We are all works-in-progress. I’ve got my own weeds that need pulling, rocks that need moving, branches that need pruning. I’m a mess. And as soon as I think I’ve got one thing under control, something else pops up and knocks me down again. But God is the most patient gardener, who never stops working so that I might become what He wants me to be, and bear fruit. He doesn’t care what it costs.
I think it’s easy to read the Bible like it’s a history book. Moses parted the sea, Jesus died on a cross, Columbus sailed across the ocean. I know it’s more than an account of historic events but I often struggle to see how it applies to my life. “They” (that collective, scholarly, holy group […]
I recently heard someone ranting about how commercialized Easter has become and how there is “no trace of Christ” left in His holiday. I understood the person’s concerns and agreed, in part, with their assertions. The more I got to thinking about it, though, I felt like their thoughts, while valid, were a little bit short…sighted.
Christ is everywhere. His death and resurrection are everywhere. We just need to know where to look and how to uncover them.
Or, maybe for some of you they don’t and you’ve been able to keep a solid Lenten journey? Regardless, there’s always room for growth, depth… and some Lenten punches of improvement.
Here are some practical suggestions to help you in the remaining time of Lent.
I know you guys lead busy lives. Our culture, your teachers, parents, friends, yourself – there is pressure from every direction to boost your resume and increase your chances of getting into the very best college. The result of this pressure is an overwhelming schedule that includes: school, homework, time with the Lord, family, a social life, part time jobs, clubs, honor society, athletics, volunteer work and oh yeah… sleep.
There is a tremendous amount of pressure not only to participate in most, or all, of these things, but to do them all perfectly. You are expected as a freshman in high school to juggle a schedule that is four times what it should be.
This is a problem in our culture, but the bigger problem is – it has become the norm. Anything less than this business is perceived as laziness.
The Stations of the Cross are prayers that help us meditate on Jesus’ Passion and sacrifice for us. They incorporate the use of Scripture, prayers, meditations, and songs while traveling to 14 stations. The Stations are based upon Scriptural accounts from the time when Jesus was condemned to death until He was laid in the tomb. The practice of taking a pilgrimage to follow Jesus’ steps on the way to His crucifixion has existed since the early Church. It’s an opportunity for us to truly enter into the Paschal Mystery: Jesus’ passion and death, which prepares us for His Resurrection on Easter Sunday.
“The most important thing about you is what you think about, when you think about God.” This is one of my favorite quotes, and I think it’s so true! Since my faith is the most important thing in my life, I have noticed that how and what I think about God affects every aspect of […]
I probably don’t need to remind you of this, every fast food chain flashing signs of fish sandwiches is reminder enough.
But just in case…
It is still Lent.
I would imagine this reality will either elicit two kinds of responses in you. Either you are coasting through Lent without much struggle to keep your Lenten promises, or you are wondering how in the world you are going to keep to your fasts the remainder of Lent.
I rode in the car for two hours with our Lord clutched to my chest. I had my knees up by my face and both my hands over Him, hugging Him tightly to myself. I could feel my heartbeat in my hands, pounding through the gold capsula. I did not speak. The hours passed like minutes as I sat there in complete awe and wonder.
Daily Mass became part of my routine when I was in college, and because of Mass, I am a changed person.
I am reminded each day that Jesus loves me and is a very real part of who I am. Through His holy sacrifice — and my human one in getting up early for daily Mass, His grace and goodness transform me. Maybe you’re thinking, “but I just don’t feel anything at Mass,” or that,“Mass is boring.” These are common feelings, but we shouldn’t let these feelings or thoughts come between us and Jesus. We should realize that it’s how we respond to Christ’s call to be with Him daily that makes the difference in how we are receptive to Him.
But when I really look at my heart, I’ve begun to wonder if I feel more affirmed by the Lord’s love in my life or by the little endorphine-hit I get when someone retweets me. So this year I’m giving up social media for Lent. No Valencia-filtered selfies. No “Let it Go” covers. No check-ins at my favorite coffee shop. Instead, I’ve got five reasons why giving up social media for Lent is going to be great for my life.
So, I committed: 40 minutes of “devotional time” every single day. You can call it quiet time, prayer time, or just… time – whatever you need to call it so it doesn’t sound like a punishment. I didn’t really know what to call it. I just knew that I was going to do it.
Think about it: 40 minutes isn’t a huge block of time. It’s one drama or two sitcoms on Netflix. We can all find 40 minutes in a day. We just have to choose to do it.
However, I worry that if we don’t learn to use things for the good of the Kingdom of God, we might be missing the boat. It’s the same with using your humor to glorify God, or using your body to glorify God, or using your music to glorify God – we can use our phones the same way.
Here’s the thing about Lent: Your thing is your thing. What you give up and what you add on is between you and God, not you and your friends. If you want to bring them into it, asking them to walk with you or hold you accountable, all power to you. If you don’t want anyone but God to know, that’s okay, too.
If, however, you take every opportunity (consciously or unconsciously) to share just how much you’re giving up or how much you’re doing, it’s not holiness you’re seeking — it’s attention.
Lent is a fitting time for self-denial; we would do well to ask ourselves what we can give up in order to help and enrich others by our own poverty. Let us not forget that real poverty hurts: no self-denial is real without this dimension of penance. I distrust a charity that costs nothing and does not hurt.
The bottom line is that “things” are not our identity and we cannot place our identity in them. Our identity comes from God. Nothing we possess on earth lasts, but what does last is our relationship God, which is for eternity. Only when we recognize this can we have a healthy relationship with “things.”
To be honest, I was just angry.
After a while, I got more caught up in debating and arguing about the issue more than anything else. I lost track of what this is all about. It’s not about winning an argument or spreading an ideology. It’s really simpler than all of that.
There’s a lot of talk about being pro-life right now. It’s almost like it’s trendy to be pro-life every time January comes around.
However, it’s a lot easier to jump on board with the trending topic on Twitter than it is to live out a controversial moral belief. So how do you live “pro-life”? How do you take the sentiments of January into February and beyond?
An uprising. A movement. A generation who seeks justice. The words above describe a little of what I experienced this past week, but perhaps could most adequately be described by the word “revolution.” This week I encountered a true revolution — a revolution of people who know the dignity of life and choose to stand […]
Abortion is a traumatic event, something no one ever wants and so many deeply regret. There’s an ache in the hearts of men and women who have been through it, because they know that they have become parents – without having their babies.
Even though many try to convince themselves that their child was “just a lump of tissue” or the abortion was “just an unfortunate incident,” they still feel the pain of knowing that their little one isn’t with them. I’ve met post-abortive men and women, and when they get honest, they admit that it’s something you never, ever forget.