The feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, celebrated on Sept. 14 on the Church calendar, is very special. Although not well-known in many places, it is a day set aside to celebrate the triumph of the cross over sin and death. Christ’s death on the cross broke the chains of sin and death for all of us who put our hope in him and follow his teaching until we, one day, see him face to face.
So often I hear people say: “Oh, I wish I could make a retreat, but my schedule makes that impossible or ...” You can insert your own explanation for not making a personal retreat, and it may sound valid. However, so often people don’t make retreats because “I wouldn’t know what to do,” or “That is for holy people and I am not.”
Let me say, unequivocally, that God wants time with us. But he never violates our free will. We can refuse. Please take a look and see what God is asking of you in order to draw you into a deep and personal relationship with him.
Throughout the years preceding the establishment of the feast of the Body and Blood of Christ (Corpus Christi) many had written about the need to name a day solely focused on God’s tremendous gift to us in the Eucharist. Therefore, Pope Urban IV established this feast on Sept. 8, 1254. Yes, Holy Thursday is the day of the Last Supper, but it is filled with so many other events in those 24 hours that our attention is not focused solely on God’s gift of himself in the Eucharist.
Honor your mother and ask her to lead you closer to her Son. She wants nothing more than to help you do just that.
May is traditionally the month in the calendar year set apart for special devotion to Mary. But as you can see from the list of feast days below, almost all of the months celebrate some aspect of Mary’s life. What a way to honor our heavenly mother! But, sadly, I find that most Catholics can usually only name one or two feasts out of so many. This means that Mary does not play much of a part in our daily lives.
That is a mistake that needs to be rectified.
In this season of Lent, we experience the great graces of Holy Thursday – but these graces can go over our heads, even bypass us completely, because too often we are simple spectators during the Mass of the Lord’s Supper. We watch what goes on; we say the prayers with everyone else in the church. But what is going on in your soul? Are you filled with gratitude? Christ was tortured and crucified to death. He died from asphyxiation and loss of blood – for you. He died that we might have eternal life. Let me say that again: Christ died so that the door to eternal life would be open to you.
How to pray the Stations of the Cross
The Stations of the Cross during Lent are a devotion and practice that can bring people into a deep and true realization of what God has done for them. We have infinite dignity and worth in God’s eyes: Even if you had been the only person on the earth, God would have sent his Son to die for you – that is how deeply God values us, each of us. Therefore, make the stations and ponder what Christ suffered that you might inherit eternal life.
When you begin to pray - whether in the church or at home - kneel and make an act of contrition.
I don’t ‘get much’ out of Mass.” “I really wonder why I go.” “I go because I have to.”
Do any of those sentiments reflect your own mind-set on Sunday morning or on holy days of obligation? It is not God’s intention for those he loves to remain in that way of thinking. I am going to propose several steps to take in order to create the right “soil” so that God can touch your heart and mind and lead you into true worship.
The call to forgiveness, to reconciliation, to peace. This is the message of Advent in preparation for the great feast of Christmas. Last month, I wrote about the need for forgiveness. I wrote that we needed to learn what the Scriptures teach us and the need for each of us, if we are truly Christian, to respond to God’s admonitions and direction. If we are unable to do this, we face a life filled with the fruits of such a mindset: bitterness, hatred, desire for revenge, coldness and hardness of heart. I don’t want anyone to live in that kind of darkness, yet many do!
Bearing false witness? Well, that doesn’t apply to me. I have never been in a courtroom, I have never lied on the witness stand, so I have never borne false witness. But let’s look at it another way: What if you hear that someone you thought was a friend is spreading a half-truth or a lie about you? After a confrontation, the person admits to saying it, but thinks it’s no big deal and has no intention of apologizing for it. Your “friend” provides an excuse, but then shrugs it off and walks away. You are hurt, and then outraged.
Jesus told us clearly in John 14:6: “I am the way, and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
Jesus is the truth. There is no guile, no deceit in him; he is the wholeness of truth, the fullness of truth. “Once you were ‘no people’ but now you are God’s people.” (1Peter 2:10) The more we live in truth in our personal lives, the more we can begin to experience God’s desire to walk with us in all things that constitute life for us on this earth.