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Signature Statement

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My friend Christine does something unique on her Instagram account. The first thing you see on her profile, right under her name is this: 1 Corinthians 13. She calls it her signature statement.

When I asked her about it, she said she did it for three reasons:

  1. She wanted to choose a bible verse that would represent her. It’s her guiding principle, her north star, something that would always remind her how to live her life.
  2. She wanted it to be straight forward, yet cause the reader to have to do a bit of research to see what it means. What exactly is the Bible verse? Why this verse?
  3. She wanted to put her faith on display. Let everyone know this is how she lives her life.

I love the idea of a signature statement, something that would guide me every day. I’m now on the search for my own. Which, in all honesty, is leading me to read more of the Bible and study the various verses. And it’s causing me to look at my life and declare what I stand for and who I am. And it’s causing me to put my faith front and forward in my life.

And now I’ve just realized how clever Christine actually is. She’s brought me closer to God without even trying, just by adding a few words and numbers to her social media profile.

“Preach the Gospel at all times. Use words if necessary.”

Posted by Dan Herda with 1 Comments

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.

A Way of Living

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I am about to say something that will surprise, maybe even anger a few people. Ash Wednesday, one of the most attended Masses of the year, is NOT a Holy Day of Obligation. That’s right, you do not need to attend. It is not a sin to miss Ash Wednesday Mass. In my teenage years, I would have immediately shown this to my parents with excitement while planning what to do that night.

But don’t stop reading yet – Ash Wednesday has an extremely important lesson we all need to hear: In the gospel account for Ash Wednesday, Jesus said to his disciples: "Take care not to perform righteous deeds in order that people may see them; otherwise, you will have no recompense from your heavenly Father.” Jesus is saying, when you pray, when you fast, when you do acts of service, do not do it for others to see and praise you for being so devoted and generous.

When I read this, I think of all the NFL touchdown celebrations I saw this year. Some of the best players in the NFL acting like a rookie scoring their first touchdown. I am reminded of a quote from Vince Lombardi, “When you go into the end zone, act like you've been there before.” When we practice our faith, it should not be for others to see, it should be purely to praise and glorify God. Our faith is not a list of requirements to check off or things you need to know – it is a way of living.

This way of living involves having a God who loves each of us unconditionally and who cares about our decisions. We have a God who is less interested in what we know about Him than if we know Him intimately: that we have a personal relationship with Him. That is the message we hear on Ash Wednesday. Do not practice your faith because you get rewarded by others for it, do it because you Love God and desire a tangible relationship with Him. There is no better place to show your love and deepen your relationship with God then attending Mass.

Ash Wednesday Mass is a great opportunity  to start a Lenten season strong, a season when we recall the depths of God’s love for us, by worshiping our God, and falling more in love with Him. God Bless!

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