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I just love today's Gospel. It is one of my favorite stories in all of scripture. It is one of those stories that can be looked at from a thousand angles, somehow offering the possibility of a brand-new revelation each time!
And, as usual, as I was participating in its proclamation at Mass today, it did not disappoint. This time my new angle came through the deep insight of our presiding priest. Although I won't go into into his homily (which I wish I could post here...it was just that good!), I really feel called to share his main point with you.
In a comparison with a Sherlock Holmes story, Father brought to life a truth that we all experience daily: in any given situation, the facts involved can be absolutely the same, but viewed so differently that an outcome can be completely affected.
In the case of the Apostles and followers on the road to Emmaus, they were aware of the facts. They had lived them! They knew the basic story of Jesus - his life, death, and now proposed rising, just as deeply as they knew the stories of scripture and its prophetic words told throughout the ages. Growing up, they had heard the prophesies over and over again, and now they had personally lived as participants in the story of Jesus. The facts were there. So what were they missing? Why were the facts not making sense in light of the news that Jesus had resurrected?
When the "stranger" walked with them on the road, He also had the facts. But due to His point of view as the victim and the One who had fulfilled the prophesies, He understood the connections, could see the timeline, and could recognize each and every utterance as part of the Master Plan. Because of this, He was able to explain and reveal another perception of the facts, one that included the "reading between the lines" factors that the Apostles were missing. That's why their hearts burned within them. Revelation had come to the forefront, opening their eyes to a reality and truth that had previously been beyond their imagining.
And, as if this wasn't enough, Jesus made manifest all that they had been learning by revealing Himself to them at the breaking of the bread. How awesome!!!
In reflecting, I couldn't help but consider my understanding of the Old Testament. How would I read and view it without the lens of the New Testament? Would it be similar to how the Jewish people view it today? An unexpected feeling of relief came over me as I pondered, followed quickly by a wave of deep gratitude. I am so incredibly blessed to have the ability to see scripture through the lens of Jesus' revelations!
We've all heard the familiar phrase, "Jesus changes everything."
I'm sure that the Apostles and followers of Jesus on the road to Emmaus would fervently agree!
Photo Attribution: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Z%C3%BCnd_Gang_nach_Emmaus_1877.jpg
What do these two young men have in common? Both will be receiving sacraments in the next few weeks: Ordination to the Priesthood and First Communion! Join John Joseph as he interviews his friend, Deacon Bobby, as he prepares for his ordination. Learn about his journey to becoming a priest and preparing for the Sacrament of Holy Orders!
I can't help it! I'm longing for Lent again!
I would imagine that this sounds like a strange claim.
Now, don't get me wrong. I am truly rejoicing in the Resurrection of Our Lord and Savior, and my heart sings His praises.
However, I am painfully aware that I am back to waging war on my sweet tooth. "That's normal," they tell me. Hmmm....then I don't want to be normal!
The incredible genius and beauty of the great season of Lent is that it shows us who we are capable of being. A time to offer up sacrifices to help Our Lord carry His cross and sufferings, Lent is also a time of renewal of our own bodies and souls. I definitely become a better person during Lent. I gain the ever-elusive virtue of self-control, welcoming its challenges and benefits in ways that I don't during the rest of the year. I also enjoy a deeper sense of Christ working in my life that is made manifest in an intimacy that can only come from joining my sufferings with those of His cross.
So, how is it possible that I can fall back into some of my old ways so quickly?? I guess that the fall of our first parents has a greater hold on me than I would like to admit.
Thankfully, knowledge is power! With the understanding of my fallen nature exists a certain resolve to to overcome it. However, although resolve is great, I do need some practical ways to put my faith into action.
As I tossed several ideas around in my brain (like trying to convince my brain that it is still Lent!), I couldn't help but muse: "I wish I had a Catholic life-hack!"
Yes, I am aware that if such a thing existed it might reveal an open door to the easy way out, a door that typically doesn't lead in God's direction. But, I then considered why such a thought would cross my mind in the first place. Although on the surface it appeared I desired an easy fix, I realized that in reality I was looking for something that was really just doable - with a more permanent time frame rather than the temporary one I had leaned on for Lent.
Could there be such a thing? As I prayed about it, a thought from Matthew Kelly's "Rediscovering Jesus" came to mind. Since self control seems to be at the same time both my nemesis and my saving grace, I knew I had to approach it carefully. Kelly's "delayed gratification" process seemed right up my alley. This idea encourages those of us with these struggles to practice waiting for 5 minutes before giving in to something that tries to diminish our self-control. If I can hold off for 5 minutes, I have successfully proven I am capable of overcoming my fallen nature. Once I have achieved holding off for 5 minutes several times daily, I can continue to lengthen the duration of time for a specific object of my self control or for delayed gratification in general. In time, I may be able to master self control in certain aspects. What a blessing that would be!
