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

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!

Prayer with Small Groups

My own reawakening to a life with Christ came about thanks to an amazing small group experience.  Finding the right people, material and schedule, provided me an opportunity to connect with God not only on Sundays but also on the night of our meeting (as well as each day I spent with my reading assignments).

The small group gave me something to ACT (Accountability, Community and Teach-ability) upon. While I could always find many reasons not to read for myself, knowing others would be counting on me pushes through all my excuses. Aside from the accountability, I now have a community I am excited to spend time with and that also prepares me to be prepared for our study time.  Learning new things also inspired and motivated me; and before long I found I had create daily prayer and reflection habits!

How I Plan to Overachieve in Prayer this Lent



All Rights Reserved, Allison Gingras 2017


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!

27 Feb 2016

'Let it alone for one more year . . .' Sunday Reflections, 3rd Sunday of Lent, Year C

Moses before the Burning BushDomenico Fetti, 1613-14

Gospel Luke 13:1-9 (NRSV, Catholic Edition, Can.) 

At that very time there were some present who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. He asked them, “Do you think that because these Galileans suffered in this way they were worse sinners than all other Galileans? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all perish as they did. Or those eighteen who were killed when the tower of Siloam fell on them—do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others living in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all perish just as they did.”

Then he told this parable: “A man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came looking for fruit on it and found none. So he said to the gardener, ‘See here! For three years I have come looking for fruit on this fig tree, and still I find none. Cut it down! Why should it be wasting the soil?’ He replied, ‘Sir, let it alone for one more year, until I dig around it and put manure on it. If it bears fruit next year, well and good; but if not, you can cut it down.’”

The parable in today's gospel reminds me of an incident on Thursday of Easter Week 1970 in Mount Vernon, Kentucky. I had driven the 800 or so kms from New York on Wednesday of Holy Week with a group of students from Manhattanville College, Purchase, New York, where I was studying music at the time. My car was an old Nash Rambler that I had bought for one dollar from Irish friends, Doug and Maeve Devlin, the previous year when they moved back to Dublin. The car was more than 15 years on the road and the doors didn't lock. But it had a great engine.

Full post here.

26 Feb 2016

A FAST Improvement



The last time I shared what I 'gave up' for Lent, I was severely chastised.  The person was horrified that I would seek glory for my Lenten sacrifice instead of doing it in secret where only God and I would know.  This made me sad - as it was not at all my intent.  Sharing our Lenten sacrifices, our fasts, instead allow us to do several things:
  • Encouragement for each other.  Fasting is hard work - and we can get discouraged.  It is good to know how others are celebrating this season - it is not so much misery loves company but for me anyway.  I think more of the scripture that states a chord of 3 is not easily broken. 
  • Accountability.  This is probably my greatest catalyst for blogging about and sharing with others my Lenten fasts.  If it is just between God and I, while that should surely be enough to keep me on track, often it is not.  I need those extra eyes on my behavior - to be sure I'm not sneaking TV apart from Sundays, or spending money (if you read Monday's blog you'd understand why I have this fast in place!)  It is good for us to share and watch out for each other as we journey these 40 days together. 
  • Idea Sharing.  Lastly, I guess I am just nosy ...  read more

19 Feb 2016

'This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him!' Sunday Reflections, 2nd Sunday of Lent, Year C

Transfiguration, Fra Angelico, 1440-42
Gospel Luke 9:28B-36 (NRSV, Catholic Edition, Can.)

Jesus took with him Peter and John and James, and went up on the mountain to pray. And while he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became dazzling white. Suddenly they saw two men, Moses and Elijah, talking to him. They appeared in glory and were speaking of his departure, which he was about to accomplish at Jerusalem. Now Peter and his companions were weighed down with sleep; but since they had stayed awake, they saw his glory and the two men who stood with him. Just as they were leaving him, Peter said to Jesus, “Master, it is good for us to be here; let us make three dwellings, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah”—not knowing what he said. While he was saying this, a cloud came and overshadowed them; and they were terrified as they entered the cloud. Then from the cloud came a voice that said, “This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him!” When the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone. And they kept silent and in those days told no one any of the things they had seen.





