Saturday, March 30, 2019

Suffering - by Mikalya

Original sin brought about suffering.  God does not will me to suffer, but He permits it.  He permits it so that I can unite my sufferings to Christ in His passion and death.  Jesus suffered for me, but He also suffers with me.  He can use my sufferings as reparation for my sin or the sins of others who have hurt Him.  Uniting my sufferings to those of Our Lord helps to relieve His suffering.  I can also relieve His suffering by acts of virtue and penance.

This Lent may I relieve the sufferings of of Christ by my extra acts of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving and come to a deeper relationship with Him.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Man has a Hole in His Head - by Mary Kate

Fulton Sheen once jokingly said that we have reason to hope because "man has a hole in his head."  What he hoped to convey is that man by himself does not fill himself with goodness and truth.  We do not fill our ears with sound, our mouths with food, our nose with smell, our eyes with sight.  Rather, they are gifts from a greater source.  This same source, our Blessed Lord, tells us that "the eye is the lamp of the body.  If your eye is sound, your whole body will be full of light." (Mt. 6:22)

Lent is a time to devotedly return our gaze to the One Who is the light that shines in the darkness (Jn 1:5).  Our sacrifices free us to be filled and dispose us to properly orient our gaze.  I pray that we persevere in receiving life from Our Lord this Lent as we
"return with our whole heart."  (Joel 2:12)

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Preparation - by Claire

All to often, Lent is looked on as a burden, annoyance or inconvenience.  We concern ourselves with what to give up, what do do, what is too much or too hard, and what is too little or too easy.  Eventually we decide on something and do our best to carry it out obediently, but not very joyfully. We've all had Lents like this, or seen it this way at some point in our lives, but this view does not do justice to the beauty of Lent.

In truth, Lent is the preparation time we have before receiving the greatest gift of all!  It is a time to get to know Jesus in a more intimate way before we recall His suffering, death and resurrection.  By abstaining from the pleasures of this world, the things we like most, we slowly remove our earthly supports.  Through this, we begin to have more time to spend with Jesus.  If we choose, we may grow much closer to Him, abandoning our sins, comforts and supports in favor of the virtue of trust.  What a worthy effort!  After all, it was all of our sins and supports that lifted Jesus off the ground at His crucifixion.

In this light, let us continue whole heartedly during this Lenten Season.

Sunday, March 24, 2019

The Father's Love - by Holly

In the first reading on Ash Wednesday we hear from the prophet Joel: "Even now, says the Lord, return to me with your whole heart."  Our lives are about relationship with God.  Lent is a time set aside to renew that relationship with our Father, especially our trust in Him.

In these forty days, we are united with Christ who showed His trust in the Father, as He was "led out by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted."  We also see His trusting surrender to the Father, during His passion, when He says, "Not my will but yours be done" and "Into your hands, I commend my spirit."

As I enter into this Lenten Season, I am bearing in mind that, as the Catechism states, "God's initiative of love always comes first; our own first step is always a response."  Whenever I perform my selected penance, I am in fact, receiving my Father's love, poured out for me, and am then, in my action, responding to His great love.  I am excited to spend the next forty days of this special season deepening my relationship with my Father, and I hope that everyone partaking in this blessed season responds to the invitation to a closer union with the One Who Loved us first.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Intimidated or Not? - by Sarah

Lent can be intimidating.  It's a trek of 40 days through the desert and a time of penance, fasting, and repentance, which typically aren't ideas that fill us with joy and excitement.  With all it's difficulties and sacrifices, it can be easy to fall into viewing Lent as a burden or an inconvenience, and we start anticipating it with dread rather than eagerness.

When we take a step back and look at the big picture, though, something begins to emerge that isn't quite so unattractive.  The self-denial is still there, but we can begin to see it in a different light.  It isn't just suffering for the sake of suffering.  Prayer, fasting and almsgiving lead us down the road of letting go of the good things of this life and becoming more attached to the ultimate Good and source of our happiness - God.

We don't just practice penance and penitence for the sake of beating ourselves up over our failings, but rather because this is a time when God opens His arms even wider to receive us back to Himself as His prodigal children.  If we can learn to see Lent as a time we're privileged to have to draw closer to God, it can become a time of resting in the arms of the Father who never wants to be separated from us.

Yes, Lent is a trek of 40 days through the desert, but when God is our goal and companion along the way, it isn't quite so intimidating anymore.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Winter and Spring - by Mary Kate

I love how the seasons outside can reflect seasons in our interior life.  When I look outside my window, the trees are bare and exposed.  Their leaves no longer mask anything that lies beneath.  All is simple and quiet, and it seems fitting to me that Lent falls at this transitional period between winter and spring.

Simplicity and barrenness eventually give way to new life, and it is all a gift from the Heart of the Father.  All this can be said of us, too.  The sacrifices we make a commitment to for love of Him bring a change within us that gives way to something that is vibrant like a new spring.  For now, we make that space to allow the Lord to work as we
faithfully respond to His call, "Even now, return to Me with your whole heart." (Joel 2:12)

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Abounding in Mercy - by Abbie

“Yet even now,” says the Lord, “return to me with all your heart…
Return to the Lord, your God, for he is gracious and merciful,
slow to anger, and abounding in mercy…”
                -Joel 2 :12-13

The Father wants all of your heart: the good, the bad, and the ugly. He will always wait for you to offer your heart to Him, because He is a kind and gentle Father who respects the free will of His children. Give Him more of your heart this Lent. Your Lenten sacrifice is an emptying of yourself or your time. What do you fill that space or time with? I challenge you to allow Him to fill this space of your heart or this time during your day. Return to Him in prayer. Ask for the grace to be filled by Him when your fasting leaves you feeling hollow. When you fail at keeping your Lenten sacrifice, like the prodigal son who squandered his inheritance, return to Him in your failure for the Father will be “gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in mercy.”