Stations of the Cross

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The  Catholic Church has so many rich symbols that deepen our prayer life such as a the crucifix, the crown of thorns, and the color purple, which call us to conversion and reconciliation during the liturgical season of Lent.

One of the forms of prayer common during Lent is the Stations of the Cross. The object of the Stations is to help Christians make a pilgrimage through the contemplation of the Passion of Christ. It was in the 15th and 16th centuries that the Franciscans were granted permission by the Holy Father to erect Stations in their churches. Pilgrimages to the Holy Land deepen that practice. Walking and praying on the holy ground where our Lord walked, helps the pilgrim to draw very close to our Lord, and his passion, suffering, and death. 

Praying with one another and for one another also lifts us up, helps us to carry our personal crosses, and unites us all the more with the faithful who are also carrying burdens in life. Do you have a favorite station? I am often drawn to the 5th Station--Simon of Cyrene helps Jesus to carry the heavy cross. I am reminded of the people in my life who bless me with their prayers, friendship, and love.

Think about each Station. Which one speaks most personally to you? The Stations remind us of the great love Christ had for us to willingly suffer and die for each of us.

Fasting and Prayer

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When reading Scripture, we often hear about how people are fasting. Fasting is usually combined with prayer. Jesus even fasted for 40 days in the desert. It was in those 40 days that Jesus was discerning his plan for changing the world. It was in those 40 days that the devil tempted him. It is in the 40 days of Lent that we strive to be like Jesus and shut down temptation and depend on the providence of God. 

When we fast, we should be drawn to prayer. For myself, fasting pushes me to think about those less fortunate. I think about how easy it would be for me to break the fast, but it isn't easy for them. I start to offer up this tiny sacrifice in solidarity with those who truly suffer. My suffering will pass while their suffering won't or can't. My suffering in experiencing temporary hunger is minuscule to the suffering Christ did for me. It humbles me.

That is what Lent reminds us to be - humble. In prayer and supplication, we find Jesus.

Posted by Jill Fischer

Rough Road Ahead

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Every morning as I drive to work, I make a left turn on to Center Street. I travel about fifty feet and then I see a big orange sign on the side of the road: Rough Road Ahead. Center Street is in bad shape, with lots of bumps and flaws in the asphalt. Drivers take the sign very seriously, and they are prepared to swerve or dodge the various obstacles. The sign doesn’t make the road easier to drive. But what it does it help prepare the cars for the journey ahead.

I think I need a big orange sign for Lent 2019: Rough Road Ahead. I always feel like I start strong. Ash Wednesday is filled with big plans and strategies for the best Lent ever. But then I hit a pothole or a bump in the road. Soon I’m driving on the wrong side of the street, and often times I’m taking a completely different route than I intended.

But my sign will help prepare me. I know that I will have good days and rough days over the next 40. I know that I will not accomplish everything that I set out to do. And that’s okay. I’m ready to swerve a bit, ready to slow down and adjust my speed. This Lent, I’ll lay out my course, but I’ll be ready to take a quick side street. I’ll set my Cruise Control, but I’ll be prepared to put my foot on the brake and slow things down. Ultimately, my sign will help me relax a bit and help me to be prepared for the ride. It will help relax and guide me to my destination without frustration.

I’m ready for my journey, rough roads and all.

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