+JMJ+ Seems like we’ve been in a spiritual wasteland for a couple of years now but here it is again, Ash Wednesday. Time to head into the desert once more. Yet even in the midst of all the trouble and trials we’ve been going through, we can make this a fruitful Lent and a time to grow deeper in our love of God, even if we haven’t been feeling the love for a while.Continue reading “Ash Wednesday: Into the desert again”
+JMJ+ Lent begins on Wednesday. That’s just two days away! At least I don’t have to flail about like I do most years, wondering what to do, what to give up, etc. This year I’m going to do some spiritual exercises from the Sermon on the Mount to make this my best Catholic Lent ever! Join me and make this your best Catholic Lent ever, too. I’ll give a brief overview of these spiritual exercises in this post, but you can read more about them and what they are meant to remedy in the ongoing Catholic Book of the Month series, currently featuring Brant Pitre’s Introduction to the Spiritual Life (scroll down that page for the book’s posts).Continue reading “Your Best Catolic Lent Yet”
+JMJ+ Welcome to part 4 of our Catholic Book of the Month for March 2021, Praying with Jesus and Faustina During Lent: and in Times of Suffering, by Susan Tassone. I’m also going to include some things from the Marian site of the Divine Mercy to help us get ready for Holy Week. Notes and links are at the end of this post.Continue reading “Book of the Month, March 2021 – Part 4”
+JMJ+ Welcome! It’s time for part 3 of the second book in our Catholic Book of the Month series, featuring Praying with Jesus and Faustina During Lent: and in Times of Suffering, by Susan Tassone. If you haven’t gotten a copy of the current Catholic Book of the Month, there are links at the end of the post that you can use if you like. Tonight we’ll be taking a brief look at the section for today, the Fourth Monday of Lent, and chapter 2, Meditations on the Passion and the Way of the Cross with St. Faustina.Continue reading “Book of the Month, March 2021 – Part 3”
+JMJ+ Welcome! It’s time for part 2 of our second Catholic Book of the Month, Praying with Jesus and Faustina During Lent and in Times of Suffering, by Susan Tassone. (Seems to me we could have used this book for the whole year of 2020, right on up to the current Lenten season and, undoubtedly, it will be useful for the rest of the year and well beyond.) There will be notes and links at the end of this post.Continue reading “Book of the Month, March 2021 – Part 2”
+JMJ+ Welcome! We’re already in the second week of Lent and I’m pausing the Re-Reading the New Age series at least until after Lent and the Easter Season, which means until after Pentecost, and maybe longer. Lent is the time to focus on spiritual practice and true religion. (Re true religion, see the first posts about Scott Hahn’s book, It Is Right and Just, in this series.)
So, now it’s time to announce our 2nd Catholic Book of the Month title. Drum roll, please: Praying with Jesus and Faustina During Lent and in Times of Suffering, by Susan Tassone. (There will be notes and links at the end of this post.)Continue reading “Book of the Month, March 2021 – Part 1”
Have to share this with you: During Lent this year the St. Paul Center is offering free viewing of their new series, The Bible and the Church Fathers, with the purchase of a workbook, leader guide, DVD set, or kit. Get to know your Church family and learn how they read the Bible. (Links at the end of this post.)
“This Lent, get free streaming of The Bible and the Church Fathers! For a limited time, you can get free access to our premiere video study when you buy a workbook, leader guide, DVDs, or kit.”Continue reading “The Bible and the Church Fathers for Lent”
Twenty-three years ago I experienced my first Holy Thursday liturgy. I remember parts of it, other parts are beginning to fade. I decided to record what I still remember and post it here tonight on this Holy Thursday. Technically, it’s Good Friday now but only by five minutes.
After the Holy Thursday liturgy a few people stayed in the pews to watch with Him. Fr. — had stripped the altar, had set up the tabernacle, palm fronds around it in the dimly lit, darkened nave. Hushed voices became softer and softer until they fell silent as the last stragglers left, leaving just three of us there. In the tabernacle the Lord was preparing to face the ordeal of ordeals. In the pews were His three disciples, fighting to stay awake, nodding off, not understanding what was taking place then, having no idea what would be taking place in a matter of hours.
I couldn’t sleep. I wanted to take in everything, everything I saw or heard or felt. I wanted to hold onto it, to remember. I heard snores behind me. I grew more determined to stay awake and watch.
At nearly midnight, the priest entered the sanctuary with two altar servers, one on either side of him, holding long-handled candle lighters which, in the dimlit darkness, looked exactly like spears. They’ve come to arrest Him! I watched, unable to stop them. I looked around to see if anyone else saw what I did, but they were sound asleep. I was alone, beholding the unfolding scene.
