I present to you 102 things to give up for Lent. I stretched every muscle in my brain to come up with this list for you. Now you absolutely have NO excuse that you “can’t think of what to give up for Lent” because I DID ALL THE THINKING FOR YOU. And my head hurts now.
Anyway, if I were there I would especially want to watch my main girl Mary and how she handled everything. What did she do? What did she say? How did her peace and her virtue transform the less-than-ideal situation of having a baby in a cold stable? What can we learn from her?
I love Mass. Not only is it the highest form of prayer, but it’s also my favorite.
Christmas is also my favorite Liturgical season. I don’t know if it’s because I’ve been preparing my heart all of Advent or because of the arrival of my Savior (most likely both), but I’m always getting for Christmas Mass – especially Midnight Mass.
So, if you’re like me, this is probably the journey you take before, during and after Christmas Midnight Mass.
“Now therefore write this song, and teach it to the sons of Israel; put it in their mouths, that this song may be a witness for me.” (Deuteronomy 31:19) Christmas music is everywhere right now. It’s not uncommon to be standing in line at the grocery or in a convenience store this time of year, […]
This Advent we are given an opportunity to refocus our lives and redirect our hearts back to Jesus. Don’t miss out on this season of grace. Take time to honestly evaluate where you stand with the Lord. No matter where you are, no matter how close or far you feel, Jesus is inviting you to draw closer to Him.
As we learned from the first Christmas, Jesus is willing to enter into whatever space we’ve got for Him. Are we willing to open our lives to Him, to let Him dwell in even those areas where we’d least expect Him to make His home?
What I found up in that attic shocked me. There were empty boxes from our Christmas presents. This may not seem all that weird – except these were boxes from the Christmas presents we received from Santa Claus… and Santa didn’t bring them in boxes.
A horrific reality sunk in: My parents’ had kidnapped Santa Claus.
Joel Stepanek reflects on death and what it has to do with Advent. Why does the Catholic Church focus on something so depressing during a time we just want to be joyful and drink peppermint mochas?
It’s almost as if those of us who are Christian all year round begin to fade into the background and blend in with the crowd at Christmas time. But it doesn’t have to be that way. In fact, I believe Christmas is a time when faithful followers of Jesus should stand out.
When I was 6 years old, there was a book was on display in the family room. It had a picture of Pope John Paul II on the cover and about 1,000 pages of text about his life inside. And around 11:45 p.m. on New Year’s Eve 1998 I decided that my resolution for the […]
You see, here’s my thought process… if everyone’s so worried about waiting and preparing for Him, what if they start ignoring Him? What if “preparing” for Jesus turns into buying presents and putting up “better than last years” Christmas lights? What if “waiting” becomes an excuse for spiritual laziness and complacency?
What if Advent flies by and it’s Christmas Eve and your soul is in the same place as it was on November 30th? That’s the real nightmare before Christmas.
What if we lived as though death no longer existed?
No, but really. What if we lived as though death was literally not an option for us? What if we chose to radically live in the newness of life that Jesus offers us through His Resurrection?
By living as if death no longer existed, I don’t mean living naively as though to ignore the reality of death. Living this way means viewing death on earth not as an end to life, but a new beginning, the start of an eternity in the presence of God.
St. Paul had to deal with a lot of 'high minded', philosophical types in his day. Most were very prideful, long on academics but short on humility. Some people back then claimed that Jesus didn't really rise from the dead (as we celebrate this weekend). Rather than mince words, Paul gave it to them straight (in the verse up above). Many people will tell you that 'based on human logic' the Resurrection makes no sense. The first thing we need to remember is that 'human logic' is not omnipotence. God makes it very clear that '(His) ways are not our ways, nor are His thoughts our thoughts.' (Is. 55:8-9)
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 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.
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.
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.