The Ultimate Lenten Exercise

How much does God love us?  What is the Father's most precious possession?  His Only-Begotten Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ.  Whom He gave to us.  Whom He sacrificed for us.  In a most terrible way.  Not only that.  He keeps sacrificing Him....until the end of time....in the Holy Eucharist.  Christ literally is held within people's hands.  You may or may not agree with Communion in the hand, but the fact is, the Church allows it.....so He allows it.  Complete vulnerability.  His Body, Soul and Divinity.  Its difficult to even comprehend.

So the point is...what is your most precious possession?  Think about it.  Meditate on it.  It may not take you long.....or it may take a few minutes.  Would you be willing to offer this to God?  Would you be willing to appropriately reciprocate His love?  This is the ultimate Lenten exercise, the real proof of your love for God.  Better than giving up some worldly pleasure.  Better than any prayer or devotion.  Better than spending all day on Good Friday in church. 

Will you give Him your most precious, prized possession?

And it doesn't mean He will even ask for it.  That's not the point.  Would you give it if He asked for it?  Can you do this?

March is dedicated to Saint Joseph and....it's Lent!

Saint Joseph's feast is March 19th (and the 20th this year) and this month is also dedicated to him.  How can we honor Saint Joseph this month?  You can say the short prayer on our Home page and perhaps memorize it....and share it with others!  Of course there are many other wonderful prayers and devotions to Saint Joseph.  Also, if you don't have a statue of him in your home, now might be the time to get one.

Lent has commenced, the beautiful yearly time of spiritual renewal that we all need-how wise is Mother Church!  The photo above is the window in my dining room....my husband made fun of me last weekend when I decorated the window-he said, "Some people, they're always putting the Lent decorations up early!"  I don't know what's funnier, the fact that I put them up early or the fact that I put up Lent decorations.  So, I know you all know about no meat on Fridays, but do you know that traditionally, meat was eaten only at one meal each day of Lent (except Sundays)?  I have never successfully kept to that before, but I am going to try this year....the real issue is forgetting, so I have marked my calendar to remind myself and am hoping for the best.  Dear Lord, guide us in observing a holy Lent, which is pleasing to Thee and may we be that much closer to Heaven at the celebration of Thy glorious Resurrection!

And...we have the Ember Days of Lent as well.  This is a time of prayer and penance for the coming season of Spring (we can pray for Saint Isidore's intercession, whose feast is the 22nd), a Christianized version of pagan customs.  On these days, I love to read the masses in the traditional missal.  It is sad the Ember Days have largely been lost-this is what I mean when I say it is time to create new traditions-be creative with it!

What else is going on this month?  We have three Doctors of the Church, three people involved in Christ's Crucifixion and death, several Marian feasts and Saint Patrick's Day.  Saint Gabriel's feast is appropriately, the day before the Annunciation.  It is also interesting to note that the Annunciation and the feast of Saint Dismas fall on the same day, giving us a perspective from Our Lord's conception to his death.  And let us not forget to retire from our penance and be joyful on Laetare Sunday....remembering that its really all about the Resurrection and an eternity in Heaven!

3/1-Ash Wednesday-Fast and abstinence

3/3-Saint Katharine Drexel, 1955

3/6-Saints Felicitas & Perpetua, Martyrs, 203

3/7-Saints Felicitas & Perpetua (new)/Saint Thomas Aquinas,"The Angelic Doctor," Doctor of the Church, 1274

3/8-Ember Wednesday in Lent

3/10-Ember Friday in Lent

3/11-Ember Saturday in Lent

3/12-Saint Gregory the Great, Pope, Doctor of the Church, 604/Saint Theophanes the Chronicler, 817

3/15-Saint Longinus, Pierced the Heart of Our Lord

3/17-Saint Joseph of Arimathea, Provided the Tomb for Christ/Saint Patrick, Patron of Ireland, 461

3/18-Our Lady of Mercy/Saint Cyril of Jerusalem, Doctor of the Church, 386

3/19-Saint Joseph

3/20-Saint Joseph (new, transferred)

3/22-Saint Isidore the Farmer, 1130

3/23-Our Lady of Victories

3/24-Saint Gabriel the Archangel

3/25-The Annunciation of Our Lord/Saint Dismas, "The Good Thief"

3/26-Laetare Sunday

(this blog provides new and traditional feasts)

2 More to Come....

It is a custom to pray the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Holy Rosary each day of Lent.  Even better if you can pray them before the Most Blessed Sacrament or together as a family after dinner.  Wishing you continued Lenten blessings and we have 2 more meditations to come...one this Friday and the last on Good Friday.  After that, we will begin meditations on the Glorious Mysteries!

Saint Thomas Aquinas, Angelic Doctor, pray for us!  Saints Perpetua & Felicity, great martyrs of Holy Mother Church, pray for us!

Image courtesy http://beads-of-joy-blog.blogspot.com/2013/05/the-sorrowful-mysteries.html

March: Month Dedicated to Saint Joseph

This March is jam-packed with soul candy (did I really say that?).....great feasts, Holy Week, the Easter Triduum and Easter Week!  By April 1st, which is Easter Friday, a First Friday and the feast of Saint Hugh of Grenoble, may we have grown closer to Our Blessed Lord.

Holy Church dedicates the month of March to our dear Saint Joseph, so good and powerful (see Home Page for prayer).  His feast is March 19th.  May we remember Saint Joseph in our daily prayers this month.  A very interesting thing is the feast of Saint Dismas, the Good Thief, falls on Good Friday this year.  That same day, March 25th, is typically the feast of the Annunciation.  However, this feast has this year, been moved to April 4th.  Keep in mind, traditionally, on all days of Lent, except Sundays, meat is only eaten at one meal.  Here is an overview of the month, including some particular feasts:

3/6-Laetare Sunday

3/7-Saint Thomas Aquinas, The Angelic Doctor

3/13-Passion Sunday (change your clocks!)

