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.”
There is a cost to driving a car. If we never go in for tune up, or if we fail to fix problems that arise, our car will ultimately fail us. Most things in life that are valuable to us “cost” us something. That made me think about my spiritual life: are there “costs” to a good spiritual life?
Lent is fast approaching and Catholics across the world will soon gather in solidarity on Ash Wednesday to embark on the 40+ day journey into the proverbial wilderness of self-denial. Denying ourselves something we enjoy during Lent is a simple and clear way to remember all that Christ has sacrificed on our behalf. Yet, Lent is often remembered as an “ordeal”. We fall into the trap of characterizing Lent as a miserable and grumpy time. Why?
St. John Bosco (Don Bosco) was an influential 19th century Italian priest who ministered to the poor and neglected boys of Turin, Italy, who were driven to a life of desperation and crime in the wake of the Industrial Revolution. Don Bosco became their mentor and spiritual director, inspiring them to a life of virtue and saving many from a future of poverty and incarceration.
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.
January is here again, and it’s time to make the annual New Year’s resolutions. Every Catholic should add to their list a few spiritual resolutions designed to help them walk higher up that mountain of faith. Let the freshness of a new year be your impetus to make new strides in your walk with God. There is no time but the present!
There is a reason why Christmas is called a season. It does not last for a single day. After Easter, it is the most important liturgical feast in the Church calendar. Why? Because Christmas is what made Easter possible. Without Our Lord’s incarnation and birth, our redemption would not have been brought to completion, and there would be no hope for us in our fallen state.
So first, we celebrate the octave of Christmas. This means that there are eight official solemn days of rejoicing. In the language of the Church, the word “solemn” does not mean what our common use of the word defines it as. It doesn’t mean being grim, serious, or morose.
According to a simple definition: “In the Catholic Church year, a solemnity is the highest ranking holy day possible in the Church calendar…” These are days that are emphasized by particular joy, lavishness, pomp, and glory.
If you still need to take care of those stragglers on your shopping list, or if you haven’t even started yet, here are some unique religious Christmas gift ideas to help take you to the finish line. And remember, Christmas isn’t just a day, it’s a season that BEGINS on December 25th. So, there is no shame in spreading out your gift-giving right up to Epiphany (the original 12 days of Christmas). After all, that’s the day when Baby Jesus received his gifts!