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Posts tagged ‘Lent’

Lazarus, come out!


 

I invite you, while considering the miracle of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead, to reflect on this image. And meditate on how Christ (1) is inviting each of us to healing; (2) can raise us each from our little deaths; and (3) wants to enlist us in bringing others to His healing love.

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The Gospel According To Carl (Heinrich Bloch)


This Lent I was introduced to the beautiful art of Carl Heinrich Bloch.  He was influenced by Rembrandt. “The altarpieces can be found at Holbaek, Odense, Ugerloese and Copenhagen in Denmark, as well as Loederup, Hoerup, and Landskrona in Sweden.” Enjoy!

“Hail, favored one! The Lord is with you.”

Annunciation

“Most blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.”

Mary and Elizabeth

While they were there, the time came for her to have her child, and she gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

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Second Sunday of Lent: the Transfiguration


Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother,
and led them up a high mountain by themselves.
And he was transfigured before them;
his face shone like the sun
and his clothes became white as light.
And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them,
conversing with him.
Then Peter said to Jesus in reply,
“Lord, it is good that we are here.
If you wish, I will make three tents here,
one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”
While he was still speaking, behold,
a bright cloud cast a shadow over them,
then from the cloud came a voice that said,
“This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased;
listen to him.”
When the disciples heard this, they fell prostrate
and were very much afraid.
But Jesus came and touched them, saying,
“Rise, and do not be afraid.”
And when the disciples raised their eyes,
they saw no one else but Jesus alone.

As they were coming down from the mountain,
Jesus charged them,
“Do not tell the vision to anyone
until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.”

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!  Spring is supposed to be here in three days.  I don’t know if this was one of the darkest winters in history, but it sure has been one of the coldest on record!  We might have even set some records for snowfall.  The snow is beautiful when it first comes down, covering the earth in a pure blanket of white.  But after months of cold, when the snow has turned to a dirty, slushy and crusty consistency, it’s easy to get sick of it all.  When I was in college, we called February the Dark Ages.  By this time each year, we were sick of the cold, the dark, and the overcast skies.

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Sunday Snippets–A Catholic Carnival


Happy Easter!

Thanks you, RAnn for providing this wonderful opportunity to share with fellow Catholics in our Pilgrim Church, this weekly digest of Catholic Blogs.

Palm Sunday.  What is Finished?  This Palm Sunday, I am challenged to continue what I started on Ash Wednesday:  my journey to know Him better.

Monday of Holy Week.  Jesus, Our Passover Lamb.  Scott Hahn reflects on the parallels between the Paschal Mystery and the Old Testament.  How much do I know or appreciate Christ’s sacrifice?

Tuesday of Holy Week.  The Cup of Blessing.  Scott Hahn draws parallels between the Last Supper and Seder.  But he only whets my appetite to learn more!

Wednesday of Holy Week.  The Paschal Mystery Fulfilled.  Jesus knows the cup of wrath which He must drink to save the world, yet He asks for God’s will.  Do I seek God’s will in my life?

Holy Thursday.  The Bread of Life.  Fasting this Lent has taught me how my “true hunger” is for Him.  How do I intend to “diet” from that which only temporarily satisfies so I can truly partake of His feast?

Good Friday. A Once-For-All, Never-Ending Sacrifice.  Jesus died so that all may inherit eternal life.  How am I behaving as an heir to Christ’s will?

Holy Saturday.  The Gospel of the New Covenant.  Jesus adopts us into His Divine and human families.  How do I turn to His mother for help?

The Gospel of the New Covenant


On this Holy Saturday, I continue my journey through Scott Hahn’s book, Lenten Reflections from A Father Who Keeps His Promises.

Jesus calls us all to Him, but not only to be followers.  He draws us personally into His family.  He calls us to be His siblings.

He who consecrates and those who are being consecrated all have one origin. Therefore, he is not ashamed to call them “brothers.”  Heb. 2:11.

And, as His brothers and sisters, we share the same divine Father.  Jesus extols us to acknowledge this in prayer:

“This is how you are to pray:
Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread;
and forgive us our debts,
as we forgive our debtors;
and do not subject us to the final test,
but deliver us from the evil one.”  Matt. 6:9-13.

