we will be forgiven 22

God always wants our reconciliation 38

God is our Father and he forgives 28

It is consummated 92

Jesus freely accepted suffering to redeem us 64

Jesus lives to accomplish the Father's will 78

Jesus' suffering is God's love for us. 36

Keep teaming from the Cross through prayer 72

Lay people bring Christ to each person 58

Lest Christ be betrayed 88

Live by the commandments to live forever 46

Love is the foundation 50

Mary helps us be faithful 94

Night of faith and hope 96

Open yourselves to the truth 62

Poverty in spirit and redemption 10

Pray for the sick 56

Serve so as to reign 30

Set no limits on your forgiveness 44

Social justice calls for a conversion 34

Spirit of poverty opens to spiritual riches 42

The building of holiness rests on humility 52

The Eucharist is the mystery of faith and love 90

The foremost purpose of our prayer 16

The Gospel is history and transcendent meaning 80

The greatest revelation of God and his mercy 18

The heart of Lent 4

The Holy Spirit reveals Christ to us 66

The Holy Spirit, holiness and confession 40

The hunger for God 12

The joy of finding Christ in our lives 76

The palm of triumph and the cross of the Passion 82

The way of conversion 6

To live chastely 70

True apostolate requires personal relationship with Christ 26

Trust and persevere in prayer 20

Unite freedom to truth 74

We have hope in the future resurrection 68

We must stand by Christ 48 Why fasting? 8

Work and family: a share in God's activity 60


The English translation of the captions for the readings and the psalm responses from lectionary for Mass ©1969, 1981, 1997, International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc. All rights reserved.

The writings of the Holy Father John Paul II are taken from L'Osservatore Romano. Cover © L'Osservatore Romano.


Ad maiorem gloriam Redemptoris hominis et Matris eius

Hobart, October 28, 2003-10-29

Editor's note

The season of Lent is a time when many Catholics and other Christians are drawn to deeper reflection and special acts of prayer and worship. For Catholics, it may mean, among other things, attending the Eucharistic Sacrifice more frequently, even every day. Whether or not this is their choice, the present volume is designed to meet a need often felt by them and by Christians of all traditions for stimulating spiritual reading.

Excerpts taken from the homilies, addresses and official letters of Pope John Paul II's long and generous evangelising activity have been put together to form a kind of spiritual pilgrimage over the course of Lent. The texts have been chosen to help readers, day by day, consider, examine themselves or pray over a theme that is relevant to Lent's call to faith and conversion.

The path followed has as its guideposts the Church's selection of readings for the Masses of Lent, especially the Gospel of the day. A theme coming out of the readings is announced. The readings are then listed togetherwith their headings. There follows a highlighted phrase, generally from the Gospel, that in nearly all cases will be found commented on or incorporated somewhere in the Pope's reflection. This method is intended to be particularly helpful to Catholic readers who wish to remain in tune with the Lenten liturgy. Other Christians, however, should find that this format allows for ample meditation on the Scriptures. Since the Biblical texts are not actually reproduced, some may wish to keep a Bible or missal close at hand.

Fr. Max Polak

Biographical Information

Fr. Max Polak is currently Catholic Chaplain to the University of Tasmania (Australia). For more than sixteen years he was Chaplain of Warrane Collge at the University of New South Wales and also served as Catholic Chaplain to the University of Waikato (New Zealand). Before beginning studies for the priesthood, he completed degrees in aeronautical engineering at MIT. Later, before being ordained a priest of the Opus Dei Prelature, he studied in Rome and at the University of Navarre (Spain), presenting a doctoral thesis in patristic theology on St. Ambrose. He has published an earlier anthology of texts of Pope John Paul II as well as articles in a number of newspapers and magazines on topics of theology and bioethics.

Publishers Information

Published in The USA and Canada by Liturgy Training Publications,
Archdiocese of Chicago, 1800 North Hermitage Avenue, Chicago, Illinois, 60622
1101. USA
ISBN 1-56854-530-4

First Published in England by Gracewing,
2 Southern Ave, Leominster, Herefordshire, HR6 OQE UK
ISBN 0-85244-278-5
Price in UK, £7 99. Post and packing £1 50.

Published in Australia and New Zealand by Little Hills Press Pty. Ltd., Unit 3, 18 Bearing Road, Seven Hills, NSW 2147,
AUS ISBN 1-86315-219-9

This version: 12th March 2004