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.
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.
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.
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.
In 1597, Paul Miki and his twenty-six companions were crucified for their Christian faith in Nagasaki, Japan. A Japanese layman, Saint Paul Miki was born into a Japanese noble family and heir to a great inheritance and position in Japanese society. He was was converted to Christianity by Saint Francis Xavier.
Connected to Simeon’s prophecy, on this day the Church has a special ritual involving a procession and the blessing of candles, the candles being a symbol of Christ whose birth illumined the world’s darkness. Since ancient times the Doctors of the Church have given special meaning to the candles used in Candlemas as a symbol of the Incarnate Christ: the beeswax is a symbol of His pure body, the wick His soul, and the flame His divinity.
Her catacombs, known since the earliest days of Christianity as the “Catacombs of Priscilla” are also referred to as the “Queen of the Catacombs” because such a large number of martyrs and popes were buried there. They extend for eight miles under the city of Rome and contain a significant collection of early Christian iconography.
To celebrate Epiphany, the manifestation of Jesus as the Son of God and the Light of the World, there exists an ancient custom of the faithful having their homes and buildings blessed with Epiphany water, and the entryways chalked with a ‘holy formula’: The current New Year along with the initials C, M, B, which are the initials of the Magi as well as the initials of the invocation Christus Mansionem Benedicat (Christ bless this house). This marks their homes and buildings, and all that belongs to them, under the dominion of the newborn Christ the King.
I’m human. As a human, I’m imperfect. My intentions are not always motivated by good. Like all of us, I suffer from concupiscence. This inclination to sin is one of the reasons we need Our Lord’s mercy. As it turns out, it is one of the reasons we need the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass as well. It’s why we need it on a regular basis, in fact. Our Lord knows this. He knows all things. We may only understand a small fraction of the unfathomable treasure that is the gift of the Mass.
God created humans to be sinless corporeal beings, filled with his own divine life and in intimate communal relationship with Himself. When Adam and Eve marred this communion through disobedience, thereby plunging humanity into spiritual death and giving them a sinful nature to inherit in perpetuity, there was nothing that humans could ever do to restore this back to the way it was. When Adam and Eve fell from grace, only God could intervene to “undo” or “fix” our corrupted nature. And the way he did this was quite extravagant, even more extravagant than what was first done in the Garden of Eden!