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Showing posts with the label Holy Week

Are We Politically Correct Like Pilate?

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As we observe Holy Week, we might ask ourselves a question, "Are We Politically Correct Like Pilate?" 
Saint Mark’s Gospel tells us that he was certainly a biblical version of the ‘go along to get along’ crowd. When he asked the throng what to do with Jesus, he clearly demonstrated that he knew Jesus was blameless. We got further confirmation of culpability when Pilate cited the jealousy of the Chief Priests for the arrest of Jesus. In washing his hands of the entire affair, he showed his lack of conviction and profound failure to take a stand.

In this final period of heightened anticipation, will examining our consciences find us similarly weak-spined? By scrutinizing our actions in relation to prominent issues of the day, we might find an answer that does little to vindicate us. Here, then, is an opportunity to search our hearts and find His Truth.
1. Are We Politically Correct About Abortion? 2. Same Sex ‘Marriage’, a Leading Politically Correct Issue 3. Leaving Religion …

Could You Not Keep Watch for One Hour? Make Time for Adoration!

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Jesus asks! How do we respond? How often do we neglect to give God His due? He blesses us with so much, and at times, we barely acknowledge His existence. When was the last time you gave Him one hour of your time in Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament? In the reading of the Passion of the Lord that we heard on Palm Sunday, we hear Jesus ask His Disciples, “Could you not keep watch for one hour?” (Mark 14:37). If Jesus were physically present, in front of you today, how might you answer this question? Where, or when, might you have given more of yourself to God, and failed to do so?

At a minimum, as Catholics, we MUST attend Mass every weekend, to be considered a “practicing Catholic.” However, Jesus wants more; for Himself and for us! He wants to have a loving relationship with each of us. Yet, relationships take work! Relationships require the giving of one’s time, energy and focus to another; to have a fruitful and sustainable relationship. So, He asks, “Could you not keep watch for…

Holy Week is Upon Us! When Have You Failed Jesus?

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We begin Holy Week, with Palm Sunday, where we remember Jesus’ entrance into Jerusalem. At Palm Sunday Mass, we hear the Passion of Our Lord and receive blessed palms. Then, we place those blessed palms in cherished places of honor within our homes. We spend Holy Week in quiet reflection of Jesus and His sacrifice, as it is the holiest week of the Christian year. We remember Christ’s passion, death and resurrection; His sacrifice for our sins. We also scurry around in preparation for our Easter Feast, just as our ancestors scurried to prepare the Passover Feast. Yet, let’s stop for a moment and bring ourselves back in time 2,000+ years:

It’s time to sacrifice the Passover lamb. We need to make plans to use the Upper Room for the feast. We must prepare the food for the occasion, and Judas Iscariot must make plans as well. Satan enters Judas (Luke 22:3), who meets with the chief priests to plot a plan for Jesus’ arrest. By handing Jesus over to the chief priests, Judas assures payment …

Forgiveness: A Lenten Message

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Who Do You Have to Forgive
truth is, we all have someone to forgive(1)," writes R. Scott Hurd, in the very beginning of his life-changing book Forgiveness: The Catholic Approach ("Forgiveness").
The following is Scott's list of people we may need to forgive; the comments in the parentheses are my two cents.

1. Rude drivers (very appropriate for those of us who live in Massachusetts)
2. Spouses (thank goodness for Sacramental Grace - that is all I have to say!)
3. Friends (they can hurt or betray us, or over time may become our "frenemies")
4. Bosses (those who steal our ideas, treat us unjustly, or are just plain grumpy)
5. Bullies (even as adults we can find ourselves faced with cruel people)

But Wait, There's More!

I would add:
1. Ourselves (often the hardest person to forgive)
2. God (It is okay to admit this, He will not send down lightning to smote you for being honest.
Furthermore, let's face it: He already knows you are angry. If He created your brain…

"Father, Forgive Them..."

