Tag Archives: Lent

hope gone / unexpected dawn

6 Apr

At our “Community Fare” luncheon today, I will interview in talk show fashion four women who have met and become friends through grief: each has buried her husband.

On this Fifth Sunday of Lent we will use the Raising of Lazarus, with hearty reference to his sisters Martha and Mary, as our conversation prompt. I have prepared eight questions, which I will ask one by one of our panel of believers to help them tell their faith story.

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1. How long have you been without your husband – and – how long was his dying process?

lazarus 2

2. When her brother Lazarus was dying, Martha called for Jesus, and when Lazarus had died, Martha ran to Jesus, all the time knowing that Jesus could change the situation. How did your “running to Jesus” make your situation change?

lazarus

3. One could guess that, once Lazarus was brought back to this life, Lazarus and his sisters lived life differently after that moment – and that each of them, Lazarus, Martha and Mary, would approach their own death differently. Since your experience of accompanying your husband in his passing, how do you live life differently now and how might you approach your own dying differently when it comes?

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4. Jesus instructed those near Lazarus to untie him and let him go free. How did you untie your husband and let him go free? How has your family and your parish helped to untie you and let you go free?

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5. Lazarus was brought back to this life. Would you want to bring your husband back?

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6. When Lazarus was resuscitated, Martha and Mary were reanimated. What are you doing now, since your husband’s death, that you never did when he was alive or that you would never have thought that you would have done or could have done?

lazarus

7. In our closing hymn at Mass today, “Jerusalem Our Destiny,” we sang in the fifth verse, “To the tombs I went to mourn the hope I thought was gone / Here among you I awoke to unexpected dawn.” Can you relate to that in any way?

lazarus

8. Martha put her faith into words. How do you finish the sentence that she began “I have come to believe that …?”

the lights are (finally) out – 6 hours later

19 Mar

the Light is ON for You  02

THE LIGHTS ARE OUT!

Father John and I started at 6:50 p.m. because people were already in the church. It was 9:40 p.m. when the last person had left.

That was two priests for ten minutes less than three hours of confessions – that is, twenty minutes less than six hours of confessions – 5 hours and 40 minutes of confessions. That is a lot of God’s mercy assured and realized.

I had not told my parishioners about the usual Lenten penance service on April 8, so one could wonder whether people were thinking that this was it for Lent. But I am suspecting that the parish penance service will be BIGGER than usual, too.

My guess is that the priests of the diocese will give feedback to the bishop that the event was a success and should be a re-do.

My advice to the Bishop will be that we do it again next Lent, adding two hours on a Saturday morning, and two deanery-wide penance services, one led by one of the bishops and the other led by the dean.

Could we possibly have too much of such a good thing?

we will be ready

18 Mar

the Light is ON for you 05Father John and I will be ready to hear their confessions and to assure them of God’s forgiveness.

In every Catholic parish in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati the doors will open and the lights will be “on” for God’s welcome from 7:00 – 9:00 p.m. tonight, Tuesday, March 18, 2014.  

At our beloved St. Andrew we are ready for all who come through our doors during this “The Light is ON for You” event.

We have experimented with our lights, so that attention will be gently directed to the tabernacle, to the altar and to the crucifix, while having enough light in the nave for people to be able to read the “how to go to confession” tri-fold.

There will be greet-ers and pray-ers, that is, a couple parishioners who will quietly and unobtrusively help people know that we are pleased that they have come, and who will then slip out of the way and let God do God’s work.

In addition to our every day and all the time reconciliation chapel, we have set up a confessional in the priest’s sacristy. the Light is ON for you 04

At the priest’s chair all is in place. There is a box of tissues to help wipe away any tears of fear or sorrow or gratitude or overwhelming joy … the Light is ON for you 03

… a variety of acts of contrition …  the Light is ON for you 01 … and the gift of a prayer card that might be given as a penance or might be given just because.

the Light is ON for you 02

All is ready, except me.

It is 5 o’clock. I will eat a quick little supper: some leftover cheese and spinach perogies. Then there will be a 15-minute nap, 10 minutes on the treadmill and a quick shower. That should get me alert and refreshed for two hours of God’s welcome.

happy Guinness day!

