Praying the Stations of the Cross

Standard

I committed to praying the Stations of the Cross every Friday. during Lent I have a few different ones that I’ve found and wanted to share today’s with you.

This was originally presented last year, early in the pandemic and parts of the talk reflect that. It is my friend Brother Mickey, and in the video he shares three different versions of the Stations.

The first version is the art from his book, A Light for My Path: Praying the Psalms on the Way to the Cross.

The second version is based on his trip to Kenya, and the third is a set of stained glass windows in a Vienna, Virginia church. There are also other pieces of art that he relates to the Stations.

Between each station, there is a momentary prayer that can be prayed along with him:

LORD, BY YOUR CROSS
AND RESURRECTION,
YOU HAVE SET US FREE.....

YOU ARE THE SAVIOR OF THE WORLD.

Presbyters

Standard

Here we are in the first full week of Lent. I think we’re all getting used to the idea of what this year’s Lent entails. As I mentioned last week, I am trying to organize my thoughts around the Lenten pillars of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving and incorporating those pillars with the tripod of my way through Cursillo of piety, study, and action. Something the priest said at Monday’s mass stood out to me, and that was that we are all presbyters, as opposed to proselytizers. Public prayer, not conversion. That was the word [presbyter] used in that day’s Reading from the First Letter of Peter, and defined in Father’s homily as someone who prays in public. We may recognize that word as the basis for Presbyterian, a Protestant sect of Christianity.

If we are all called to be presbyters as Peter exalts us to “tend the flock of G-d in [our] midst” [1 Peter 5: 1-4], how do we reconcile that with Jesus’ call to not be like the hypocrites and go to our rooms and pray in private [Matt 6.6]?

How should, how can we pray in public and not become like those hypocrites?

As I set this aside earlier in the week, I thought about the ways in which I was praying in public and yet hoping to avoid hypocrisy. I am definitely thinking more about prayer and ways to be closer to G-d during these forty days leading up to the Easter Vigil. I spent time discerning what actions and tasks were important to me and which ones I needed to give up to make my time more effective and positive, not only for me, but for those people I would be working with.

Sometimes prayer is a conversation between yourself and G-d and sometimes it is contemplative, thinking on a scripture passage or meditation. We ask for things – petitions, we ask for things for others – intercessory prayer and sometimes we just sit in the quiet and hope G-d can understand what it is we’re seeking even if we don’t necessarily know.

On Wednesday night, I participated in a centering prayer group. We met on Zoom. I had been to a workshop on centering prayer last month, and this was a good opportunity to put what I learned into practice with others.
While we were each in our own spaces and muted, we were also all together, hearing the same reading, listening to the bell that started off our quiet, contemplative time, the screen sharing a single candle if we chose to keep our eyes open to see it. Solitary and in group at the same time.

Private and public.

Admittedly, I had some trouble focusing. My house was empty and silent. The group was silent, not even a buzz from the lights or clock in the room, no airplanes flying low overhead like they’d done all morning. And still, I needed to continue to draw on my sacred word to bring me back to my prayer. By the time, I felt settled, the bell rang and it was the end of the twenty minute sit (what the prayer time is called).

It reminded me of those early days of the pandemic, when the sun was out, the snow was gone, and the cold was bearable. I would take out my camp chair to the front lawn and just sit. On occasion I took a photo of the trees or the sky. I’d write in my journal. I’d pray the rosary.

But often, I would just sit, noticing each flutter of a breeze, each chirp of a bird, and before I even realized it, an hour had passed. I’d unconsciously been doing centering prayer a year ago, but didn’t have the language to name it then.

One way I can be a presbyter is to take my chair outside (when my lawn doesn’t have the mounds of snow that it currently has) with my prayer book and journal, my pashmina and just sit. Let myself be drawn into G-d’s world and let the nearby church bells lift me from my reverie and gently bring me back to this world refreshed.

Time to Reflect

Standard

Ash Wednesday has arrived. It feels so early this year, but I suppose everything feels a bit jumbled during this pandemic year. As my priest said at mass this morning, things are different, but they’re also the same. Less people allowed at mass. Ashes distributed with a cotton swab (my parish) or sprinkled over your head (others). I didn’t make this morning’s mass in person although I planned to, and registered to attend. The ice on my car made different plans. I was able to watch the mass livestreamed and stopped by the church later in the afternoon to pick up a small vial of ashes. It was a do it yourself for me today.

