By guest blogger Tom Nee ’18
At a Catholic school it is typical to abstain from meat on Fridays and Ash Wednesday in accordance with tradition, and to a lot of people, this is not well received. Whether they are complaining out of anger because of religious particularism or just out of minor frustration, it is certainly a fair point. Why should everyone be a part of this? Well, the simple answer is that the school must practice its own Catholic values by abstaining from serving meat, but there is a lot more to it than this. We like to complain because we like to let it be known that we want the world our way. That is precisely mankind’s view of the world.
It is in our frustrations with roommates, in our political debates, in our stubbed toes, in our bad days, in our annoyances with Dunkin’ Donuts messing up our coffee, that the beauty and majesty of Lent reveals itself. Because the beautiful brutal truth is that this is not our world to keep. The same way the frigid air wakes us up in the morning in a poignant and painful way that reminds us we are not in control, the sacrifices we make during Lent humble us. We not only realize that God is in control, but also recognize that all the these petty little complaints turn back to dust.
The Lenten season is a time of all things remade. A time of realization of what is genuine and true to one’s character as a Christian. This is ignoring the arguments, the obsessions, the hobbies, the comforts, the interests all for the greater glory of God. It is by struggle and being tested that we become truly aware of the world we live in. It is written Jesus spent forty days in the desert “to be tempted.” Going out for so long in the wilderness may seem like an extreme example, but in reality, it expresses the temptations of everyday life. The same way Christ abandons his comforts, we use Lent to abandon what we cling to in order to cling to Him with a clear and aware sense of His world.
Man shall not live by bread alone.
By guest blogger Tom Nee ’18 At a Catholic school it is typical to abstain from meat on Fridays and... MORE
By guest blogger Nicole Rossi ’16
Adoration is a beautiful time to be with God in prayer. I love spending evening prayer in front of Him and sharing my day’s ups and downs with Him each night. Pope Francis even shares my favorite form of prayer. He has said, “What I really prefer is adoration in the evening, even when I get distracted and think of other things or even fall asleep praying. In the evening then, between seven and eight o’clock, I stay in front of the Blessed Sacrament for an hour in adoration.” During Lent, it is significant for me to open my heart and share my sins with God. It provides me a sense of nourishment and cleansing to confess to Him during Adoration time. Father Mike Schmitz shares our need as human beings “for intimacy with Christ” and that Adoration is an incredible time to be closest to Him.
Human beings share our love through our bodies and out of love for us God becomes one as well. Jesus then shares His own body with us because it is how much He loves us. We are His “The One” and to pray to Him during that time when He is sharing His whole self with you is the deepest form of prayer for me. I feel that I am most open and honest during prayer when I am kneeling in front of the Blessed Sacrament. It is a form of giving yourself to Jesus and He truly gives His whole self to you. That immense trust and sincerity during this time is sharing your true self with God and Him with you.
After prayer time, I always bring a journal to Adoration because I feel as though that is when God is truly speaking to me and when I write, I share what is going on in my heart. Journaling in front of the Blessed Sacrament is such a beautiful feeling because it is savoring that moment of intimacy with Christ. I am able to look back on my time with Jesus and hear what He has to say about my choices. During Lent especially, I make sure to give myself time to reflect and think of ways to change anything that is hindering my relationship with God. He gave His whole body to me and it is that deep connection that nothing on earth can replace.
By guest blogger Nicole Rossi ’16 Adoration is a beautiful time to be with God in prayer. I love spending... MORE
By guest blogger Danielle Sardone ’16
My hope for this Lent is to grow closer to God through reflection, prayer, and my relationships with others. In past years, I have chosen to give up a single food or a particular habit during the season of Lent. Although this type of fasting allowed me to feel connected to my faithfulness, I do not feel like this alone was enough to truly strengthen my relationship with God. Therefore, this Lent I am wholeheartedly striving to let the presence of God shine through all aspects of my life. Even through the busyness that the semester will bring, it is my goal to always put God above all things.
One way that I hope accomplish this is through morning prayer. I have decided to set aside enough time each morning to reflect, thank God, and begin each day with God. Sometimes, I might find it helpful to set a particular intention for my day. This could be an area that I am having difficulty with, or possibly something that has little to do with me at all. Either way, it is most important to me that I become more reflective about the types of prayers that I have with God. I want to thank God more, rather than always asking Him for things. I want to pray for others more, rather than remaining concentrated on myself. Most importantly, I want to seek God’s guidance at all times so that I am able to base all of my decisions and actions around His love.
Last year during Lent I encountered things that made it difficult for me to be fully open to God’s plan for me. However, I now realize how much I would have gained from being less set on what I pictured in my mind and more willing to trust in God’s plan for me. One quote that I continue to reflect upon states, “God sometimes takes us into troubled waters not to drown us but to cleanse us.” Therefore, I hope that I am able to trust in God’s plan for me even in the darkest of times. I know that some days it will be more difficult to feel God’s love than others, yet I must always be reminded of its presence.