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These three words, uttered by the Lord as he hung in agony on the cross, present one of the most challenging aspects of being a Christian. It is difficult for us to forgive - it is not natural and our whole selves bristle at the thought.  When hurts run deep, the idea of forgiveness seems to be an insurmountable obstacle. Our bodies tense up, anxiety and anger rise within us -...they hurt us.....they don't deserve our forgiveness....these are the thoughts that race through our minds.

Read more here....

A Closer Walk With Jesus

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Holy week, especially the Triduum, has always been such a special time for me. I think it's fair to say it is my favorite part of the Liturgical year. As a little girl we spent much of Holy Week at our church. Although it is such a solemn time, as a child I found it to be a comforting time as well. Maybe it was simply because of all the time spent at church! As an adult I find it to be a time where I can experience a closer walk with Jesus. I wish throughout the year I could feel the intensity of His love and my need for Him the way I do throughout Holy Thursday and Good Friday. Life gets to be so busy and it is hard to "be still". Lent, especially Holy Week, gives me that time to pause and ponder and reflect...

Were you there at the crucifixion?

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At Mass on Sunday we sang the spiritual “Were you There?” It got me thinking.

How we long to have been with Jesus during His passion, death, and resurrection. How we would have loved to stand and support His mother at the foot of the Cross, to wipe His face with Veronica, to pray with Him in the Garden of Gethsemane. (Yes, I know that was in reverse order.)

Serendipitously, we sang this song at Communion time. And I suddenly realized that I was there!

Continue reading at Contemplative Homeschool.

Keeping Watch with Jesus in Holy Week

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Prayer is the place where "heart speaks to heart," as John Henry Cardinal Newman says. Using Scripture, we can enter into Jesus' experience of Holy Week; we can place our hearts into his. We can read the Passion accounts of the Gospels and ask Jesus for the gift of compassion, of suffering with him in his agony. Jesus himself invites us to do this when, in the midst of his agony in the garden, he calls to his disciples and to us:

Remain here and keep watch with me. Matthew 26:38

St. Ignatius of Loyola proposes a deeply personal and imaginative way to remain with Jesus. A master strategist and student of the human soul, St. Ignatius articulated a process of praying with Scripture that allows us to encounter Jesus personally. This kind of imaginative prayer engages all the senses and has come to be known as Ignatian Contemplation. At the Apostleship of Prayer, we call it praying with the heart.

Join me at Praying with Grace for a mini-retreat in imaginative prayer!

Keeping watch with Jesus--unexpectedly

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This is the week for keeping watch with Jesus in a special way. Although God calls us to spend time with Him in prayer daily, we rightly feel that we should spend extra time with Him during Holy Week. But how should we go about it?

When I was a teenager, my family started a tradition of an all-night prayer vigil on Holy Thursday. Beginning at 10 p.m., my parents, siblings, and I took turns praying in one or two one-hour slots for the next eight hours. I loved offering this extra sacrifice to Jesus, this extra sign of love. Jesus would not be alone in the Garden of Gethsemane if I could help it.

After I graduated from college, I spent two years as a lay missionary in Japan, teaching English to support the evangelization work of an American priest. During spring break of the first year, my roommate Mary Beth and I traveled to the island of Kyushu. We planned to be in Nagasaki for Easter.

Read the rest at Contemplative Homeschool.

Update: Palm Sunday

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My annual Palm Sunday project is finished!  I wove five palm fronds into these cone shapes.  I will keep the green vase on my dresser next to a statue of Our Lady and the Christ Child.  The blue and white vase will be in my prayer/music practice room next to my crucifix.

I am a lector in my parish.  This morning I had the honor of reading the First Reading, Isaiah 50:4-7, which was the prophetic third Song of the Suffering Servant.  It is a reading that reminds us to listen before speaking, always wise advice for anyone.  I was also the narrator for the Gospel Reading, the Passion according to Luke.  When I read, I get absorbed in what I'm reading, and certain parts resonate with me during the process.


When Peter denied Jesus three times, as the Lord had predicted he would, the cock crowed and Jesus turned and looked at Peter.  The gaze of Jesus hurt Peter.  He wept bitterly, remorsefully.  As I read this today I imagined Jesus' looking.  It was not an "I told…