A View of the Milky Way

[The LORD] brought [Abram] outside and said, "Look toward heaven and count the stars, if you are able to count them." Then he said to him, "So shall your descendants be." ( From First Reading, Gen 15:5, NRSVCE)

Starry Night,1889,Van Gogh










By the mystery of this water and wine may we come to share in the divinity of Christ who humbled himself to share in our humanity.
The deacon or priest says these words quietly as he pours wine and a little water into the chalice during the Offertory of the Mass.

In today's gospel Jesus, who humbled himself to share in our humanity, allowed Peter, James and John to get a glimpse of his divinity. Moses and Elijah spoke of what Jesus was to accomplish at Jerusalem. That was not only his death but his Resurrection and glorification.

Jesus calls us to share in his Resurrection and glorification, to share in the divinity that is his.

We don't share in the Resurrection, glorification and divinity of Jesus Christ only after death but also, as Peter, James and John did in the Transfiguration, in this life when we experience the gift of God's love in events that can transform us here and now

My Australian fellow Columban, Fr Warren Kinne, who worked in Mindanao, Philippines, for many years and is now in China, tells the story of Xiao Ai, who was in her early days a 'non-person'. But through the love and care of strangers, Chinese and foreign, she now has possibilities open to her that she never could have imagined. And Father Warren, who has some Chinese ancestry, sees her story as encapsulating in some ways the meaning of Lent and Easter. Here's how he tells it.
It's taken from the January-February 2013 issue of MISYONonline.com, the Columban online magazine I edit in the Philippines.

Courage to live a Lent by Fr Warren Kinne
Xiao Ai

Before the great Feast of Easter when we celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus, the Church goes through a period of preparation by prayer and fasting. We call this Lent. In the northern hemisphere, where Christianity started, it was celebrated in spring and slowly, throughout that time, the dead of winter burst forth into the luxuriance of new growth, signifying life and the resurrection.

Xiao Ai is a young friend of mine. She was left at the steps of a convent about 2004 or 2005 in a remote village of Shan Xi Province, China. She was born with clubbed feet and abandoned. Xiao was brought to Shanghai where a group of foreigners provided money and logistical support for multiple operations.

During that period she was taken in by a family who took great care of her and eventually wanted to adopt her as their own. However there were many hurdles to be overcome. Xiao Ai did not have any identification as the convent was not a registered orphanage and so was not in a position to register her.

Indeed people could only guess at her actual birth date. She was really a ‘non-person’.
After years of effort Xiao Ai has had all her paperwork completed and she now has a Chinese passport that will allow her to travel with her adopted family to Singapore. What happiness followed the long and anxious wait where a wonderful outcome was hoped for rather than expected.

Xiao Ai and Fr Warren Kinne
For the Lord takes delight in his people. (Psalm 149:4, Grail translation)

Full post here.

17 Feb 2016

Free Lenten Resources

We are one week into Lent.  How is it going for you so far?  Have you broken your fast promises?  Are you doing great at avoiding chocolate but feel like you need some inspiration?  Are you willing to devote just a few minutes a day growing in knowledge and depth of your faith?  This list is for you.  It is not too late to make this a truly remarkable Lent, visit Veils and Vocations for more information.


14 Feb 2016

Training, Lent, and Me


(From Wereldburger758, via Wikimedia Commons, used w/o permission.)

Lent is a time for me to improve myself, right?

That will be a by-product of what I do, but — no. Lent isn't about me.

It's like the rest of the annual cycle of Advent, Lent Easter: we're reviewing and, in a sense, re-living what our Lord did, two millennia back now. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1095)

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

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

12 Feb 2016

‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve only him.’ Sunday Reflections, 1st Sunday of Lent, Year C


Three Temptations of Christ (detail), Botticelli, 1481-82 .Sistine Chapel,Vatican 

Gospel Luke 4:1-13 (NRSV, Catholic Edition, Can.)


Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing at all during those days, and when they were over, he was famished. The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become a loaf of bread.” Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘One does not live by bread alone.’”
Then the devil led him up and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. And the devil said to him, “To you I will give their glory and all this authority; for it has been given over to me, and I give it to anyone I please. If you, then, will worship me, it will all be yours.” Jesus answered him, “It is written,
‘Worship the Lord your God,
and serve only him.’
Then the devil took him to Jerusalem, and placed him on the pinnacle of the temple, saying to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here, for it is written,
‘He will command his angels concerning you,
to protect you,’
and
‘On their hands they will bear you up,
so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.’”
Jesus answered him, “It is said, ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’” When the devil had finished every test, he departed from him until an opportune time.

Kyrie eleison, and Intercessions in different languages
Taizé - Pilgrimage of Trust in Rome
Prayer presided by Holy Father Benedict XVI
St Peter's Square, 29 December 2012
Tomb of St Gregory the Great, St Peter's,Rome
I first posted this reflection on 14 February 2013 just after Pope Benedict had announced that he was stepping down.
I can't help reflecting on this gospel in the light of Pope Benedict's announcement last Monday when he said, Well aware of the seriousness of this act, with full freedom I declare that I renounce the ministry of Bishop of Rome.

When the devil tempts Jesus with the promise of glory and power Jesus quotes from Scripture, You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve.

In an audience in 2008 speaking about St Gregory the Great, who reluctantly had become Pope Gregory I, Pope Benedict said, Recognizing the will of God in what had happened, the new Pontiff immediately and enthusiastically set to work. From the beginning he showed a singular enlightened vision of the reality with which he had to deal, an extraordinary capacity for work confronting both ecclesial and civil affairs, a constant and even balance in making decisions, at times with courage, imposed on him by his office.
Full post here.

11 Feb 2016

Four things to do this Lent


What are you doing for Lent? Every year I try to do something a little different to make my Lenten experience more meaningful. This year, I decided I was going to get fit and I returned to an exercise routine I had given up. I know that doesn’t sound very spiritual, but when I feel better physically, it does help my prayer life.

You can read the rest at Catholic365.

10 Feb 2016

No Other Road


Lent: But What Does GOD Want From Us ?


job7
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 centering more on our own sacrificial devotions than on God.
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, more on the people around us who are in need. Lent is not an excuse for dramatic acts of fasting  by wearing sackcloth and ashes, figuratively or literally. As Isaiah says:
Is this the manner of fasting I wish,
of keeping a day of penance:
That a man bow his head like a reed
and lie in sackcloth and ashes?
Do you call this a fast,
a day acceptable to the LORD?

Seek Virtue This Lent!


Rather than giving up chocolate, only to devour the solid chocolate Easter Bunny on Easter Sunday, seek virtue this Lent. Rather than giving up drinking alcohol, only to pop the cork on the Champagne this Easter Sunday, seek virtue this Lent. Rather than giving up television, only to sit in front of the TV all day Easter Sunday watching your shows on demand, seek virtue this Lent.

So many times, year after year, we temporarily give up something we love as a sacrifice for Lent in remembrance of Jesus’ sacrifice on the Cross. I suggest taking a different and possibly more... Read more... 

7 Feb 2016

Lent, Faith, and Ashes


(From U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Brian May, via Wikimedia Commons, used w/o permission.)
(Ash Wednesday celebration aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp.)

Ash Wednesday comes this week, so I'll get ashes on my forehead and start doing my Lenten routines — along with folks around the world.

That won't include the usual fasting: I'm past the 18-to-59 age requirement for Catholics in my region, and diabetic to boot. We're called to holiness, not stupidity; common sense applies, or should; and I'm putting a 'resources' link list at the end of this post.1

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.