Catholic life-hack? I would venture to say so.
If you are one of those who join me in my sentiment of missing a Lenten lifestyle, try the "delayed gratification" process. It may be the Catholic life-hack you've been looking for!
He is Risen!!!!
Happy Easter from our family to yours!
May this Easter season be beyond blessed for you and your family!
The Institution of the Eucharist. The Institution of the Priesthood.
What a packed-full feast day we have in Holy Thursday, the first day in the Triduum! The Triduum, the three-day season beginning with Holy Thursday and ending with Holy Saturday, holds such importance and significance that it has been assigned a liturgical season all its own - the shortest one in the Church. And rightfully so!
This season not only completes our Lenten journey; it completes us.
In it we receive the food of everlasting life - the very body and blood of the Divine God, we are taught by example how to truly serve our neighbor, we are given the gift of our shepherds acting in persona Christi, and are granted the unfathomable gift of access to heaven and eternity with God, all because of the sacrifice of a love like we have never seen.
There is so much to the Triduum, that the Church provides special Masses and services to guide us more deeply into its truths, revealing mysteries and understanding the beauty of a season that changes our lives forever.
I pray that you are able to take advantage of these events. They are such a gift.
Don't be afraid to dive deep! :)
Here is our Holy Thursday coloring page, as promised! We pray it enhances your prayer time and keeps the kids focused a little more on the symbols on this beautiful day.
May God truly bless you!!!
I'm always looking for new, innovative ways to add to our Holy Week experience. I have come to realize over the years that nothing is like truly being able to live out Holy Week as a family.
Last week, while I was in prayer asking for guidance in helping to plan our Holy Week Edge night for our parish, God gave me an amazing idea. It was one that seemed so simple that I couldn't believe it hadn't come to me before. However, once it was put into practice, I realized just how inspired by the Holy Spirit that it was!!
Without giving too much away, the Edge night went great, and the Junior High kids were truly beautiful (and humorous at times!) to watch, but what I also found is that this activity greatly improved Holy Week for my family as well.
I'm not going to give details since watching this quick demonstration says it so much better than I could, but I can tell you that I REALLY encourage your family to do even the quickest form of it if you have time. It leaves a family Holy Week legacy to come back to later, and it truly helps to delve more deeply into this blessed time with Christ.
Enjoy, and I hope that this activity has as much of an impact on your family as it has mine!
And so it begins!!! My favorite week of the year.
A week tailor-made to help us live the last week of Jesus' life, I have found that my faith gets a substantial "shot in the arm" that is sorely needed.
Another bonus is that not only does my faith receive this boost, but my children's do as well. Watching their focus turn from inward to outward, I'm inspired to look for opportunities to live out His passion and seek out God's infusion into my life, too.
We have several things here at Catholic Conundrum to help you and the kids focus on this week. First, we have our popular Stations of the Cross Flash Cards. These are FREE and printable - no shipping! (Yay!)
These cards are great for all ages: older ones can learn the stations, while younger ones can follow the pictures to better understand the Stations and Good Friday.
We also have a Lenten Maze and a Good Friday Coloring Page. We will soon be uploading a Holy Thursday and Easter one as well. If time permits, I might come up with another activity page or so, but this time of year gets so crazy that I can't make any guarantees! :)
However, there are no worries, considering that there are a LOT of fantastic Catholic sites out there with loads of ideas and printables.
My prayer is that you will truly be able to enter into this incredible final week of Lent.
Truly LIVE this week. If you haven't done it before, don't be afraid to jump in! The water's fine, complete with a spring that promises eternal life at the end!
Photo Attribution: https://www.flickr.com/photos/waitingfortheword/6873411584; Copping; Common Domain
It's hard to believe, but it's finally up! It's the next installment to the
Sacrament Song Series: the Reconciliation Song!
Sung by kids for kids, this song walks us through this blessed sacrament like only kids can, reminding us to view our faith with the joy of a child! :)
We truly hope you enjoy this one, especially since the evil one has been having a hay-day trying to keep it out of cyberspace, including deleting all work upon export, which was a challenge that we haven't faced before. But, perseverance and the Holy Spirit won the day and the devil can go sulk in a corner. :)
Please pass this on to anyone you think might benefit! We have future plans for this series and are very excited to see how God will use it.
PS...this is also a great song for the kids to learn for Holy Week!
Have a truly blessed and musical day!
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If a song's title includes (family recording), please refer to the blog entry on 3/8/16 for info...
Hi! I'm a Catholic mom who loves to encourage and support others in their journey to live the beauty of our Catholic faith in a modern world. It can be a struggle, no doubt, but God has given us the tools we need! Join my family (both immediate and extended!) and me as we take on this incredible journey of our path to holiness.
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