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It's Never Too Late

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What causes radical changes in our heart from day to day or week to week?  I can have days where I heavily invest in my relationship with God, and the next, push God aside and fail to spend personal time with Him in prayer.

A Jesuit at Marquette once told me that if Satan cannot tempt you into sin, he will keep you busy. Busy with work, busy with school, busy with extra-curricular activities. We run around all day until we collapse of exhaustion at night, only to repeat the next day.

That is the gift of Lent, to slow down and focus on what truly matters: God. Prayer, fasting and almsgiving are meant to help us focus on our love for Christ over everything else that could control our lives. I, like many others, get caught up in the busyness and my good intentions fall to the wayside.

Yet, I am drawn to the second criminal on the cross. His life is done, he does not believe he can be or should be forgiven, yet he decides to put his trust in Jesus. Jesus responds by saying: "Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise." It’s never too late. There is nothing you can do to lose God’s love. If you desire God’s love and ask for it, you will receive it.

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

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