The altar servers stood holding their spear-candlelighters while the priest stepped forward and bent down to open the tabernacle door and lifted the Lord from His place of repose. Then he walked slowly away, the two trailing behind with their spears. They left through the sacristy door. The tabernacle door was left open, exposing the emptiness within. All was silent—except for the snores behind me. I wanted to turn and shake them awake. They arrested Him! They took Him away! Did you not see? Why didn’t you help me? Why didn’t we stop them, why didn’t we help Him?
Ah, get behind me, Satan! “Christ was obedient unto death.” And so must we all be.
I’ve been Catholic now since April 1996 and all I can say is thanks be to God and praise to You, Lord Jesus Christ! Lord, have mercy on us. Make our hearts like unto Thine. Amen!
Image credits: The Agony in the Garden, Luca Giordano; The Taking of Christ, Caravaggio, c. 1602. Wikimedia Commons, public domain.
Tonight I watched EWTN Live on Ash Wednesday as Fr. Mitch Pacwa interviewed Susan Tassone, author of many books about the Holy Souls in Purgatory. Her latest book, The Saint Faustina Prayer Book for the Holy Souls, is due to be released in April. Tassone made a study of Saint Faustina’s writings on Purgatory in her Diary: Divine Mercy in My Soul, and collects them in her book, along with prayers and novenas. I’m looking forward to getting a copy of this.
After watching the show I searched the internet for more about the Holy Souls and stumbled across this article at the Divine Mercy website and I want to share it with you: This is the Sound of a Lost Soul. I will never again hear a train whistle without thinking of this article and of all the despairing souls all over the world, so much in need of our prayers. Lord, have mercy.
Thanks for reading and may your Lenten season be one of deepening holiness, prayer, and interior life. God bless.
Taking a break from collecting some thoughts for writing, watching this wonderful talk by Dr. Brant Pitre: Jesus & the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist. This is a good video to watch during Lent, preparing for Passover. Will also be watching The Passion of the Christ with the study guide this time, a first for me.
Thank you for stopping by. Lent continues and I’m staying off of social media except for posting here at the blog and answering necessary emails. May this season of preparation bring you closer to our Lord. God bless you! Peace be with you.
PS: Hey, see that tabernacle? It’s empty during Dr. Pitre’s talk. Would that more parishes would take care to do this when holding non-liturgical events in the worship space, if no more suitable space is available, such as a parish hall.
I used to think of a desert as a flat sandy place with some dunes thrown in because when I thought desert, I thought Sahara. But I know now that a desert is not flat but uneven, always changing, hard to move through. There may be mountains, valleys, canyons that sneak up on you. There may be no rain. There may be rain so sudden and violent that riverbeds that seem dry from ancient times suddenly become raging torrents. Rocks may be sharp as razors. Snakes may be waiting to strike. Scorpions waiting to sting. A devil waiting to tempt.
A devil is always waiting to tempt. The devil himself was waiting for Christ; for someone as weak and insignificant as myself, there is probably only a minor demon. Maybe only a minor minor minor demon. Maybe I don’t even rate a demon of low estate but am left to my own weakness and weaknessses.
Easter will mark the beginning of my nineteenth year as a Catholic. There have been ups and downs. I have felt close to the Lord, I have felt, if not far away, then not as close. I have been faithful in my prayer life, I have let my prayer life slip, and that slipping has made itself known in every aspect of my life. I have felt strong, and I have been brought face to face with what weakness really means and with the realization that, indeed and contrary to what I had always secretly believed, I am a mere mortal, after all. (Okay, I know our souls are immortal. I just mean, I used to think I’d live forever. In this life. I was indestructible. I’d always be young, never sick, always strong, never weak. Ya know?)
So what do I plan to do for Lent? Nothing heroic, as you will see.
What will I do for Lent?
I plan to pray daily, using ONE of the numerous devotionals I’ve collected. And pray the rosary and the chaplet of Divine Mercy. All readers of and visitors to the blog and all Twitter contacts are included in my prayers. Even those whose names I do not know; the One Who needs to know knows who you all are already.
I’ve already cut down on the amount I eat, elimnated much I don’t need, and will be following the Church’s guidelines for fasting. But there are other appetites: the internet and social media. I won’t be interacting on social media during Lent (I will pass along prayer requests), though I plan to post at the blog, and those posts will be tweeted automatically.
And I will be choosing a charity or a cause and will set aside or donate money each week for that cause. I may choose a different cause or charity each week. That’s something to ponder on and pray about.
Looking up at the desert hills,
knowing danger lurks in this place,
listening for the Voice not easily heard,
feeding my soul upon His Word,
praying to meet Him face to Face,
bending my will to what He wills.
Ash Wednesday 2015