Jesus taught us clearly that there is no resurrection without the Cross, and Lent is the Church’s great spiritual journey as she, the Bride of Christ, joins her Divine spouse in His great suffering on our behalf. Basically, you don’t get the joy of Easter without the self-sacrifice of Lent; the disciples of Jesus follow in his footsteps . . . including the bloody ones. Here’s a rundown of everything major you need to know about the Lenten season, the 40+ days of penance to prepare our hearts Easter, the greatest of all Christian feasts.
Prayer is not easy, and neither is coming to understand when and how God may be answering our prayers. Here are my two big pieces advice for learning how to listen to God’s answer to our prayers.
Because it is a penitential season of self-denial, many people view Lent as a time of forced depression. So, it is good to be reminded that, “While Lent is a solemn season, it is not a somber one. The forty days are not structured to foster morbid gloominess and debilitating self-loathing; they are meant to thrust us into the heart of divine love.”
After the final apparition on October 13, 1917, in which tens of thousands of people witnessed the Miracle of the Sun, the three children attempted, as much as was possible, to return to their regular way of life. Which, of course, would never be normal again. They were forever changed, and left off their childish games and diversions in order to pray and meditate on all the mysteries that had been revealed to them.
“Put faith into practice by thinking on these four truths: God is always present. Nothing happens without His permission or outside of His will. Anything we do to others we do to Him. All kindness and goodness are in Him.” -St. Bernadette Soubirous of Lourdes
February 14th is the traditional day of celebration for lovers. It’s the proper occasion for writing love letters and sending tokens of love to those who have captured your heart. This custom began in Europe during the High Middle Ages, the pinnacle of the age of courtly love, and is captured in immemorial English literature as the mid-Feburary day when birds (and lovers) first begin to pair.
St. Catherine de Ricci (1522-1590) was a Dominican nun born in Florence, Italy. She was a great mystic with an intense devotion to the sufferings of Jesus. For many years Catherine would go into ecstasy from noon every Thursday through 4 p.m. on Friday, experiencing in a mystical manner the sufferings of Christ during his Passion. She was also given the spiritual gift of the stigmata; Christ’s wounds would appear on her body throughout the course of the ecstasy.
February 11 is the feast day of Our Lady of Lourdes, one of the most famous apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary. On this day in 1858 a young, poor girl named Bernadette Soubirous was out collecting firewood with her sister and another friend near a grotto when she saw a vision of a lovely lady.
These stories are a testament to the fact that sacramentals (statues, crucifixes, icons, and other material objects representing our Catholic faith) are truly “sacred signs instituted by the Church to prepare us to receive the fruit of the sacraments and to sanctify different circumstances of our lives” (CCC 1677). They are spiritually powerful, especially when blessed by a Catholic priest.
An archaeological dig in Rome recently uncovered the earliest-known icons of the Apostles Peter, Paul, Andrew, and John. Yes, the early Church venerated the saints! Read the story.