17 Mar

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The vestments for Mass today will be the required Lenten violet, and my socks will be their usual black in color, but something different is afoot.

on 4 U

15 Mar

the Light is ON for you

On Tuesday, March 18, from 7:00 – 9:00 p.m. every Catholic parish or region in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati will have its doors open for quiet prayer and the opportunity for confession. The LIGHT is ON for YOU.

Get on your mark. Get set. Go!

5 Mar

Ash Wednesday 01

Get on your mark. Get set. Go!

Get on your mark (the ashes and the cross). Get set (your mind and your heart on Lent). Go (with the flow of God’s grace for 40 days).

The ashes are a unspoken and obvious statement about who you are and to whom you belong.

Get on your mark. Get set. Go!

“It is unacceptable. We have obviously failed.”

16 Feb

Carnival 1

Living in the sight and smell of feces and urine, with raw sewage at their feet, limited water, not much electric, no heat or air-conditioning, and not enough food – this is not what the people on the Carnival Triumph cruise ship had signed up for. This was no way to live. They deserved better. It was unacceptable. Yet this is how they spent their Mardi Gras and began their Lent.

In communication with loved ones by cell phones many gave accounts of the good service of the crew. They spoke about how they were making do with what they had (or didn’t have). They lived in hope and trust that their ordeal would eventually be over.

In the port on shore the CEO of the cruise line made no excuses but only apologies, “We pride ourselves on providing our guests with a great experience, and clearly we failed in this particular case.”

As we begin our Lent and ponder how disgusting it must have been to live those days on the ocean liner, we remember that there are people in the world who live that way all the time: the way human beings are not meant to live. There are people who never have utilities and facilities, who are always without water, food and electric, and who are without any hope that their ordeal will come to an end. This is unacceptable. Maybe this event – and this Lent – will make us more grateful, when we flush the toilet,  turn on the lights, open our refrigerator and make our beds. Maybe this event – and this Lent – will find us more inclined to be of good service to those who do not have something that they deserve.

Maybe this event – and this Lent – will cause those of us who stand on the shores of comfort or cruise through life in luxury to catch a glimpse of the suffering of others. Maybe in the next forty days we will be shown some way of working toward fixing things and making things right for someone else.

Carnival 2

Lent begins, but Easter beckons

13 Feb

We are made from dust, but we are not meant for earth. We are meant for heaven.

Lent begins, but Easter beckons.

With Christ let us rise from the ashes of this day!

Name the Beast; Notice the Angels

25 Feb

Mark seems to be “fasting” from words. There are two sentences in two verses: 

“The Spirit drove Jesus out into the desert,

and he remained in the desert for forty days,

tempted by Satan.

He was among wild beasts,

and the angels ministered to him.”

The beasts indicate struggle. The angels imply victory.

For 40 days there is Lent. There will be beasts. There will be angels.

Name your struggles. Notice your angels.

I’m “fasting from worry” during Lent

22 Feb

In addition to not eating any bread during Lent, I am going to try to fast from worry.

On the Fridays of Lent, when I am abstaining from meat, I will do my best to “abstain” from worrying about the one thing that worries me most on that day. That one thing that I am worrying about most or that worries me most on that Friday – I will abstain from that one big worry, while I am abstaining from meat. I am just not going to worry about it, just as I am not going to eat goetta or a hamburger. No meat and no worry on Fridays.

On every other Lenten day, I am going to try to “fast” from worry. In a playful spirit, following the customary guidelines for fasting from food, I will allow myself to worry once a day for a reasonable amount of time, and then to worry for two other shorter periods of time which together will not equal that one, main reasonable amount of time – and, of course, there will be no snacking on worry in between.

This may sound silly, unless you have a tendency to worry like I do, which takes a lot of trust out of life as well as a lot of joy and enjoyment. Maybe I’ll be able to give the worry to God, and be done with it. Maybe I’ll just wind up putting it aside until Easter, when I’ll gorge myself on worry, after fasting from worry for so long. We’ll see.

In any case, Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday) was quite the day: I worried all day long about as many things as I could think to worry about, hoping that beginning today, Ash Wednesday, God does something new with me.