How wonderful that I can call our Creator “Abba”, or “Dad!”  Just as Jesus cried out to the Father in agony, I can also call to Him.

Jesus doesn’t stop there.  He also adopts us into His human family, giving us His Mother as ours.

When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son.”  Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother.”  John 19:26-27.

By these words, Jesus entrusts His Mother to the care of John, but even more significantly, He entrusts us in His Mother’s care.

Throughout these millennia since Christ’s death and resurrection, Mary has been faithful in helping the Church.  More personally, I have found great comfort in seeking her aid.  She has never let me down.

Day 46-1

Recognizing how pure and holy Mary is, I am grateful to have such a strong advocate of chastity in today’s age of lust saturation.  It’s impossible to watch TV or drive an expressway without being visually assaulted by something catering to our base prurient interests.  Being a man, I am familiar with the whiplash I can experience walking by a pool, for example.  I am grateful that I can turn to Mary when tempted by visual impurity.  Just as the Israelites turned to the bronze serpent to protect them from the seraph serpents, I have learned to avert my eyes from visual temptations and venomous images, turning to Mary in prayer, Day 46-2

A Once-For-All, Never-Ending Sacrifice


On this Good Friday, I continue my journey through Scott Hahn’s book, Lenten Reflections from A Father Who Keeps His Promises.

Jesus, at the Last Supper and through His cross and resurrection, is both priest and sacrifice.  Scott Hahn reflects on all the parallels between the holocaust offerings of the Old Testament and Christ’s offering.  The reading for today digs deeply into the Letter to the Hebrews.

Not only does the epistle describe Christ’s offering in terms of sacrifice.  Paul also describes the sacrifice in terms of inheritance:

Now where there is a will, the death of the testator must be established.  For a will takes effect only at death; it has no force while the testator is alive.  Heb. 9:16-17.

Christ had to die for the will to work because, as any estate planning attorney will tell you, a will only speaks at the death of the testator.  So, Christ’s death was necessary for anyone to gain His “eternal inheritance.”  Paul describes who the heirs are:

“Those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance.”  Heb. 9:15.

Who, then, is called to receive the eternal inheritance?

Jesus tells us:

“Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.”  Matt.  28:19-20.

We all are heirs!  Jesus told the Apostles to make disciples of everyone!  And so, if I am to be an heir to the eternal promise, I need to behave as an heir.

Day 45-1 Through Christ’s once-and-for-all sacrifice, which we participate in at every Mass, Christ wipes our slates clean and gives us eternal life.Day 45-2

The Bread of Life


On this Holy Thursday, I continue my journey through Scott Hahn’s book, Lenten Reflections from A Father Who Keeps His Promises.

I’ve been hearing about the distinction between “true hunger” and “false” or “toxic hunger.”  Dr. Oz describes how sensations differ:  you don’t feel “true hunger” in your stomach, for example.   The NIH website describes one study related to “true hunger” and says:

 True hunger protects lean body mass, but does not fuel fat deposition. It exists to protect lean body mass from utilization as an energy source.

True hunger, then, ensures that we eat what we need and when we need it.  On the other hand, the study explains that “People overeat because their hunger directs them to consume more calories than they require.”

This Lent I fasted.  But I also feasted.

I fasted from snacks between meals, but also from unnecessary internet and video binges.

I feasted on prayer—focusing on the Rosary, the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, the Stations of the Cross.  I feasted on His Word, with readings and reflections from Scripture guided by Scott Hahn’s book.

Really, fast and feast went hand-in-hand.  My fasting—denying myself the “empty calories” of wasted time—freed me to feast on activities that strengthen my faith and draw me closer to God.

By fasting, I am allowing myself to focus on those clues that reveal that which I truly hunger for.  When I am not fasting, I have a tendency to gorge myself with superficial, saccharine-sweet, fatty things that may temporarily satisfy me but really do nothing for my true hunger.

When I fast, I begin to recognize how I truly hunger for Him.

Day 44-1

By fasting, I recognize that “binge-eating”—overindulging in materialistic or shallow endeavors—denied me the source of life.  Christ—through the Eucharist—provides me the Bread of Life.  And through the Word nourishes my soul.Day 44-2

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