Showing posts with label Lent. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Lent. Show all posts

24 Mar 2017

'One thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see.' Sunday Reflections. Fourth Sunday of Lent, Year A


Blind Pensioner with a Stick, Van Gogh [Web Gallery of Art]
Readings (New American Bible: Philippines, USA)
Readings (Jerusalem Bible: Australia, England & Wales, India

Gospel John 9:1-41 [9: 1, 6-9, 13-17, 34-38] (NRSV, Anglicised Catholic Ed)

As Jesus walked along, he saw a man blind from birth. [His disciples asked him, ‘Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?’ Jesus answered, ‘Neither this man nor his parents sinned; he was born blind so that God’s works might be revealed in him. We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.’] When he had said this, he spat on the ground and made mud with the saliva and spread the mud on the man’s eyes, saying to him, ‘Go, wash in the pool of Siloam’ (which means Sent). Then he went and washed and came back able to see. The neighbours and those who had seen him before as a beggar began to ask, ‘Is this not the man who used to sit and beg?’ Some were saying, ‘It is he.’ Others were saying, ‘No, but it is someone like him.’ He kept saying, ‘I am the man.’

They brought to the Pharisees the man who had formerly been blind. Now it was a sabbath day when Jesus made the mud and opened his eyes. Then the Pharisees also began to ask him how he had received his sight. He said to them, ‘He put mud on my eyes. Then I washed, and now I see.’ Some of the Pharisees said, ‘This man is not from God, for he does not observe the sabbath.’ But others said, ‘How can a man who is a sinner perform such signs?’ And they were divided. So they said again to the blind man, ‘What do you say about him? It was your eyes he opened.’ He said, ‘He is a prophet.’

Jesus heard that they had driven him out, and when he found him, he said, ‘Do you believe in the Son of Man?’ He answered, ‘And who is he, sir? Tell me, so that I may believe in him.’ Jesus said to him, ‘You have seen him, and the one speaking with you is he.’ He said, ‘Lord, I believe.’ And he worshipped him. 

From The Gospel of John

In his homily on the Solemnity of the Annunciation in 2014 Pope Francis said, Salvation cannot be bought and sold; it is given as a gift, it is free . . . We cannot save ourselves, salvation is a totally free gift. The Pope continued: Since it cannot be bought, in order for this salvation to enter into us we need a humble heart, a docile heart, an obedient heart like Mary's. Moreover, the model on this journey of salvation is God himself, his Son, who did not count equality with God something to be grasped, but emptied himself, and was obedient unto death, even death on a cross.

Full post here.

19 Mar 2017

To ask for a drink is no big request but to ask it of me?' Sunday Reflections, Third Sunday of Lent, Year A

Christ and the Samaritan Woman, Duccio di Buoninsegna

Readings (New American Bible)
Readings (Jerusalem Bible: Australia, England & Wales, India [optional], Ireland, New Zealand, Pakistan, Scotland, South Africa) 
For the shorter form of the Gospel omit the passages in square brackets Gospel John 4:5-42 [5:5-15, 19b-26, 39a, 40-42] (NRSV, Anglicised Catholic Ed.)  


Jesus came to a Samaritan city called Sychar, near the plot of ground that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired out by his journey, was sitting by the well. It was about noon.
...
The video is taken from The Gospel of John directed by Philip Saville.
I remember reading a story about Pope John Paul I when he was still known as Albino Luciani, Patriarch of Venice. One of his priests in a rural parish was known more for being absent from his parish than for being present. Cardinal Luciani went to visit the parish - and the priest was away. So the Cardinal covered for him until the priest returned some days later. The wayward parish priest got the shock of his life when his archbishop asked him to hear his confession.

Cardinal Luciani, who later became known as 'The Smiling Pope' and was with us for only 33 days in 1978 as Bishop of Rome, didn't scold the priest. He simply asked him to do for him what only a priest can do - forgive sins in God's name in the sacrament of confession.
Pope John Paul I, 26 August 1978

In the gospel Jesus asks the woman at the well directly, Give me a drink. As she was to point out to Jesus he didn't have the wherewithal to draw water himself from the well. She did.

Full post here.

Loving Lent?

Often people think of Lent as a time to share in the suffering of Christ yet when they try to suffer for Christ, they become morose, centring more on their own sacrificial devotions than on God.
Of course, Lent IS a time to get rid of the flub in our lives but only so we are able to connect more to the heart of our Beloved. I am thankful for ALL the suffering in my life because it has brought me closer to God.
I once asked a priest what my life would have been like if I had not experienced suffering -if I had married a well-off dentist, had 1.25 kids and lived in an efficient, modern house. He put on a phoney, pious face, put his hands together in prayer, and said in a high, mocking voice, “Oh, you would be a nice Christian lady, praising the Lord.” What he meant by that amusing bit of acting was that I would be shallow, without depth and strength.
If this is the situation, I say bring on real suffering, because I want—no I need—to live in reality.
continue

12 Mar 2017

Trinity

I say "in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit" a lot: mostly when I start praying. I generally make the sign of the Cross at the same time.

