Tagged: Lent

The Lord of the Rings and Lent

  It’s March 1st which means it’s time to begin reading The Fellowship of the Ring for Brona’s Hobbit/Lord of the Rings Readalong. In yet another interesting coincidence, today also happens to be the beginning of Lent. The synchronicity of those two events is too intriguing to ignore, and as I reflect on both The Fellowship of the Ring and Lent, I find several significant ways they are related. Both Are Journeys First, journey is at the heart of them both. Frodo and Sam set out on a long journey,...

Henry V Kenneth Branagh

Henry V and the Transfiguration: Homily for the 2nd Sunday of Lent

One of the greatest speeches in all of literature is the St. Crispin’s Day Speech by William Shakespeare from his play, Henry V. It’s October 25, in the year 1415, and King Henry of England and his men are about to fight the French in what will come to be known as the Battle of Agincourt. Henry’s men are exhausted and sick. They’ve been fighting for months, and they’ve just finished a long and grueling siege of Harfleur castle. As they move across the French countryside trying to...

Isenheim Crucifixion by Matthias Grunewald

The Isenheim Crucifixion – Homily for the Fifth Sunday of Lent

Do you remember the first picture of Jesus you ever saw? Was it a picture in a children’s Bible? A coloring book page from Sunday school? The actor Robert Powell in Jesus of Nazareth? There are many famous images of Jesus, and some of them hang on the walls of our homes. There’s the famous Warner Sallman painting of the Head of Christ, which has sold over 500 million copies. There’s the familiar Sacred Heart of Jesus, and the Divine Mercy image. Another popular painting of Jesus is...

Luke Skywalker on Tatooine

On Lent and Avoiding the Star Wars Effect – Homily for the First Sunday of Lent 2015

Every year on the First Sunday of Lent, the gospel takes us into the desert where Jesus was tested for forty days. And we follow Jesus into the desert for these forty days of Lent so that our hearts can be transformed, so that we can be ready to enter fully into the Mystery of Easter. This means being careful of the Star Wars Effect. When the original Star Wars movie came out in 1977, every kid my age wanted to see it. It was the first movie...

Jesus and the Samaritan Woman

Jesus Thirsts for You: Homily for the Third Sunday of Lent

Here we are in the third week of Lent. How are your Lenten resolutions going? Mine aren’t going so great, to be honest. Last Friday, I made myself a turkey sandwich for lunch, forgetting it was Friday. I think I was just going through the motions of the day, not really paying attention. Sometimes life is like that, a series of unconscious, or nearly unconscious, actions that add up to a day. The Samaritan woman in today’s gospel is going through the motions of her daily life when...

Pope Francis at General Audience

Pope Francis on Living Holy Week

In his first general audience, Pope Francis challenges us to “go out of ourselves”: “Living Holy Week is always going deeper into God’s logic, into the logic of the Cross, which is not first and foremost a logic of sorrow and death but one of love and the self giving that brings life. It is entering into the logic of the Gospel. Following, accompanying Christ, staying with him when he demands that we ‘go out’: out of ourselves, out of a tired and habitual way of living the...

Jean Valjean

Les Misérables and the Transfiguration: Homily for the Second Sunday of Lent

The Academy Awards are this weekend, and normally they don’t hold much interest for me, but this year I’m pleased to say that one of my old friends is nominated for a major award. I’ve been teaching the novel Les Misérables for almost twenty years and it has become a steady companion to me each Lent as the eighth graders and I read it at this time every year. The latest movie of the novel is a film version of the Broadway musical starring Hugh Jackman, Anne Hathaway,...

Oregon Sunset

55 Ways to Start the New Year

Three years ago for Lent, Orthodox priest Fr. Tom Hopko wrote a list of “things that a believer would do if he were really a believer.” As 2011 begins, this is going to be the list I use for my spiritual development. Here are his 55 maxims (If you’re interested in a fuller explanation of the maxims, be sure to listen to this episode of Fr. Tom’s podcast, “Speaking the Truth in Love”): Be always with Christ and trust God in everything Pray as you can, not as...

Return of the Prodigal Son

A Prayer for the Beginning of Lent

O my all-merciful God and Lord, Jesus Christ, full of pity: Through Your great love You came down and became incarnate in order to save everyone. O Savior, I ask You to save me by Your grace! If You save anyone because of their works, that would not be grace but only reward of duty, but You are compassionate and full of mercy! You said, O my Christ, “Whoever believes in Me shall live and never die.” If then, faith in You saves the lost, then save me,...

Jesus

101 Practical Fasting Ideas for Lent Redux

[Note: This is an update of an article I wrote last year for Catholic School Chronicle] Fasting, praying and almsgiving are the three penitential practices that we are asked to engage in during Lent. In addition to fasting and abstaining with the rest of the Church on Ash Wednesday and the Fridays of Lent, we are also challenged to make individual sacrifices appropriate to our own spiritual condition. However, before we choose something to give up for Lent, it’s important to assess our current spiritual state: What habits...

Liturgy of the Hours

10 Catholic Devotionals

With the Easter season rapidly approaching, this is a great time to re-commit to daily prayer. Here is my top ten list of the best Catholic daily devotional books. Each of these books is designed to be used every day, and most of them are interwoven with the liturgical year. The Liturgy of the Hours: Also known as the Divine Office, this is more than simply a daily devotional; the Liturgy of the Hours is the public prayer of the Church, the official set of prayers for each...

This Tremendous Lover

Books for Lent

If you’re giving up something for Lent that frees up some time (i.e. TV, video games, surfing the web), one great way to use that extra time is by reading spiritually enriching books. Here are a few suggestions: The Bible (of course) especially the gospels, or the books of Jeremiah and Exodus: you could buy a book that contains the daily Mass readings and read along with the Church The Divine Comedy – Dante Alighieri: use this great book to begin your meditations on the afterlife The Confessions...