I would have thought a year into the pandemic that I’d be an expert on reflections on any subject that came to mind, but when I went to write this on Tuesday, there was nothing. Sometimes reflections feel like journal entries, and I’ve been not great at journaling this past year. I’ve tried to keep checklists – masses attended, rosaries said, writing accomplished, but even that little bit has been a failing.

I hadn’t even decided what I’d be giving up, and then I gave myself an extension. Not anything canonical, but I think sometimes when we force ourselves to do things without the impetus of why we’re doing them, they lose something in the translation.

I spend a lot of time worrying about what I’m going to give up as if forty days without chocolate or soda is a hardship in the big picture of things, but on the other hand, I think that sacrifice should also be a sacrifice of time. What can I do to grow in my relationship with G-d? What are things that I can do for these forty days that will stay with me for the next forty? And then the next?

To begin for the readers waiting with bated breath, I’m not going to make my decision on what I”ll be offering to G-d for Lent until the first Sunday of Lent although I have a good idea what it will be and it wasn’t even on my original brainstorm list. By Sunday, I will have had some time to discern what I can accomplish from giving something up or trading it for something that is more positive and/or spiritual.

Lent is a forty day period where prayer, fasting, and almsgiving take the center of spiritual life. Despite being given dispensation from holy days and Sunday masses during the pandemic, I have still gone almost every week to the livestream mass. I was happily surprised to find it just as rewarding as going in person. In the summer, I began to attend Monday’s daily mass in person and I will continue to do that. Our church has done a great job of keeping things safe. I am very lucky with both my church and my children’s school.

In addition to the three pillars of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving since I’ve become a Cursillista, I try to incorporate the tripod of piety, study, and action into my everyday life, but moreso during Lent when our time is spent in communion with Jesus, and of course, ourselves.

I have some tools and links that I’d like to share with you to assist with your own Lenten journey. The first three I will be doing throughout Lent.

Daily Reflections for Lent: Not By Bread Alone 2021 by Mary DeTurris Poust

A Stranger and You Welcomed Me from Clear Faith Publishing

Along the Way: A Jesuit Prayer Pod – a weekly Lenten podcast from two Jesuit brothers

The Examen with Father James Martin, SJ – daily podcast with Fr. Jim Martin, SJ

Prayer of Spiritual Communion (this is what my parish uses for communion during their livestream masses for those of us participating at home):

I wish, my Lord, to receive you with the purity, humility, and devotion with which your most holy Mother received you, with the spirit and fervor of the saints. Amen

In addition to some of these, I am also going to praying the Rosary on Mondays and the Stations of the Cross on Fridays as well as committing to submit a reflection to my Cursillo group’s weekly digest. I will also (finally) begin reading A Pilgrimage to Eternity: From Canterbury to Rome in Search of a Faith by Timothy Egan. This was recommended a couple of years ago and I bought it then, but haven’t found the right time to start it. I’ve decided to make that time now.

I also intend to recommit to my writing, both spiritual and secular. Throughout the pandemic, I’ve kept consistent with this website, but my other writings have fallen on the wayside. I hope to rectify that over the next forty days.

I hope to bring you more in the coming days. Have a meaningful Lent.

Labyrinths Heal; The Rain Reflects

Standard

Early on in the pandemic, when we’d just begun the lockdown with work places shutting down, restaurants closed, and schools closing, we were only just getting used to having the kids at home, shopping once a week, avoiding people as much as possible, including even our son who lived on his own, plus being in a constant low level state of anxiety, keeping ongoing lists in my head, living, breathing, reading, and writing everything I could about coronavirus 20/7 with four hours leftover for sleep. Often, I couldn’t get through that minimum of four hours. I tried watching the White House’s coronavirus briefings; I thought they would be useful and informative. I thought they would quell my anxiety of those early days of unknown. My priest called them “dark days of confusion,” and they truly were. We’re still in them sometimes now. Those briefings didn’t help; they left me with higher levels of anxiety.

Continue reading

Religious and Spiritual Resources (Updated 4/29/20)

Standard

I was waiting to find resources for other religions, and I am still actively looking, Please forward anything that you think would be helpful and I will update this post as soon as I can. I do apologize for only having Christian sources at the moment. This post is meant to be multi-faith and interfaith.