The sign of the Cross is a very "Catholic" gesture. It "reminds us in a physical way of the Paschal Mystery we celebrate: the death and Resurrection of our Savior Jesus Christ."1

It's a prayer, a blessing, and a sacramental; and that's another topic. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1668-1670)

Dali's "Crucifixion (Corpus Hypercubus)" is very "Catholic," too; although not it's not like the mass-produced 19th-century stuff many associate with our faith.

I wouldn't be surprised if a half-millennium from now, some tight-collar Catholics will be upset by new art that doesn't present the Cross as an unfolded tesseract, and that's yet another topic. Topics.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

9 Mar 2017

‘This is my Son, the Beloved; with him I am well pleased; listen to him!’ Second Sunday of Lent, Year A


Transfiguration, Fra Angelico 
Readings (New American Bible: Philippines, USA)
Readings (Jerusalem Bible: Australia, England & Wales, India )
Gospel Matthew 4:1-11 (NRSV)
Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James and his brother John and led them up a high mountain, by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became dazzling white. Suddenly there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him. Then Peter said to Jesus, ‘Lord, it is good for us to be here; if you wish, I will make three dwellings here, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.’ While he was still speaking, suddenly a bright cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud a voice said, ‘This is my Son, the Beloved; with him I am well pleased; listen to him!’ When the disciples heard this, they fell to the ground and were overcome by fear. But Jesus came and touched them, saying, ‘Get up and do not be afraid.’ And when they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus himself alone.
As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus ordered them, ‘Tell no one about the vision until after the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.’

Like Peter, James and John, I caught a glimpse of something of the Purity of God on a hill. Tradition tells us that Jesus was transfigured on Mount Tabor, Israel. My 'Mount Tabor' was a hotel at the top of a hill in Lourdes, France.
During Holy Week 2001 I took part in the international pilgrimage of Faith and Light to Lourdes which takes place every ten years. Faith and Light was born of a desire to help people with an intellectual disability and their families find their place within the Church and society. This was the main purpose of the organized pilgrimage to Lourdes at Easter of 1971. The founders of the movement were Jean Vanier and Marie-Hélène Mathieu. 
Jean Vanier is also the founder of L'Arche. In the video below he speaks about the beginnings of that, not as a project or movement but as a covenant with two individuals with learning disabilities and their own dreams, Raphael Simi and Philippe Seux.
Jean Vanier speaks about the early days of L'Arche and finding God in others
Full post here.

I am just not into Lent this year

I know it's early, but I am just not into Lent this year.


You can read the article and view the photo gallery at Being Catholic ... Really.

5 Mar 2017

Living With Consequences



I've missed one morning set, and several of the evening prayer sequences, in the routine I started February 13. (February 19, 2017)

I'm doing a little better with so far with the Lenten Chaplet. I started that Ash Wednesday.

Emphasis on "so far." I nearly forgot twice, which doesn't surprise me. There's a very good reason for my wife handling the household's schedules, and that's another topic.

This is where I could quote Romans 7:19 and launch into a 'wretcheder than thou' lament. It'd be accurate, on one level, since I've felt this way often enough....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

4 Mar 2017

Lent:What Does God REALLY Want?


In these first days of Lent, the Church shows us exactly how God wants us to pray, fast, serve His people and worship Him.
The words from Isaiah 58:1-9 are like brilliant beams of light, cutting through any false notions we might have about this season of repentance that we call Lent. Often we tend to think of Lent as a time to share in the suffering of Christ yet when we do so, we become morose and end up centring more on our own sacrificial devotions than on God.

'Jesus, mercy; Mary, help.' Sunday Reflections, 1st Sunday of Lent, Year A


The Tempation of Christ, Juan de Flandes
Readings (New American Bible: Philippines, USA)
Readings (Jerusalem Bible: Australia)
Gospel Matthew 4:1-11 (NRSV, Anglicised Catholic Ed)

Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. He fasted for forty days and forty nights, and afterwards he was famished. The tempter came and said to him, ‘If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.’ But he answered, ‘It is written,
“One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.”’
Then the devil took him to the holy city and placed him on the pinnacle of the temple, saying to him, ‘If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down; for it is written,
“He will command his angels concerning you”, and “On their hands they will bear you up,
so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.”’
Jesus said to him, ‘Again it is written, “Do not put the Lord your God to the test.”’
Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendour; and he said to him, ‘All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Away with you, Satan! for it is written,
“Worship the Lord your God, and serve only him.”’
Then the devil left him, and suddenly angels came and waited on him.


