Lenten Journey with the Saints: April 4

April 4

“Here is my servant whom I uphold,
my chosen one with whom I am pleased,
Upon whom I have put my Spirit;
he shall bring forth justice to the nations,
Not crying out, not shouting,
not making his voice heard in the street.
A bruised reed he shall not break,
and a smoldering wick he shall not quench,
Until he establishes justice on the earth;
the coastlands will wait for his teaching.

Thus says God, the LORD,
who created the heavens and stretched them out,
who spreads out the earth with its crops,
Who gives breath to its people
and spirit to those who walk on it:
I, the LORD, have called you for the victory of justice,
I have grasped you by the hand;
I formed you, and set you
as a covenant of the people,
a light for the nations,
To open the eyes of the blind,
to bring out prisoners from confinement,
and from the dungeon, those who live in darkness.”

-Isiah 42: 1-7

 

Today’s Reflection

Blessed Holy Week to you and your loved ones!
The passage above is the first of today’s mass readings. Take time to ponder it. As you walk these first steps on the journey into the passion, death and resurrection of Our Lord, how will you enter into the intense silence where God speaks? In what ways will you seek to be more receptive to the grace and gift of our salvation?

Pray that Jesus will give you eyes that are opened, a heart that is unfettered from the confinement of sin, and a mind that is free from the darkness and distraction of the world and fully fixed upon Him.


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And a Sword Will Pierce Your Own Soul

“This child is destined for the falling and the rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be opposed so that the inner thoughts of many will be revealed—and a sword will pierce your own soul too.” -Luke 2:33-35

As we sojourn together through the final days of Lent, Holy Week, and the current Coronavirus pandemic, we recognize now more than ever that suffering and sorrow are part of the human condition. However, when they are united to the cross of Our Lord Jesus Christ, suffering and sorrow become part of the supernatural dimension. By virtue of our baptism, all of us are called to participate in the sufferings of Christ in ways that are uniquely our own. I think of this reality as I meditate upon Our Lady’s never-ending fiat.

Theologians tell us Mary’s assent at the Annunciation was also her assent to the tortures of Golgotha. She didn’t understand exactly how God would work it out, but she did understand the proposal at hand: she was to be the mother of the Messiah. Familiar with the teaching of the prophets, Mary also understood what this meant – He would be a suffering servant (Is. 53:3-12), and she, by virtue of her motherhood, would suffer with Him.

Her understanding was confirmed by Simeon when she and Joseph presented Jesus to the Father: “A sword will pierce your own heart,” she heard him say (Luke: 2:33-35). But could she imagine the sword? And how would she respond to it?

Luke gives us insight into Mary’s means of appropriating the sufferings of her Son’s life and, therefore, her life’s sufferings, too. He tells us that she pondered them in her heart. The mystic par excellence, her response was reflective and contemplative. It yielded an unquestioning surrender to the Father’s will each time that will was revealed to her. Thus, from the moment of the Annunciation, Mary actively conformed to the cross that would one day bear her Son.

Long before she stood at the foot of His cross on Calvary’s hill, she interiorly beheld its mystery and embraced it. Ultimately, she entered into it.

This movement of the interior was not unfamiliar to Mary. The Fathers of the Church remind us that Mary conceived Jesus in her heart before she conceived Him in her womb. Would we not then expect that she mystically bore the pain of His Passion and death before He lived it out in time?

Confronted with such a thing, what would a mother do, especially this mother?

Would she not imbue her Son’s sufferings with maternal beatitude? Would she not offer her suffering to the Father on His behalf? Not that she could lessen the pain or add to the eternal merit He was acquiring, but rather, to offer her presence as a consolation to the travail He would endure. Was not her every “yes” to the Father’s will laden with a sweet unction that would be released in her Son’s heart at the moment He needed it most?

Perhaps it was precisely this He experienced as she ministered to Him on His ascent to Golgotha. Beholding her, He beheld pure love. He recognized that Eternal Love from which all true love is generated. In her He saw embodied the self-donating love of the Trinitarian life.