I plan to share whatever reputable resources that I have for people self-isolating and quarantining at home.

Suggestions welcome. (POSTED/UPDATED 3/31/20)

Catholic/Christian

The Holy
Rosary
 

Letter from Pope Francis plus 2 New Prayers (to say with the rosary this May)
We’re All Monks Now
What the First Christians Can Teach Us About Missing Sacraments and Still Growing

Spiritual Act of Communion Coloring Page
See Brother Mickey McGrath’s Facebook Page for several coloring sheets for both children and adults

Faith at Home Resources from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany (NY) (including listings for live masses)

Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, Indiana offers a Daily Office. I believe they usually begin at 10am, but they will post a video to their Facebook, which I’ve linked.

Morning Prayer and Song with David Haas on his Facebook, daily at 8am CST

General Absolution allowed during Coronavirus Contagion (Pope Francis) – article from the National Catholic Reporter

A Prayer for Spiritual Communion (from RC Diocese of Albany)

Prayer Resources for use during the Coronavirus Pandemic (from the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference in Ireland)Twitter

Give Us This Day – a monthly subscription with the daily prayers and much more. The Digital version is FREE during the coronavirus outbreak because many people cannot attend their daily/weekly masses.

Resources (several) on worship and prayer from Fr. James Martin, SJ

Fr. James Martin, SJ, Facebook, Twitter (He has a daily faith sharing at this time. See his Facebook for the exact time.

The Daily Examen with Fr. James Martin, SJ (podcast)

Brother Mickey McGrath, OSFS

A Gentle Suggestion for Lent (this is still so very good for our times now) from Brother Mickey McGrath, OSFS

Brother Mickey McGrath’s Art and Faith Chat (from March 26, 2020)

Prayer at Home

Celebrate Holy Week at Home

A Guide to Celebrating the Easter Triduum at Home

A Different Way to Have Liturgy at Home

Judaism/Jewish

Passover is in one weeks, and I’d like to add resources before then.

RUACH: Jewish emotional and spiritual support care providers

Everything You Need to Celebrate Passover in Quarantine (Chabad)

How to Do a Seder Alone

Quarantine Kaddish Service Contact Information

Coronavirus Resources and Inspiration (Chabad)

Chad Gadya (Jack Black)

Islam/Muslim

Ramadan begins April 24, and I would like to include Muslim resources before then.

A Yom Kippur Repentance

Standard

I spent all Tuesday mornng trying to find the right prayer to share here today when finally this came up, and it was perfect. It spoke to me in a way that the temple prayer didn’t, and so I’m sharing it with you here, and I will be reciting this sometime this morning along with my other prayer time.

I hope it gives you comfort as well, and for those observing, an easy fast.


Ashamnu: My Alphabet of Failings

For the sin of anger against those who challenge me
And for the sin of belittling those I don’t understand
For the sin of criticizing without caring
And for the sin of doubting the strength of love
For the sin of enjoying what I shouldn’t have
And for the sin of purposefully finding fault
For the sin of greed when I have so much
And for the sin of harboring resentment
For the sin of needlessly imagining problems
And for the sin of joking to avoid a truth

For all these sins, oh God of forgiveness,
Forgive me, pardon me, grant me atonement.


For the sin of kindness too often withheld
And for the sin of loving in measured touches
For the sin of malice toward those who are richer
And for the sin of nourishing my worst intentions
For the sin of observing when I could be helping
And for the sin of pretending I am less than I am
For the sin of quitting when I still have fight
And for the sin of not resting when I am exhausted
For the sin of saying it doesn’t matter
And for the sin of thinking they can read my mind.

For all these sins, oh God of forgiveness,
Forgive me, pardon me, grant me atonement.


For the sin of not cutting the umbilical cord
And for the sin of not visiting my parents enough
For the sin of not weeping, to prove my strength
And for the sin of never forgiving my ex
For the sin of yearning to alter time
And for the sin of repenting at the zero hour.

For all these sins, oh God of forgiveness,
Forgive me, pardon me, grant me atonement.

Written and shared on the blog of Reform Judaism dot org by:

Jan Sokoloff Harness is an active volunteer at Congregation Beth Torah in Overland Park, KS. She is an award-winning writer, the Chief Creative Instigator for Sokoloff Harness Communications LLC and the author of the ebook Creative Chai.