Inspire. March.

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Some of my tools for this year’s Lenten Journey, including art from Bro. Mickey McGrath, my rosary, a key tab from my church, journal and Scripture gift, and really thoughtful and and prayerful daily devotions for Lent from Michelle Frankl-Donnay. (c)2020

“…the road that we seek is often the road we have already found.”

– Fr. James Martin, SJ, My Life with the Saints

Thoughts

One of things I’m learning through the Cursillo movement is how I can grow in relationship to Jesus through the three principles of piety, study, and action. These are key components of Cursillo, and while I did my weekend this past October, it is still taking me some time to regularly incorporate these into my life. I believe that I’ve always done them in varying degrees, but Cursillo has given me new eyes to see what it is I’m doing.

Lent is another way, a time of the year, to reflect on my relationships and what I do for myself in spiritual ways. The picture above illustrates some of my tools for my Lenten journey.

We are all obsessed, those of us who practice with giving up something for Lent. It is usually a food or a technology – social media, cell phone during dinner, etc. A lesser known thought is to add something to your life during Lent. This is only the first full week, and I am still discerning what I will add in addition to reading the daily devotional book my church gives us.

What have I given up?

Pizza. And bacon.

I didn’t even think about it. It just appeared in my head, and once it was there, I knew it was the right choice. My family still can’t believe it.

Adding?

I’m trying to journal a bit more, and heeding Brother Mickey’s advice to take fifteen minutes a day to just be with G-d. I’ll let you know how all of that goes.

In addition to prayer and fasting for these forty days, there is also almsgiving. I always support my church and my St. Vincent de Paul Society, but for this Lent, I will also be supporting RAICES, and I encourage all of you to take up that mantle. There are still children in cages; there are still families separated. RAICES is on the front lines with all kinds of help, and have been since the beginning of this nightmare.

Sundays in Lent – Good Friday

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Depiction of Calvary. Whitefriar Street Church. Dublin, Ireland. (c)2018


The traditional order of the sayings, which are known as Jesus’s last seven words, are:

Luke 23:34: Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.

Luke 23:43: Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise.

John 19:26–27: Woman, behold your son. Son, behold your mother.

Matthew 27:46 & Mark 15:34 My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?

John 19:28: I thirst.

John 19:30: It is finished.

Luke 23:46: Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit.


Traditionally, these seven sayings are called words: 

1.Forgiveness
2.Salvation
3.Relationship
4.Abandonment
5.Distress
6.Triumph
7.Reunion

See Father James Martin’s book, Seven Last Words.

Where Does The Road Lead?

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“…the road that we seek is often the road we have already found.”

 – Fr. James Martin, SJ, My Life with the Saints

I sometimes find that I need to get away, but I still want some familiarity. It’s less running away and more running to. Or strolling. It’s not always hurrying along, but slowing, not sloth-like but cautious optimism, observant, and taking it all in.

In those familiar places, taking it all in comes in spurts, a little at a time. At first, we see the big things, the vibrant colors, the loud sounds, the people’s clothes, and then each time after, we pick up something new. The running water of a stream, the steepness of a hill, the beep of the French fry fryer, the cheek’s freckles, the light that won’t stop flickering.

For some, familiarity breeds contempt; for others, comfort.

We have two nearby shrines – four saints that I’ve tried to visit each year. I’ve heard talk that it may be sold. That would make me sad.

While I was in Ireland, the chapel was unfamiliar but the shrines, while different in saint and location was familiar enough. I lie a candle fort the first time in prayer.

In Wales (and Ireland) I gathered my own holy water. The feel of the water was familiar as was the air I breathed and yet, still new.

My three favorite eateries are familiar even when I travel away from my regular joints.

Our habits can make the places familiar and they are different, changed enough to make the experience e, the visit, the meditation something new.

A breeze in a community park can feel the same as at a shrine or at St. Patrick’s Park in Dublin.

The feeling conjured by the 9/11 memorial in Belfast can be just as moving as others away from New York City.

Signing a condolence book as I did as an American in Belfast for Barcelona joined me with the prayers of others across the world and across City Hall.

When I’m not seeking I often feel that I should have just stayed home, made a pot of tea, lit a candle and sat in my office that I modeled so carefully. Easy chair and ottoman, tea mug, and flickering candle guiding the reading or the writing or the praying.

The candle doesn’t light the darkness, but guides the holy spirit to where it is needed, requested, its purpose unknown until it arrives.

Visit a few of your familiar places: the shopping mall, the library, your church in the off hours, a porch chair on a quiet morning, the sun glimmering through bare branches or glowing through full green ones.

Where is that road that you seek?

Where does it lead?

Is it rough or easy terrain?

Is it new yet familiar? Or so new it sets your heart pounding, your breath quickening?

Have you found what you’ve been looking for?

Are you still continuing to look?