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Focus on The Cross

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During the last days of Lent, it’s a common practice to veil all crosses and sacred images. You may have seen this done before with violet cloths in our church.

Why do we do this? If you think about it, the use of crosses and sacred images is central to our Catholic faith. Jesus, by taking on a physical nature in the Incarnation, and by redeeming that physical nature through His saving Death and Resurrection, has made all physical matter a possible means of encounter with Him. This is why we take wood, stone, metal, and other physical “stuff” and make beautiful crosses and images out of them.

But why cover them these last days of Lent if they’re so central to our faith? Because doing so helps us focus on what has made these crosses and sacred images possible in the first place: Jesus’ saving Death and Resurrection. We focus on The Cross, and less on individual crosses; we focus on The Risen Christ, and less on sacred images of Him. We fast with our physical eyes so we can train our spiritual eyes.

While veiling crosses and images is most often done in churches, you can also do it at home. You may find it a fruitful spiritual practice in these last days of Lent. It’s also an opportunity to get rid of those old purple bed sheets you have lying around!

What Time is Your Sunrise?

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On April 1, 2019, the sun rose in Milwaukee at 6:34 AM. At the end of April, the sun is projected to rise at 5:47 AM. This simple fact made me stop and reflect in awe.

Now I certainly know that the sunrise and sunset are constantly changing (we all learned that at a very young age), but I was surprised as to how much it changed— that’s a difference of 47 minutes in one month. That’s how fast the world is spinning and changing.  

What about you? How much have you changed from the beginning of Lent on March 6 until this very moment? Do you feel different? Do you have a deeper understanding of who you are? How have the past few weeks influenced your daily faith practices? Is your personal sunrise happening earlier in the day? Or are you still 47 minutes behind?

We are all giving the gift of 1440 minutes in a day. What we choose to do with these minutes is a personal decision. We still have time until we celebrate Easter. We still have time for prayer, fasting and almsgiving. We can still make a commitment to change.

Time waits for no one, but that doesn’t mean we can’t embrace it and use it to help shape us into the best person we can possibly be.

Posted by Dan Herda

Stewards of Words

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In a recent homily, Bishop Haines said something quite thought provoking. He said that we are stewards of words.

When I was a classroom teacher, I would often remind my students to mean what they say and say what they mean. I would give them many examples from Scripture where Jesus very clearly says what he means and means what he says. Jesus is rather pointed. He needed to be. He doesn't tell people what they want to hear but what they need to hear.

I learned very quickly as a teacher and as a parent that words matter. I have gotten into my fair share of tangles because I didn't use the right word at the right time.

Now that I am the instructional leader of a school, I am even more aware of how words matter. My words have never mattered so much before. To be a steward of words reminds me to follow my father's rule of "measure twice-cut once" all the more intentionally.

Wisdom is in silence and listening, more than it is in talking. Isn't that why God gave us two ears and one mouth? We need to take care of our words; how we talk and the tone we take. We need to mark ourselves as disciples with how we communicate and interact.

Are our words reflecting who we are as followers of Christ?
Words matter.
Pray for me. I will pray for you.

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