In the novel, One Hundred Years of Solitude, by Garcia Marquez, the author describes in his magical but realistic way a village suffering from an insomnia plague. As this plague continues, it gradually causes the loss of memory. To try and salvage memory, the people developed an elaborate plan that involved labeling everything, for instance, “This is a cow.” But even the labels lost meaning over time and needed to be further defined. So, for instance to “This is a cow,” they added: “She gives us milk. We add milk to our coffee.” Eventually the village put a placard at the entrance to town that said, “God exists,” as that knowledge too was slipping. Then the people began to forget what a mother was and what a father was and lost all language to describe it. Read more
The Lenten season begins. It is a time to be with you, Lord, in a special way, a time to pray, to fast, and thus to follow you on your way to Jerusalem, to Golgotha, and to the final victory over death.
I am still so divided. I truly want to follow you, but I also want to follow my own desires and lend an ear to the voices that speak about prestige, success, pleasure, power, and influence. Help me to become deaf to these voices and more attentive to your voice, which calls me to choose the narrow road to life.
I know that Lent is going to be a very hard time for me. The choice for your way has to be made every moment of my life. I have to choose thoughts that are your thoughts, words that are your words, and actions that are your actions. There are not times or places without choices. And I know how deeply I resist choosing you.
Please, Lord, be with me at every moment and in every place. Give me the strength and the courage to live this season faithfully, so that, when Easter comes, I will be able to taste with joy the new life that you have prepared for me. Amen.
The Road to Daybreak: A Spiritual Journey
(February 11, 1986) by Henri J.M. Nouwen. Copyright ©1988
Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent, a forty-six-day period of preparation for the great feast of Easter, the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.We invite you to join us for our Ash Wednesday service, as we begin a season of reflective repentance, closely examining our lives for greater fruitfulness.
Lent comes from a word meaning spring time. Images of spring cleaning and soil preparation come to mind. Collectively, we encourage one another to break up the heart’s fallow ground, the hardened, clumpy pieces of our lives, to discard undesired habits and cast off besetting sins in thought, word and deed. As we prepare the way of the Lord, life’s stumbling stones are laid aside.
This may sound as if spiritual transformation is about mere subtraction. Yes and more. Christ calls us to subtract the things we wish not to multiply, the weeds that choke the Word of the Gospel sown in our hearts. All this hard work is to prepare the heart for sowing new seeds of life, intentionally for more harvest. Faithfulness before fruitfulness is the idea. Successful gardeners understand this. After all, faithfulness is a fruit of the Holy Spirit. O Lord, make us such a fruit bearing people!
Therefore, as we faithfully approach another Feast of the Resurrection, we anticipate more joy, freedom and fruitfulness in our lives!
In today’s Gospel reading, we contemplate the transfiguration of Christ. Each year, the Church celebrates the Feast of the Transfiguration on August 6th. This holy vision upon the mountain is a touching point; creation and creator unite in glory; the destiny of humanity and divinity is revealed.
One may ask why did Jesus reveal himself in such glorious light to his disciples? The Fathers of the Church provide an answer. It was to display the voluntary nature of Christ’s coming crucifixion. The horrors of what appeared to be a Roman execution would become the ultimate, universal sacrifice; it would demonstrate how in Christ’s utter, voluntary weakness his greatest strength is displayed. No one took his life. He alone laid it down. After the resurrection, his disciples would reflect on this event and realize their own journey of death, resurrection and transfiguration.
Transfigured in Christ
What might this mean for us? St. Paul contrasts the shining face of Moses on Mt. Sinai with the glory to be revealed in us: “As we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit (2 Corinthians 3:18). Christ’s metamorphosis is our metamorphosis, our transformation. St. Paul is telling us that our fellowship in the Holy Trinity is transforming us into the likeness of Christ with an ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Spirit. And the Holy Spirit has bonded us to the Father and the Son, in holy union, as a bride adored with glory.
As we draw near to the season of Lenten springtime, the Holy Spirit is urging us to draw near to the Father; to prepare a place of deep listening and receiving; to lay aside every weight and the sin that entangles us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus; let us attune our ears and be transfigured … with an ever-increasing glory. The goal of Lent is fresh entry into the Feast of the Resurrection!
The following reflection is from Anastasius of Sinai, 7th century. He calls us to ascend the mountain, to lift up our hearts, to listen to the voice and to glory in the mystery of Christ’s crucifixion, resurrection, ascension and glorification, events in which we all share in our union with Him. Let us ascend.
Blessings to you dear friends,
During the Season of Lent, our hope is to tap into our eternal longings, our true desires given by God. We’re on a journey of developing a secret history with God. Our desires and secrets become a divine source of power, urging us upward, inward and outward.
February 23rd’s Sunday Sermon