Always a work in progress…
“Lent” is not something – I gave away, awaiting its return.
For Catholics, Lent IS something
Given TO me, at ‘no cost to me’, for keeps.
It is pure Gift!
Now, how am I – taking Care of that Gift?
How have I – Given Thanks?
And, how much am I ENJOYING it?
An Oasis in the Desert
So just what was this “Gift” that was ‘given to me’??
Let’s find out…
Lent – A 40-Day Reflection on Our Life Journey with Jesus
Lent is a period of reflection on our lives and the life of Jesus Christ,
prior to our celebration of His Resurrection from death on Easter Sunday.
. . . .
Let’s start with When and How?
This period or “Season” of Lent begins with Ash Wednesday which always occurs 40-days prior to Easter (not including Sundays).
.Easter itself, is never ON a set date..
Rather, based on the best determination of the actual occurrence of Jesus’ resurrection, Easter’s date is calculated on an astronomical calendar, as: “the first Sunday, following the first full moon, following the northern hemisphere’s vernal equinox (first day of spring).” And that must fall within a range of time between March 20 to April 25. (The actual calculation is a bit more complicated than that, and there are several websites that can help you calculate past and future Easter dates).
The first day of Spring in 2018 is March 20. The first full moon to follow, in the year 2018, occurs on March 31. Thus, this year’s Easter is on the 1st of April, and Ash Wednesday is on the 14th of February (40 days prior, not including Sundays).
The dating of Easter also has an impact on the dates of the Ascension of Jesus and Pentecost Sunday which occur 40 and 50 days after Easter, respectively.
. . .
.“So, that’s the logistics.
But what IS ‘IT’, exactly, that I was given?”
You were given LIFE!
“But, what do you mean, Life? My mom and my dad gave me life!”
Ahhh, but that was just a part of it.
Without God, you would have NO life!
You see, the life that God had given his first creations, was defiled by their selfish actions and their weakness to resist temptation. By their loss of trust in God, they lost the Bond between all of humankind and their Creator, God. They lost Eternal Life with God for themselves and for everyone after them.
“So, what do I have to be so Thankful for, then?”
You see, God did not plan for that separation to be forever. He wanted to give us back the Life we originally had. But the only way He could reconcile us with Himself was through a man. And mankind was too weak to do this by him-or-herself.
So God became that man (the Incarnation) in order that we could have an avenue back to that Union with Him.
And that divine, man was named, Jesus.
And Jesus GAVE us back our LIFE. It was Not lent to us!
It was Freely Given to us, by the ultimate price of Jesus’ own life.
ALL we have to do is TAKE it.
You see by our Baptism, we ARE reunited with God through Jesus and the Holy Spirit. We truly have Life in union with God.
THAT is what we have to be so Thankful for!
And no matter what happens to these bodies of ours, no matter who cuts us off, insults us, fires us, laughs at us or burns us at the stake, we Have the Life of God forever!!!
“Wow! So now what do I do?”
Unfortunately, sometimes we too forget. We make “oops,” that neither God nor Jesus would be very proud of, coming from His Sons and Daughters. If you’re a parent – you know exactly the feeling, when our kids slip up. But, we also know that we can’t do it for them. Nor can we fix their oopses’. And neither can God fix ours. All we, and all God can do, is Forgive.
That’s why we have LENT!
Jesus taught us everything we need to know to maintain our Union with God.
And that can be described simply with one word, LOVE!
All we need to do now, is think about our lives.
Where was the LOVE missing?
Where can I ask the forgiveness of my brothers and sisters for my missing the LOVE?
Who can I forgive for their forgetting the LOVE in our relationship?
let’s reflect on the GIFT(s) of and in our lives and
how we can THANK God and Jesus by recognizing them.
And then, let’s repair, enhance and reflect
to everyone we meet and know!
– – – – – – – – – – – – –
And let’s have some FUN with it!
You see, Lent doesn’t have to be a solemn,
somber and depressing time.
So, SMILE, and let’s ENJOY Lent!!!
