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On keeping a good Lent: 10 Helpful Reading & Resource Links:

On keeping a good Lent: 10 Helpful Reading & Resource Links:

“God does not ask of us anything that he himself has not first given us.” – Pope Francis

1. Read Pope Francis’ Message for Lent 2015. (The quote above comes from it.)

2. Sign up for Fr Robert Barron’s daily Lenten Reflections.

3. Book Review by Barb Szyszkiewicz: 40 Days, 40 Ways, A New Look at Lent by Marcellino D’Ambrosio –one of my favorite writers!

4. Amazing Catechists offers 6 Ways to Pray Your Way Through Lent by Karee Santos. Also some great suggestions on Getting ready for Lent by William O’Leary.

5. Enter Lent, Insert Apps: three Lenten apps to consider by Sarah Reinhard. We technology users need all the help we can get!

6. Read Henri Nouwen’s The Return of the Prodigal Son (one of my all time favorite books) and join an online book club here.

7. Live The Fast – on doing bread and water fasts. Plus you can order bread! (Bonus: Catholic Cuisine has a recipe for fasting bread. Plus other cool recipes for the season.)

8. The Restore Workshop — This “at home” retreat is led in part by Elizabeth Foss. This promises to be rewarding, especially for Moms suffering from burnout. But even if you are not, sign up and make a retreat at home and nurture joy in your life.

9. Browse the USCCB website’s Lenten offerings, including the daily printable calendar. The theme this year is “Raise up, sacrifice, and offer.” From the website: “This Lent, you are encouraged to raise up the needs of the world in prayer, to sacrifice, by giving up food and material wants, and to offer your time, talent and treasure as good stewards of the gifts God has given you.” Lots more here.

10. Finally, if you live in the Archdiocese of Boston, The Light is On For You means that EVERY church is open every Wednesday night during Lent from 6:30-8pm for Confession. Find out more here. If you’ve been away from the sacraments, please read and listen to the advice on this page.  (Other dioceses are participating, so check out confession times in your area.)

 

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Photo credit: Your truly shot this at the Mission in Carmel, CA. Junipero Serra will be canonized by Pope Francis soon. I think this quote is appropriate for Lent.

Pope Quotes: My Favorites from World Youth Day Homilies

Pope Quotes: My Favorites from World Youth Day Homilies

With the hoopla that the mainstream media is making, and the Catholic blogosphere, in the last two days about the post-Rio press conference Pope Francis held aboard his flight home, you might have missed that there were a whole bunch of great quotes that the Pope gave to the world — catechetically speaking — and to the world’s youth. Here are a few highlights from me from three homilies he gave along the way.

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From the Homily from the Mass at Our Lady of Aparecida

When the Church looks for Jesus, she always knocks at his Mother’s door and asks: “Show us Jesus”. It is from Mary that the Church learns true discipleship. That is why the Church always goes out on mission in the footsteps of Mary.

I would like to speak of three simple attitudes: hopefulness, openness to being surprised by God, and living in joy.

[On Hopefulness:]  I would like to say forcefully: Always know in your heart that God is by your side; he never abandons you! Let us never lose hope! Let us never allow it to die in our hearts! [E]vil, is present in our history, but it does not have the upper hand. The one with the upper hand is God, and God is our hope!

[On being open to being surprised by God:] Anyone who is a man or a woman of hope – the great hope which faith gives us – knows that even in the midst of difficulties God acts and he surprises us. The history of this Shrine is a good example: three fishermen, after a day of catching no fish, found something unexpected in the waters of the Parnaíba River: an image of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception. Whoever would have thought that the site of a fruitless fishing expedition would become the place where all Brazilians can feel that they are children of one Mother? God always surprises us, like the new wine in the Gospel we have just heard. God always saves the best for us. But he asks us to let ourselves be surprised by his love, to accept his surprises. Let us trust God! Cut off from him, the wine of joy, the wine of hope, runs out. If we draw near to him, if we stay with him, what seems to be cold water, difficulty, sin, is changed into the new wine of friendship with him.

[On living in joy:  [W]e cannot fail to be witnesses of this joy. Christians are joyful, they are never gloomy. God is at our side. We have a Mother who always intercedes for the life of her children, for us, as Queen Esther did in the first reading (cf Est 5:3). Jesus has shown us that the face of God is that of a loving Father. Sin and death have been defeated. Christians cannot be pessimists! They do not look like someone in constant mourning. If we are truly in love with Christ and if we sense how much he loves us, our heart will “light up” with a joy that spreads to everyone around us.

