Meditation: First Sunday of Lent (February 14, 2016) February 11, 2016 9:14 AM
We have just entered the season of Lent, a time that can be filled with grace if we approach it with an open heart and a willingness to enter into the experiences it offers. For many of us, Lent traditionally takes on a negative air as we remember the sense of loss in limiting or totally giving up candy, soda, television, or our hand-held electronic devices for 40 days. While these practices are admirable, for most people, they do not do what the underlying message of Lent is about – to bring us closer to the Lord.
This Lent, how about choosing a penance that can be life-giving? What if you did something extra, rather than giving something up? Perhaps you could write a note to someone who needs cheering up, visit a nursing home, volunteer to assist with an activity at your parish, or serve a meal at a shelter. On a more personal level, perhaps Lent could be the time you choose to forgive someone who may have hurt you. Other things you might consider doing for yourself: spend time each day reading from the Bible or other spiritual or inspirational book; make time for a few minutes of silence each day to allow the Lord to speak to your heart; find at least one thing to be grateful for each day. By choosing a penance that is life-giving, you not only become a better person, but you also deepen your relationship with the Lord.
Whatever form your Lenten penance takes this year, may it deepen your experience of Easter joy.
Posted By Sister Janice Schneider, OSF
Meditation: Ash Wednesday (February 10, 2016) February 8, 2016 7:41 AM
Today is the first day of a 40 day journey which starts by having ashes in the form of a cross marked on our foreheads. Wearing ashes is an ancient tradition which has been preserved by the Church.
We recognize our fellow travelers by the ashes they wear today. By wearing them, we are proclaiming that we take to heart our call to deepen our sense of sorrow for our misdeeds and discover simple truths about who we are in the eyes of God and those in our family, work place and social relationships.
Marking our foreheads with ashes can be a very humbling experience as it announces to everyone our neediness for their forgiveness when we have acted contrary to the teachings of Christ in the Gospels. Ashes proclaim that we need insight and a change of heart so as to be a follower of Jesus in our world today.
Furthermore, ashes are a reminder of our physical death and awaken our feelings if we allow ourselves to ponder the last event in our earthly life. As followers of Christ, we have the sure knowledge of the resurrection to eternal life in Him.
May we wear our ashes today in a spirit of gratitude. When we wash them off our forehead this evening, may the message they proclaim remain in our heart for the journey toward Easter.
Posted By Sister Ann Mathieu, OSF
The journey through Lent February 5, 2016 9:44 AM
We invite you to journey with us through Lent through our weekly Meditations. As an introduction, please experience this arrangement of "Beyond the Days" by Rev. Ricky Manalo, CSP, Ph.D. - a Paulist priest currently teaching at Santa Clara University and the Jesuit School of Theology (Berkeley, CA).