3/15-Saint Longinus, Centurion

3/17-Saint Patrick, Patron of Ireland/Saint Joseph of Arimathea

3/18-Seven Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary (trad Friday after Passion Sunday)

3/19-Saint Joseph, Patron of the Universal Church

3/20-Palm Sunday/Saint Photina, Woman at the Well

3/22-Saint Isidore the Farmer, Patron of Farmers (Nomen Christi likes him-we want to see a garden in every parish!)

3/23-Spy Wednesday/Our Lady of Victories

3/24-Holy Thursday/Saint Gabriel the Archangel, Patron of Telecommunications & Diplomats

3/25- +++ Good Friday +++ (fast & abstain)/Saint Dismas, Patron of Criminals

3/26- +++ Holy Saturday +++ (trad no meat)

3/27- +++ Easter Sunday, The Solemnity of Solemnities +++

Happy Leap Day!

If I ever become a saint, through God's great mercy....just my luck, my feast will probably be on Leap Day.  (budumpum!)

It's like....not a real day, right?  Does that mean we can do whatever we want and it doesn't count?  Like....can I eat ice cream all day and not gain weight?  Can I take the train to the city and spend the day at some posh spa?  When my husband sees $2,000 on the credit card statement, all I have to do is say....it was Leap Day, dude....NOT A REAL DAY....DOESN'T COUNT....NEVER HAPPENED!

Or...maybe Leap Day is a portal to an alternate universe?  Someone should do a movie about that.  Any screenwriters reading....I'll let you take that idea and you don't even have to give me credit! 

Okay, I'm quite finished with my dumb Leap Day jokes.  This is why I did not become a comedienne.  Blessings on this Leap Day....and this week is the half-way point of Lent....our celebrant at Mass yesterday reminded us to take this week to recollect ourselves and ask ourselves (as per the trad Gospel), "Am I divided within myself?"  A good Lenten examination.

Lenten Meditations on the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Holy Rosary

Several years ago, I began writing a series of meditations on the Mysteries of the Holy Rosary.  I published them on the former Nomen Christi Apostolate website.  The project went very well and was well received, but I never finished it.  I did complete the Sorrowful Mysteries, which I will re-publish here, starting with "The Agony in the Garden" today.  This Friday, I'll post the next Mystery and so forth on the remaining Fridays in Lent.  I am doing some slight editing in this re-publishing.  I will resume this project one of these days and complete all 20 Mysteries. 

These meditations are very personal for me, since I draw on many of my own life experiences, including some of the most difficult.  The only research I do is the reading of Scripture, since I wish these thoughts to be as original as possible.  With each meditation, I am seeking to uncover a fundamental aspect or nature of the event and to show some practical application to our own daily lives.  I hope you find these meditations enriching and please feel free to share them with others.  Come back this Friday for the next one!

The Agony in the Garden

It seems strange that Christ, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, would feel fear so intense, that it would produce the Bloody Sweat of His Agony.  One might expect Him to approach His death with greater stoicism.  Why would He suggest to the Father that this “cup” be taken from Him?  What was the nature of this Agony and what do we have to learn from it?

Our Lord was fully God, but also fully man.  His Agony shows us how very human He was and how much He understands our sufferings, particularly those of the mind.  The drama in the Garden of Gethsemane comes down to the two qualities of God that are wholly unique:  omniscience and omnipotence, the two things desired by Adam and Eve.  This is another garden where the reverse struggle plays out, only now, the right choice is made.  Rather than man attempting to assume the qualities of God, God assumes the weakness of man.  This right choice is precisely the moment which leads to our Redemption, secured on the Cross, reversing the curse of our first parents.  The moment before Our Lord was physically apprehended, presents the Mystery of the Agony in the Garden.  This is where the final yielding of His Spirit occurred, when He speaks the words, “Thy Will be done.”  All work begins in the mind and our Redemption was no exception.  Once Our Lord was apprehended, there could be no turning back.  He was then fully prepared to enter into His Passion.

Our Lord possessed in that garden, the complete knowledge of what awaited him.  Man’s ignorance makes it easier for him to approach fearful situations.  Complete knowledge made it excruciating for Christ.  He also possessed the power to run away, the power to obliterate the enemy coming for Him.  At the very moment when humanity’s Redemption was held in the balance, surely all hell’s power was leveled against this one Man.  It must have been excruciating for Satan as well-never before or since would a task require more of him.  If the right choice was made, so many souls would escape his grasp.  So here may lie the nature of the Agony in the Garden:  to proceed in spite of Divine Knowledge and to withhold Divine Power.

What must I do in spite of my fear and how must I withhold my power?  It has been said that our age has no lack of virtue, only a lack of heroism.  Dear Jesus, make me stand firm in my own little agonies, that I may receive the Redemption Thou hast so grievously won.  Give me the courage to say, "Thy Will be done."  Amen.


Ash Wednesday...Its Lent!

Dear Friends...I'm busy today (the chiropractor, ashes, the Rosary, shopping...) and I know I need to do a post. There are a few I'm working on simultaneously and a few more that are bouncing around in my head. Lent is such a great time! So much to think about. For today, I'll just share a thought that came to me, that can become a continual Lenten meditation...

I asked Jesus today, "How are you on this Ash Wednesday?" Then I wondered to myself, "No really, I wonder how He feels looking down upon the world right now." And I thought of all the reasons for Him to be sad...or mad. I said to Him,"I wish You could look down on my little corner of the world and smile."

So maybe that's something we could all resolve to do this Lent...do one thing each day that will make God smile. I think that would be a Lent...and a life...well lived.

A holy and blessed Lent to all! :):):)