Matt Talbot statue, Dublin [Wikipedia]
Full post here.

1 Mar 2017

Lent Does Not Have to be a Dreary Time! Want Some Positive Ideas?


Today is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent. Many of us look at this period on the Church calendar as a time of suffering and deprivation. Lent has historically been synonymous with a desert experience of dryness; a sense of loneliness, as if God is on vacation somewhere else. This connotes a sense of negativity. Yet, Lent affords us so much more, if we are willing to open our minds, hearts and souls to the various opportunities that make the Lenten season special in a positive way.

Lent, a Season of Faith, Hope and Love


Lent can be a time of renewal and personal growth; a time for getting to know Our Savior much better by... Read more... 

26 Feb 2017

Oatmeal For Lent



I'll be eating oatmeal for breakfast during Lent, and walking around more. If I was in England, I'd probably call it porridge, and that's another topic.

It'll be be good for my health, and I'm sure that's one reason my wife suggested it. But that's not the only, or the main, reason.

Lent isn't about me....

...Lent is when we join Jesus in the desert. Sort of....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

The Desolation Dog

Lent starts in just a few days. The first day is Wednesday, March 1st. If you are looking to grow deeper in your faith this Lent, you might want to consider reading the book, Discernment of Spirits  by Fr.Timothy Gallagher. It is based on the rules of discernment by St. Ignatius of Loyola.

The rule I personally found most helpful and one of the hardest to follow is rule number 5. Rule number 5 advises that you do not make a change during times of spiritual desolation.

Continue Reading @ Beautifulthorns>

21 Feb 2017

A Lenten Overachiever (CWBN Blog Hop)


The Lent 2017 Kickoff

Here we are at the beginning of another Lent.  I am not sure when my Lenten love affair began, but I can tell you that it is currently in full bloom!   I feel energized during this time of sacrifice. The grace of a Christian world praying, fasting and helping others in order to strengthen their relationship with Christ, is exciting! This year, as I contemplated what areas of my life could use a booster shot of faith - 6 ideas came to me.  Being the overachiever that I am - instead of picking and choosing, I'm going to do my best to rock all of 6 them!

19 Feb 2017

Find Something Besides Facebook to Give Up for Lent


Really. Please don't leave Social Media for Lent.  I understand that many people use this hiatus to spend time working on their own personal spiritual growth; and I can completely respect that HOWEVER.... please don't completely disappear for 40 days when social media needs you the most.  Okay, I've always had a flair for the dramatic but here's why I am begging you to stay:

'Tis the Season

Lent is a season when many people make a resolution to investigate or rejuvenate a faith life. The internet just happens to be a place many people will turn for guidance and even perhaps seek a community to take the journey with.  So, what happens when those who are most likely to post something faith based, could possibly answer questions or would be open to connect as community make a mass exodus off social media during Lent?? There is a risk for missed opportunity to evangelize, catechize and support those seeking meaning through an experience with Christ this Lent.

13 Feb 2017

Walking Together - Small Group Know-How


STEP ONE

Pick a time, date and location for your small group to meet.  My recommendation is to commit to meeting weekly; especially if the group is being formed only for Lent.

Location can be either in your home, a rotation of homes, or at your parish.  My advice - weigh the pros and cons to decide which is best for you and your group - then trust your instincts! Some of the cons for a home meeting include having to limit attendees due to space, having to clean for company (
(my primary obstacle), or limited parking.  Small group size is typically 8 to 10; although 12 -15 is doable especially for a short period of time like the 6 weeks of Lent.  If you are blessed with a high response rate - consider creating more than one small group either at the same or various locations.

Pros for meeting in a home include it's often cozier and may be less intimidating for some who do not typically attend church related events.  The most important part is remembering the goal of the group to grow closer to Christ.  After 10  years of leading Bible Study, 
I now host one at the parish (yearly and co-ed) and one in my home (seasonal and woman only); finding both can be advantageous. Like me, you may find that there is a place for both in your plans.  Hosting at the parish has given me some freedom in the commitment that we can hold the group all year long and my home group has provided opporunity to expand my outreach.