– – – – – – – – – – –
The liturgy of Lent brings us closer to knowing Jesus, the Holy Spirit and God the Father through the Scriptures. Below is a listing of the Gospel readings through Lent. This will be our starting point for reflection.
. . . .
Lenten Liturgical Scriptures
(Scripture links updated for current cycle year)
Palm Sunday – Jesus’ Passion (Link to Year B Homily), (Link to Year C Homily)
There’s always a cost if it’s REALLY good! And sometimes the better the GOOD, the higher the cost. We, you and I, have done absolutely NOTHING to deserve the awesome GOOD, God offers us. And the price, the cost, has been paid by God Himself through Jesus’ suffering and death. That OFFERING from God we call Grace – “unmerited favor”.
And the GOOD is nothing less than Eternal Life!
Come, this Holy Week. Join in with your Church’s Masses and Services, as we commemorate Jesus’ Last Supper with His disciples (on Thursday), Jesus’ Passion and Death on Good Friday, a time of reflection and meditation on Holy Saturday and the MOST BLESSED of Masses – the EASTER VIGIL, Saturday evening. If you have never been to an Easter Vigil – You are truly missing a part of the Catholic Church you couldn’t possibly imagine ever existed – IT IS QUITE AWESOME!!! Hope to see you there…
The Passion Flower – Symbolism
The passion flower has historically been a powerful religious symbol. The name, “passion flower,” interestingly, does not derive its name from the word “passion,” meaning love, but from the Passion of Christ on the cross. The Passion in Christian tradition refers to the period of time between the Last Supper and Christ’s death.
When Christian missionaries first landed in Spain in the 16th century, they discovered the flower and found it to be a good omen. The flower’s unique structure lent itself to abundant religious interpretation. The 72 radial filaments or corona in the center came to symbolize the Crown of Thorns.
The 10 petals and stamens represented the 10 faithful apostles—excluding Peter because he denied knowing Christ during the Passion, and Judas because he betrayed the Christ into the hands of the Romans.
The lower five anthers of the passion flower symbolized the five wounds of Christ on the cross. Even today, Catholics of South and Central America call the passion flower the “flower of the five wounds.” Some associate the central corona with the halo around Christ’s head.
The three spreading styles or stigma symbolize the three nails on the Cross. The tendrils resemble the whips that the Roman soldiers used to scourge Christ, and the lobed leaves the soldiers’ hands clutching at Jesus. The dark spots under the leaves represent the 33 pieces of silver that the Romans paid Judas for betraying Christ.
When the passion flower has bloomed and spent its energy in a day (the time that Jesus suffered on the cross), the petals do not fall off but close around the ovary. To Catholics, this represents the hidden mysteries of the cross and the entombment of Christ after his crucifixion.
Extending the analogy even further, the passiflora’s round fruit symbolize the world that Christ came to save and its red stains the blood of Christ shed with the crucifixion.
On Holy Saturday the Church awaits, at the Lord’s tomb, the coming of Easter. The Church is stripped of ornamentation and no Masses are celebrated. It is a time of meditation on the suffering and death of Jesus.
It is a time of completion of our Lenten fasting.
Easter Food Blessing
The tradition of Food Blessings date back to the Middle Ages when it was forbidden to eat meat and milk products, including eggs. In anticipation of the Easter feast which brought the rigorous fast to an end, the people showed their gratitude and joy by first bringing their food to the Church for a blessing. Thus began the tradition of the Holy Saturday Food Blessing. This tradition was very popular in the Slavic countries where the Polish people celebrated Swieconka with specially made “Easter Baskets.”
Yet beyond and within the detail of the contents of the Easter basket, there are many other symbols of our faith in God’s Creation of Springtime and new Life. For example there are: Easter eggs, Easter bunnies, Easter pigs, Easter bread, Easter lamb, Easter egg games and Easter pastry, to name just a few. Click on the picture below for more info and some great recipes. . .
Easter – Jesus’ Resurrection
The 40 days – The Ascension of the Lord: Jesus ascends back to God His Father in Heaven – as our perfect intercessor to God.
The 50 days – Pentecost: The Promise fulfilled – The Holy Spirit’s descent upon the Disciples and Mary.
To be continued . . .