Surely it was this He saw in her when they met on the way. Surely it was this He saw in her as she stood sentry beneath the tree upon which He hung. And surely it was this that breathed with Him as He breathed His last and commended Himself to the Father.

Ultimately, only heaven will give us the answers. But one thing is certain. Each of us, like Our Lady, is called to be present to the mystery. To behold it. To embrace it. To enter into it. To let it enter into us. This is the mission of Lent. It is the glory of Easter. It is the triumph of everlasting life. So be it. And so be you and me in the midst of all things including the Covid-19 pandemic.

Please know that in this difficult time, we stand with you soul-to-soul in a special way. You are invited to join us for a weekly live Women of Grace Warrior’s Rosary Crusade live each Wednesday at 4PM ET until this pandemic is behind us. With God’s grace, we will get through this together.

I faithfully remain…
Your sister in Christ,

Johnnette's Signature

 

 

 

 

 

Lenten Journey with the Saints: April 3

April 3

“Nothing great is ever achieved without much enduring.”

– St. Catherine of Siena

 

Today’s Reflection

Does the finish line of Lent seem far off in the distance? Let us hold each up in prayer. Endure!


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Lenten Journey with the Saints: April 2

April 2

“Have patience with all things, but first of all with yourself.”

St. Francis de Sales

 

Today’s Reflection

Have you fallen on the Lenten journey? Has your cross to heavy to carry? Today is a great day to be patient with yourself.


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Lenten Journey with the Saints: April 1

April 1
“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.”
-Pope Francis
Today’s Reflection
What has your Lent cost you thus far? Could you do more? As we enter into Holy Week, prayerfully consider Pope Francis’s reflection and ask Our Lord how you can make the best of the remainder of Lent.

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Lenten Journey with the Saints: March 31

March 31

“And He said to all: If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself,
and take up his cross daily, and follow Me”

– Luke 9:23

 

Today’s Reflection

What is your cross today? Take it up!

 


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Lenten Journey with the Saints: March 30

March 30
“Nothing, how little so ever it be, if it is suffered for God’s sake,
can pass without merit in the sight of God.”
-Thomas a Kempis
Today’s Reflection
We are not all called to do great things, but we can all do small things with great love. This is wisdom that is part of our heritage from St. Teresa of Calcutta. Today, when those small annoyances inevitably occur, remember that you can suffer them with love for God and perhaps your little cross can be of great merit for the redemption of mankind.

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Lenten Journey with the Saints: March 29

March 29
“Thus says the Lord GOD:
O my people, I will open your graves
and have you rise from them,
and bring you back to the land of Israel.
Then you shall know that I am the LORD,
when I open your graves and have you rise from them,
O my people!
I will put my spirit in you that you may live,
and I will settle you upon your land;
thus you shall know that I am the LORD.
I have promised, and I will do it, says the LORD.”
-Ezekial 37:12-14
Today’s Reflection
What are the dead areas in your life? As we prepare for the passion, death and resurrection of Our Lord, give Him EVERYTHING! Let HIM raise you up!!!

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Lenten Journey with the Saints: March 28

March 28

“Show me your hands. Do they have scars from giving? Show me your feet. Are they wounded in service? Show me your heart. Have you left a place for divine love?”

-Ven. Fulton Sheen

 

Today’s Reflection

These words of Fulton Sheen cut to the quick. How much do we really give for the Lord? Are we just scratching the surface of where He wants us to be? Take time to ponder how you can step deeper into charity and love, especially during this time of great uncertainty.


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Lenten Journey with the Saints: March 27

March 27

“It is better not to fast and be thereby humbled, than to fast and
to be self-satisfied therewith.”

-Pascal: Pensees (17th century)

 

Today’s Reflection

We must always be on the lookout for wrong intentions. They can creep into everything we do, even spiritual exercises. Take a moment today to renew your intentions for this Lent and remember to do so from time to time throughout this holy season.


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