This Lent, I hope to not only deepen my relationship with God, but to also act as a symbol of God’s love in the process. I hope to reflect this love through all of the relationships in my life, and to all people that I encounter each day during Lent. Ultimately, I hope that this Lent will enable me to reshape my life so that God is at the center and that all other things mold around His love.
By guest blogger Danielle Sardone ’16 My hope for this Lent is to grow closer to God through reflection, prayer,... MORE
By guest blogger Kendra Poulin ’17
Lent felt a lot like a failed New Years resolution growing up. I laid out a plan but was never able to follow through on it. Lent is a chance to grow in self-discipline but we must be careful with what exactly we mean by this. A new diet, exercise regimen, or study habit are all examples of self-discipline. But how does any of this relate back to God?
We must think of the word discipline in the same way we think of discipleship. The disciples dropped everything they were doing and followed Christ. They were disciplined in that they made space for God in their lives. Likewise, we must think of all the things we are trying to do differently this Lenten season and ask ourselves: is this really going to help me create space for God in my busy life?
I once heard in a sermon here at PC that you can learn a lot about a person by the obligations they choose to have rather than the obligations thrust upon them. Perhaps you have been in the situation where your attempts to go to Sunday mass were at conflict with other plans or obligations. You may have been asked by a friend, “Why can’t you skip just this once? You don’t have to go to Church every Sunday.” It’s true that no one is going to force you to go to mass nor will anyone hunt you down with pitch forks until you do. However, we should go to church every Sunday because we choose to make it an obligation in our lives. God wants us to choose Him out of our own free will, to love Him out of our own free will. You make time for the ones you love. How can you expect to grow in love for God if you cannot spare one hour out of the week for Him?
You may have heard the basic description of virtue as a good habit and vice as a bad one. Lent is a time to learn virtuous living, to pick up those good habits that help us grow in our faith. A few years ago for Lent, I told myself I would wake up early everyday so that I could go to the chapel for a few minutes before classes would start. It ended up amounting to only a couple times a week but I still stuck with it. Lent is no time to be a perfectionist. When it was all said and done, I kept doing this early morning routine for a couple days a week and I still do to this day. Even though I want to sleep in or go to bed, I choose to make praying for a few minutes in the chapel a daily obligation in my life.
I challenge each of you to find one practical way in which you can make space for God in your lives. Remember that God does not expect perfection from us. Christ’s disciples were not perfect and neither are we. God does not want us to put our chaotic lives into order first and then pray. On the contrary, He wants us to pray now at this very moment, especially when that moment is amidst all the disorder. You do not have to have a rehearsed speech going into it. You do not lose your prayer privileges after you have sinned. So come, be still, and know that your Lord has been waiting for you.
By guest blogger Kendra Poulin ’17 Lent felt a lot like a failed New Years resolution growing up. I laid... MORE
By guest blogger Robby Degre ’17
Lent is a season of Penance. Strictly speaking, Merriam-Webster defines penance as “a voluntary self punishment inflicted as an outward expression of repentance for doing something wrong.” However, to the Catholic it should take on a much more important role, especially during this liturgical season. From the very first day, the importance of penance is highlighted through the imposition of ashes. As the cross is drawn on one’s forehead, the priest says, “Remember that you are dust, and unto dust you will return,” which is more then just a grim saying. Instead, it highlights from the very beginning the importance of the season that we are entering. As we begin the season of repentance, we are reminded that our lives are finite, and therefore that the penance upon which we are about to embark is crucial to ensure our everlasting salvation.
When it comes to living penance during this season, there are a variety of examples that are put before us, most notably that of Jesus in the desert, where He faced the temptations of Satan. These temptations came, not in the form of extraordinary or outlandish lures, but instead through common every day desires. As Fr. Philip Neri highlighted in a recent homily, these common temptations are the ones that we face every day, and for many of us, Lent provides a time to fast from these things. Whether we chose to give up the dessert table in Ray, set up a bedtime to ensure we get enough sleep, or even face the grueling torment of trying to eat healthy, we strive to imitate Jesus in His trials. Through this imitation of Jesus, the Catholic is led through a spiritual battle toward maturity, which extends throughout the entirety of their life.
To aid in this life long battle, we as Catholics have also been given the Sacrament of Reconciliation which takes on a whole new meaning during this season. Also known as the Sacrament of Penance, this relies upon the individual willingly coming before God, in the person of the priest, and confessing their sins. Through this, not only do we acknowledge what we have done wrong, but we are forgiven through the ministry of the Church and then sent forth into the world to do penance. However, this penance is something unique from the self imposed penances that Lent encourages us to undertake. It is given to us by the priest, and is often something that is designed to focus on and combat whatever sins we have been struggling with. In this Lenten season, this Sacrament is of the utmost importance, since through it God takes away the sting of our failures and our mistakes.
Throughout this season of Lent, as Catholics we must be willing to make sacrifices, both small and big, so that we can truly allow penance to become part of our prayer lives. By willingly restricting ourselves during this Lenten season, as well as entrusting ourselves to the good will of the priest during Reconciliation, we can truly transform our lives, one step at a time.
By guest blogger Robby Degre ’17 Lent is a season of Penance. Strictly speaking, Merriam-Webster defines penance as “a voluntary... MORE