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Lenten Reflection – March 21, 2017

The Veneration of the Cross

The Veneration of the Cross

Day follows day, week follows week … Each one holding a bounty of blessings and graced hours. Each one likewise holds a measure of challenge, struggle and pain. As I face the dawn and promise of each new day, it is also important that I reflect upon the goodness of the God who offers it to me sanctified by His suffering and death.

This week I see placed before me the holy and life-giving Cross. It serves as a reminder that I was redeemed at a great price – a price that was endured because of unconditional love. In Matins I pray: “Your word upholds the universe, O Christ, and for me, You endured the buffeting, spitting and crucifixion; I praise the greatness of your love forever.” (Canon, Ode 8)

As I encounter each new day, recalling the love of Jesus can serve to build up my trust that all will be well. Perhaps everything will not fall into place according to my own plan, but trust in the goodness of the Lord enables me to let go of the need to control every facet of my life. I can then place the various events, questions, and problems into the hands of Jesus.

I know He loves me; I know all is his doing; I know I can look forward to the eternal life, which is promised to me through the death and Resurrection of Jesus.

Reflection Questions

  • Do I truly recognize and appreciate the graces and blessings that are mine each day?
  • As I look upon the Cross, am I mindful of the unconditional love that Jesus has for me?
  • Do I see the loving hand of Jesus in everyone and everything that is a part of my life?

By Sr. Ruth Plante, O.S.B.M. From Journey Through the Great Fast. Published by Office of Religious Education, Archeparchy of Pittsburgh. November 2001.

Lenten Reflection – March 14, 2017

961089f929c7f591c54e28cc132f20a3Each time we participate in Vespers or the Presanctified Liturgy, there is a point when a dramatic event takes place. After singing the stichera (or propers) of the day with Psalm 140, the clergy process around the altar and through the iconostasis, similar to the entrance with the Gospel during the Divine Liturgy. After proclaiming “Wisdom! Be attentive!” the people sing the Hymn of the Evening – “O Joyful Light!” – and the altar, the people and the entire church are incensed.

This lighting of the lamps is in sharp contrast to the darkening of the world around us as the sun drops below the horizon and evening comes. Even though the visible sun is slowly waning, we welcome Christ into the world to keep the spiritual light shining in our lives.

We received the light at our baptism and it has grown within us as we discovered the faith. We all have the responsibility to share that light with the world and to make Christ present in the world. The light of Christ that we all carry is manifest or realized by the way we live our life each day. The kindness we share with others around us, those we meet on the street or in the shopping mall, or even those with whom we might contact through e-mail, is the true light of Christ spreading throughout the world. Our behavior demonstrates the fact that we are Christians and that we follow the teachings of our Lord and Savior.

Let us all be more diligent in our daily life to let the light of Christ shine through us into the world just as the the lights shine more brightly in church when we sing “O Joyful Light!”

Reflection Questions

  • How do we let the light of Christ shine in us to others with whom we interact every day?
  • Have we learned to be true Christians and live according to his commandments and teachings?
  • Do we live the Gospel of Jesus Christ each day, or only on Sundays when we come to church?

From Journey Through the Great Fast. Published by Office of Religious Education, Archeparchy of Pittsburgh. November 2001.

Lenten Reflection – March 7, 2017

Meditation 

bbea5710372e25a08a720b1fd0f7299dEvery year during the season of the Great Fast we pause to reflect on where we are in our life’s journey and where we want to be. Over and over, all the prayers and readings remind us to abstain from evil, close the door to sin, go beyond earthly passions and become more Christlike. One of the greatest evils which we are continually warned against in the penitential prayer of St. Ephrem, is the sin of idle talk.

What is idle talk? It is the wickedness of words devoid of meaning and purpose. The gospels say “men will render account for every careless word they utter.” (Matthew 12:36)

The ability to think and speak – to express ourselves – is one of God’s greatest gifts to us. It is what sets us apart from plants and animals. It is what shows us to be made in the image and likeness of God. God calls Himself “the Word”, saying in the Gospel “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God”. (John 1:1)

With words we can give thanks, create goodness, beauty and wisdom. But these same words can curse, gossip, lie and condemn. The same tongue that sings praises to God can also criticize and blaspheme.

Reflection Questions

  • Have I thought or said angry words or foul words?
  • Have I spread rumors or gossiped in thought or word?
  • Have I ridiculed people in thought, word or action? Have I mocked others in a harmful way? Have I insulted anyone?

From Journey Through the Great Fast. Published by Office of Religious Education, Archeparchy of Pittsburgh. November 2001.