Now which day of the week?  .... for the rest of the steps visit ReconciledToYou.com
CLICK HERE for more about the WINE Lenten Book Club:  Walk in Her Sandals
All Rights Reserved, Allison Gingras 2017

31 Mar 2016

Lenten Travels = #SmallSuccess

Success #1  
Returned home - safe and sound - and healthy from my business trip to Washington, DC.  While there for the Napa Institute's Human Ecology conference on the campus Catholic University of America - I learned:
  • All about Uber (as the Metro was down while I was there); 
  • $1500 a night hotel rooms are WAY better than $400 a night hotel rooms (our reservations were given away by the Days Inn so they had to put us up at a Marriott for one night - it was nice albeit very inconvenient at midnight)!;
  • Planes travel 'wicked fast' when there are only 11 people on board with no stowed luggage! (except the one bag my traveling companion, Jennifer Longworth had with our Breadbox Media swag in it!).

22 Mar 2016

What is the Purpose of Your Lent?


What is the purpose of your Lent? Is it to test your self-control? Is it to challenge yourself to a duel of fuel limits? Is it just a game between you and sugar, or you and grains, or caffeine, or butter?  Is it a wound, or just a bloody finger (#gross?) ? Or is it more? Does it affect your prayer life? Lately, I've been thinking that Lent is whole lot like sheep shearing.

The sheep go into the shearer's hands, and they are probably a bit of a mess. They may have spots of dried mud, some briars or burrs, and definitely some mats in their lovely white wool.  They get into spots of trouble, when, all is interrupted, like little drunk lambs happily playing on a spring green pasture on a lovely, warm, sunny day.  But all it takes is some shears, and they emerge from the hands of the shearer, their wool is shorter, with a freshness and sheen that's enviable.

.... read the rest at Picture a Skyline 

20 Mar 2016

The Messiah We Need

Tiberius was Rome's absentee emperor around the time the Han Dynasty was getting back to business-as-usual, after Wang Mang's brief takeover. I mentioned him before: Wang Mang, I mean. (December 27, 2015)

Meanwhile, Phaedrus was retelling Aesop's Fables in Latin, and Pontius Pīlātus was prefect of the Roman Province of Judea.

That part of the world had been under Roman control since the Battle of Philippi, Armenia wasn't a Roman province yet, but it wasn't the force it had been during Tigranes' reign, and that's another topic.

Tigranes, Tiberius, and Wang Mang, were well-known folks in their day;1 at least in their homelands. Two millennia later, not so much.

Pontius Pīlātus is another matter. He's mentioned each year around this time, when something like 2,000,000,000 folks pay at least fleeting attention to a Nazarene's progress from top-of-the-polls celebrity to executed corpse.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

11 Mar 2016

'From now on do not sin again.' Sunday Reflections, 5th Sunday of Lent, Year C


From The Gospel of John (2003) directed by Philip Saville
Gospel John 8:1-11 (NRSV, Catholic Edition, Canada) 

Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. Early in the morning he came again to the temple. All the people came to him and he sat down and began to teach them. The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery; and making her stand before all of them, they said to him, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the very act of committing adultery. Now in the law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” They said this to test him, so that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, Let anyone among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.”And once again he bent down and wrote on the ground. When they heard it, they went away, one by one, beginning with the elders; and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. Jesus straightened up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, sir.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you. Go your way, and from now on do not sin again.”

Christ and the Woman Taken in Adultery,  Rembrandt, c.1644

More than 33 years ago I did a number of brief supplies in parishes in one of the western states in the USA. In one parish, where I stayed only from Saturday till Monday morning, the Sunday gospel was one showing the mercy of Jesus. I forget which one, but know it wasn't today's. In my homily I emphasised God's love for us as sinners and how he wants to welcome us back when we turn away from him, partly or fully, by sinning.

Full post here.

1 Mar 2016

Lenten Exercise for Children



How's Lent going?

We're coming up to the Fourth Sunday of Lent: Laetare ("Be joyful!") Sunday. Just a bit past the halfway mark in Lent, this rose-colored celebration encourages us to stay faithful to our fasting, almsgiving, and prayer.

Here at the Apostleship of Prayer, of course, our favorite part of that Lenten trifecta is prayer. Our mission is to encourage children to cultivate vibrant, personal prayer lives of their own. The spiritual giant Romano Guardini warned against "empty reciting" in prayer, so the Apostleship of Prayer encourages ways of praying that will grow with young people as they mature.

©2015 APOSTLESHIP OF PRAYER

One of my favorite resources for children in 3rd through 7th grade is our "3 for 3 Prayer Experiment." It challenges students to observe three deliberate times of prayer each day for three days, and then reflect on the results. Perfect for a middle-of-Lent prayer boost!

Join me at Praying with Grace for the juicy details!

The Past: What We Know, What We Don'’t

I was writing about cancer and medical knowledge we've accumulated over the last few millennia, when I realized that I'd gotten mo...