Monthly Archives: March 2016

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Good Friday

A blessed Good Friday to you – all of our relatives, friends, benefactors and brothers and sisters in Christ who find yourself on our website this day.

On this most Holy Day where we silence our hearts to enter into deepest prayer, where we fast to remind ourselves of the suffering of Our Lord, where we contemplate the Holy Mysteries of our faith I invite you to pray the stations with us.

From one Jubilee Year to another these stations by Pope St. John Paul II are moving, heartwarming, and call us out of ourselves to the service of others in love.  Come enter in to the mysteries of the Passion of Our Lord!

The Stations of the Cross by JPII (2000)

 

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Holy Thursday

But I tell you the truth, it is better for you that I go.  For if I do not go, the Advocate will not come to you.  But if I go, I will send him to you.” –John 16:7

Holy Thursday is Our Lord’s final preparation for His disciples.  In tonight’s Gospel John says, “He loved his own in the world and he loved them to the end” (John 13:1) He loves them to the end.  He loves them completely – absolutely.  Tonight we have the beautiful opportunity to enter into the love of God in a more solemn way.  The celebration of the Mass of the Lord’s Supper takes us to the upper room in Jerusalem.  We, too, experience this preparation the disciples had through the Mass – we participate in the washing of the feet, hear Jesus’ words to the apostles to strengthen and fortify their hearts, and take part in the Eucharistic feast.

Pope St. John Paul II said, “The washing of the feet and the Sacrament of the Eucharist…[are] two expressions of one and the same mystery of love entrusted to the disciples so that, Jesus says, ‘As I have done…so also you must do.”

May we enter into this mystery of love! May we allow our feet to be washed by the Servant of All so that we can be a servant to all.  May we allow Jesus’ words (John 13-17) to strengthen and fortify our hearts so that we may not waver during times of temptation and trial.  May we enter more deeply into the Eucharistic feast, abandoning all of our cares, worries, fears and anxieties by running to Him who is the source of Life. 

Tonight we are promised the gift of the Advocate – the one who led the Apostles into the streets, bold and fearless.  Today is not a celebration of the end, but rather a celebration of the beginning.  May our lives reflect this truth!

 

Come, Holy Spirit!

Written by: Alycia
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Grumble, Grumble

“Do all things without grumbling or questioning, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain. Even if I am to be poured as a libation upon the sacrificial offering of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all. Likewise you also should be glad and rejoice with me.”

Philippians 2:14-18

 

“Do all things without grumbling”. That isn’t so easy to do in everyday life, much less during Lent. There are so many things to grumble about! Money, or the lack of it. City traffic that is just out to keep you from getting where you need to be. The waiter at the restaurant getting your order wrong. The water in the shower being a little colder than we would like. Someone smacking their food at the breakfast table. Not being able to eat meat on Fridays… There are also many things to grumble about that are much bigger and more serious than all those. Losing a daughter in a car accident. A husband and father being hospitalized… again. School fundraising money being stolen. A mom battling cancer for the fifth time.

This past weekend we babysat five children under the age of 7. We were trying to pick out a movie to watch Saturday evening and we let them all vote on the film. They ended up choosing to watch Elf (yes, the Christmas movie). One of the girls, Avila, began to cry because she didn’t want to watch that movie. Marc, the three year old boy, also did not want to watch it, however he did not cry. He simply sat up with a huge smile on his face and declared “I.. am not ..cryin!”. A simple way to choose joy in the midst of a moment worthy of grumbling!

The problem is that when we face situations worthy of grumbling and questioning, we tend to look away from Jesus. When we look away from Jesus it is much easier to grumble. ‘Why this, why that? It’s not fair. How come? I don’t deserve this. I don’t want that’. This is a huge test of the Christian. Even now during Lent, if we forget the reason that we are making sacrifices and fasting, it becomes very difficult to carry on in our Lenten practices.

The questions that we must ask ourselves during the hard times of life are not “why”, but instead “how”. How can I be joyful? How can I grow in this? How can I offer this up? How can I unite my suffering to Christ? How can I be a witness to sacrificial love for the sake of those around me?