BTW, here’s a cool website showing interactive views of the Basilica of Our Lady of Aparecida in Brazil.

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From the Homily at Eucharistic prayer vigil:

…in silence, let us all look into our hearts and each one of us tell Jesus that we want to receive the seed of his Word.  Say to him: Jesus, look upon the stones, the thorns, and the weeds that I have, but look also upon this small piece of ground that I offer to you so that the seed may enter my heart.  In silence, let us allow the seed of Jesus to enter our hearts.  Remember this moment.  Everyone knows the seed that has been received.  Allow it to grow, and God will nurture it.

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From the Homily from the closing Mass at WYD:

“Go and make disciples of all nations”. With these words, Jesus is speaking to each one of us, saying: “It was wonderful to take part in World Youth Day, to live the faith together with young people from the four corners of the earth, but now you must go, now you must pass on this experience to others.” Jesus is calling you to be a disciple with a mission! Today, in the light of the word of God that we have heard, what is the Lord saying to us? Three simple ideas: Go, do not be afraid, and serve.

[On “Go”:]  Jesus first came into our midst and gave us, not a part of himself, but the whole of himself, he gave his life in order to save us and to show us the love and mercy of God. Jesus does not treat us as slaves, but as free men, as friends, as brothers and sisters; and he not only sends us, he accompanies us, he is always beside us in our mission of love.

Where does Jesus send us? There are no borders, no limits: he sends us to everyone. The Gospel is for everyone, not just for some. It is not only for those who seem closer to us, more receptive, more welcoming. It is for everyone. Do not be afraid to go and to bring Christ into every area of life, to the fringes of society, even to those who seem farthest away, most indifferent. The Lord seeks all, he wants everyone to feel the warmth of his mercy and his love.

[On “do not be afraid”:] Some people might think: “I have no particular preparation, how can I go and proclaim the Gospel?” My dear friend, your fear is not so very different from that of Jeremiah, a young man like you, when he was called by God to be a prophet. We have just heard his words: “Ah, Lord God! Behold, I do not know how to speak, for I am only a youth”. God says the same thing to you as he said to Jeremiah: “Be not afraid … for I am with you to deliver you” (Jer 1:7,8). He is with us!

“Do not be afraid!” When we go to proclaim Christ, it is he himself who goes before us and guides us. When he sent his disciples on mission, he promised: “I am with you always” (Mt 28:20). And this is also true for us! Jesus does not leave us alone, he never leaves you alone! He always accompanies you.
And then, Jesus did not say: “One of you go”, but “All of you go”: we are sent together. Dear young friends, be aware of the companionship of the whole Church and also the communion of the saints on this mission. When we face challenges together, then we are strong, we discover resources we did not know we had. Jesus did not call the Apostles to live in isolation, he called them to form a group, a community.

[On serve:] The opening words of the psalm that we proclaimed are: “Sing to the Lord a new song” (Psalm 95:1). What is this new song? It does not consist of words, it is not a melody, it is the song of your life, it is allowing our life to be identified with that of Jesus, it is sharing his sentiments, his thoughts, his actions. And the life of Jesus is a life for others. It is a life of service.

A great re-cap with Flickr account photos over at News.VA as well as text and video.

For coverage with a local flair, look at the Rio photos and comments on the Archdiocese of Boston Facebook page.

Physician-Assisted Suicide is Something we can live without! Massachusetts: This is a matter of life and death!

Physician-Assisted Suicide is Something we can live without! Massachusetts: This is a matter of life and death!

Election Day brings the Presidential election, but for folks in Massachusetts, our election on November 6 is, truly, a matter of life and death. On the ballot in Massachusetts, is Question 2 in support of physician-assisted suicide. Here’s the ballot question, and here’s several groups opposing this proposed law:

 Other resources:

3 Reasons to Oppose

The Slippery Slope of Physician-Assisted Suicide by Cardinal Sean O’Malley

The Catholic Church supports life from conception until natural death. This proposed law in Massachusetts is against our pro-life ethics. It undermines our human dignity and it reduces us to being evaluated in terms of our productivity, our health, our usefulness, or our so-called “quality” of life. All life is sacred and we must protect it.

Even if you are not a resident in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, you should be paying attention to this issue… as this assisted suicide initiative will be promoted in other states soon. So get yourself educated on the arguments against it and the Catholic perspectives that can help shape the arguments.

At the risk of sounding punny, physician-assisted suicide is something we can live without. Let’s stand for life!