How is our Lenten Fast Going?

World War II bomb

Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laboreres, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. This is not a way of life at all in any true sense. Under the clouds of war, it is humanity hanging on a cross of iron.

– Dwight D. Eisenhower

The words above are of one who truly knew war and the effect of it. Last week we were challenged by Isaiah that our fast should be to feed the hungry and give warmth to those who are cold. Do Eisenhower’s words challenge us to fast from making war? If so, what does that mean to us personally and as Church? Where are my priorities?

Climb up to the Roof and Enjoy the Sunset

When before the beauty of a sunset or a mountain, you pause and exclaim, “Ah,”
you are participating in divinity.
– Joseph Campbell

San Francisco Sunset

When you see a beautiful sunset on the way (especially in winter) it’s good to go up on the roof to admire God’s handiwork.
Then say “thank you”.

Knock and the Door Shall Be Opened

Knock and the door shall be opened

Thursday’s Gospel reading from Matthew 7 reads:

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Ask and it will be given to you;
seek and you will find;
knock and the door will be opened to you.
For everyone who asks, receives;
and the one who seeks, finds;

and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.

It is good to hear this in Lent.

Perhaps the door we hope will be opened is the ability
to be steadfast in our Lenten practice.
Perhaps the door we need
opened is that of our own heart . . .
that we might be less judgmental.
Or maybe we need a door opened of our understanding of the Scriptures.

And just as God was faithful to Queen Esther (from the today’s first reading from the Book of Esther), we know that God will be faithful to us. And we will say, as our Psalm’s antiphon:

Lord, on the day I called for help, you answered me.

Create in Me a Clean Heart

Wednesday’s Lenten responsorial psalm is Psalm 51

A clan heart create for me, O God,
and a steadfast spirit renew within me. 

Create in me a clean heart, O God.

Some Days You Just Have to Leave It to God!

I couldn’t get to writing a post last night or this morning.
But a friend posted the following on my Facebook page.
I’m goin’ with it!

Good morning, this is God.
I will be handling all your problems today.
I will not need your help.
So relax.
And have a great day! 

Teach Me Your Paths

Today’s Responsorial Psalm is Psalm 25

Your ways, O Lord, are love and truth to those who keep your covenant.

Your ways, O LORD, make known to me; teach me your paths,
Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my savior.

Remember that your compassion, O LORD, and your love are from of old.
In your kindness remember me, because of your goodness, O LORD

Good and upright is the LORD, thus he shows sinners the way.
He guides the humble to justice, and he teaches the humble his way.

Your ways, O Lord, are love and truth to those who keep your covenant.

O Lord, make known to me your paths.

To You, O Lord, I Lift Up My Soul

Teach me Your way, O Lord, that I may walk in your truth.

A Lenten reflection from today’s responsorial Psalm 86

Have mercy on me, O Lord,
for to you I call all the day.
Gladden the soul of your servant,
for to you, O Lord, I lift up my soul.

There is a Time for Feasting and a Time for Fasting

In today’s Gospel from Matthew 9:14-15 we read:

The disciples of John approached Jesus and said,
“Why do we and the Pharisees fast much,
but your disciples do not fast?”
Jesus answered them, “Can the wedding guests mourn
as long as the bridegroom is with them?
The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them,
and then they will fast.”

I am reminded that once when St. Teresa of Avila and her sisters were criticized for enjoying a fine meal of partridge, her reply was, “There is a time for penance and a time for partridge.” Holy Spirit grant us the wisdom to know the difference – and the grace to recognize that these seasons come to others at different times than they may to us.

There is a time for feasting and a time for fasting

Take Up Your Cross and Follow Me

The altar where Archbishop Oscar Romero was martyred

In Today’s Gospel reading, Luke 9:22-25, we read: Jesus said to his disciples: “The Son of Man must suffer greatly and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed and on the third day be raised.
     Then he said to all, “If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. What profit is there for one to gain the whole world yet lose or forfeit himself?”

Mold Our Hearts on Ash Wednesday, during Lent, and throughout our Lives

Today, on Ash Wednesday, I share a reflection by our Sister Sally Lowell, OP

Rend your hearts, not your garments, and return to your God. For gracious and merciful is God, slow to anger, rich in kindness, and relenting in punishment.
– Joel 2:13

Several years ago I was invited to make some clay hearts for a friend who was giving a Lenten Parish Retreat. Since she requested 500 hearts, I began the project right away. As I rolled, molded, shaped and held the clay in my hands a new image of Lent began to emerge. “Rend your hearts, not your garments and return to God.”

Yes, Lent is about giving up, letting go, prayer and alms-giving. Yet, for me, it is a time of invitation: an invitation to be open and receive what God has in store. In other words, Lent is a time of surrender and letting go so that Jesus can mold our hearts anew. The journey of Lent is an inner journey of prayer which enables us to offer our whole being to God: our joys and fears, accomplishments and struggles, successes and conflicts. This recognition of our gifts and limitations is difficult and scary, because when we cooperate with God’s desire for us, our hearts, like the clay I rolled, shaped, and molded will be transformed.

Jesus asks each of us for a change of heart this Lent. Will we let Jesus create in us new hearts that acknowledge our gifts so that we can use them to do God’s work? Will we let Jesus break any conflict, fear, or hardness within our hearts? Will we let Jesus change our hearts with his healing, forgiveness, and grace?

If we can make these changes and surrender to his invitation, the true freedom of Easter will emerge. Perhaps our Lenten mantra might be:Yes, mold our hearts today.

Hearts by Sally Lowell, OP

“When We cooperate with God’s desire for us, our hearts, like the clay I rolled, shaped, and molded, will be transformed.”

This reflection, and others throughout the season of Lent, can be found on the website of the Dominican Preachers for the Western Region – http://www.opwest.us/. You are invited to visit. May these reflections assist you in your prayer during Lent.