The key to this is for us to act in the fullness of our identity, “blameless and innocent, children of God, without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation.” We take hold of these difficult times and rejoice in suffering, offering up everything in joy and love so that “in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain.” Every suffering, from the slightest annoyance to the greatest heart ache, can lead to an eternal peace and end in everlasting  joy.

We won’t always understand suffering, and that is ok, because the purpose of suffering is not to help us grow in understanding, but rather to grow in love, service, prayer, and unity. Keep your eyes on the King and remember who you are, a prince (or princess) of the Kingdom. A Kingdom where suffering is no more. A Kingdom where smiles and hugs abound. A Kingdom of true peace and rest. A Kingdom of love and laughter, praise and glory. A Kingdom worth dying for.

 

Written by: Lindsey

 

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Let Us Persevere

“A brother spent nine years, tempted to leave the cenobium.  Every day he got his things ready to leave, and when evening came, he would say to himself: ‘Tomorrow, I go away.’  In the morning he again thought to himself: ‘Let us strive again to hold out today because of the Lord.’  And when he had spent the nine years in that way, God relieved him of that temptation.”

(The Noonday Devil, pg 22)

This short story blows my mind.  Nine years!  Every day he packed up!  Yet every morning he found the strength to persevere.  It’s beautiful, really.  This is what came to my mind:

“The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is thy faithfulness.”

 (Lamentations 3:22-23)

His mercies are new every morning.  Every morning God gives me the strength for today, the grace to say yes to His will that day.  Looking at life through this lens can be a lot less overwhelming.  At certain moments I may not feel like I have a whole lot left in me to give, but I have one more smile, one more sacrifice, one more act of love.  Great is His faithfulness!  And because He is faithful, I can be faithful too.

As we continue this Lenten season, perhaps your Lenten practices have become burdensome, and you are tempted to give them up. 

Do you have one more day to give because of the Lord?

 

Written by: Kristen
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God Is Love

It’s easy to see how today’s society has managed to push God out of many things we encounter on a daily basis, especially in the media.  Participating in the New Evangelization means re-introducing Jesus back into our culture in the smallest ways.  One thing that I’ve noticed, especially in my own life, is how we fail to realize that ‘Love’ isn’t simply something we do, but rather something that we are apart of – it is much bigger than us.  This understanding is why St. Francis is known as the Seraphic Father.  He was so consumed in the Love all around him that he burned with that love.  If we hope to bring Jesus anywhere, we must first recognize His presence all around us. But how?

Peter Kreeft, in his book, The God Who Loves You, wrote: “False definitions and false ideas about love have devastating consequences in life.  Broken homes, broken hearts, broken societies, broken treaties, our broken world – all result from broken definitions of love….” (pg. 49)  We must begin with the correct definition of “Love”.  God is Love (1 John 4:8) and this love isn’t just a warm and fuzzy feeling or a nice sentiment, it is ‘being’.  Out of the great vastness of His love, He created everything: the air we breathe, the simplicity in the eyes of children, that ray of sunshine that makes us smile (especially for those who live in western New York) and everything in between.  The more we begin to recognize Love in the smallest things, the more we can bring Love to others. Evangelization isn’t just telling people about Jesus, but bringing them into a relationship with Him.  For us, it doesn’t have to be a constant preaching of the Word in speech.  It could be recognizing Love in a beautiful spring day and sharing the joy of that recognition with others.  Joy breeds joy.   The beauty of the life of a Christian is being able to recognize Love in the simple things even on the most difficult day.  Seeing this Love reminds us of our hope and brings us back the joy that is ours.  Peter reminds us to “always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope” (1 Peter 3:15).  By doing this we bear witness to the infinite Love of God and that’s the love that will change the world.

 

Let us pray for the grace to see God’s love in the world around us and share the joy of that Love with others. 

 

(This image is not ours. You may find it here.)
Written by: Alycia
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