Life is a journey; the choices you make now will determine your eternal destination.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Lenten Reflections- The Stations of the Cross: The 10th Station

The Tenth Station
 Jesus is stripped of His garments

As a final indignity before He is nailed to the Cross, Jesus is stripped of His clothing; naked just as He came into this world clothed only in our weak flesh, so it was how He left it. 
All the things we acquire throughout life are meaningless at the point of death. We are stripped of our vitality, often our pride, our health, sometimes of our senses. Worldly goods and social standing avail us not as we face the entrance to eternity. The only things that matter are the things unseen: our actions, prayers, conformity of our will to God's will. These are our measure, not how much we are esteemed in the eyes of man, but how God sees us. No matter what we are stripped of at the end of our life, we are all naked in God's eyes, for He looks into our souls. 
O Lord, help me to release my attachment to things of this world, and strive to live my life remembering always that what is in my heart matters most. Help me to purify my thoughts and actions according to Your will and not mine. Help me to increase in love of You and decrease in love of self and the world. 

Friday, March 27, 2015

Lenten Reflections- The Stations of the Cross: The 9th Station

The Ninth Station
Jesus falls the third time

Weary unto death..... at this last fall, Jesus barely has the strength to get up and continue the journey..... 
As we approach the end of our life's journey, we are often weakened by illness, sadness, suffering both mental and physical.  We cannot give up for not only is the end in sight, but the reward that Jesus gave us in His Resurrection is also close. We must accept our struggle at the end of our life, for as Jesus shows us in this last fall, He has set the example for us. Struggle, and persevere no matter what is in God's design for us. We may be weak and heavily burdened- but we cannot give up hope that our reward will be in heaven. 
O Jesus, grant that I may never lose hope, or lose my trust in You. Give me courage when I need it most, and grant me the grace of final perseverance. 

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Lenten Reflections- The Stations of the Cross: The 8th Station

The Eighth Station
Jesus speaks to the Women of Jerusalem

This is one passage in the story of the Passion that is very intriguing- the women are weeping at the plight of one they knew as prophet and miracle worker, most likely without understanding who He truly was, and He took the moment, recorded for all time, to not just console them but to give warning of dire times to come. 
But Jesus turning to them, said: Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not over me; but weep for yourselves, and for your children. [29]For behold, the days shall come, wherein they will say: Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that have not borne, and the paps that have not given suck. [30] Then shall they begin to say to the mountains: Fall upon us; and to the hills: Cover us.
Luke 23: 28-30

O Lord, if we are indeed in the times You spoke of please give us the strength we need. Help us to be humble each day so that we can hear You: You speak like no one else.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Lenten Reflections- The Stations of the Cross: the 7th Station

The Seventh Station
Jesus falls the second time

The physical punishment Jesus has taken has weakened Him to the point that His body gives out on Him again, and he falls to the ground. He is forced to get up and continue His journey. We too fall, time and again- we repeat mistakes, destructive patterns of behaviour, addictions, and sins. By grace, we rise again, and if we think of Jesus, struggling to His feet to continue on, we can find the courage to break free of all that drags us down. Yes, we may fall again, but it isn't the end of the road- we have to struggle to rise up and carry on- through anguish, grief, pain, or just plain self indulgence. We will still have our burdens to carry, and sometimes they will seem too heavy to bear.
Jesus, You show us in this seventh station that even though we fall repeatedly, we still have to struggle on. You have given hope that we can still get up and go on. Jesus, give us the strength we need to overcome our sins, and to carry with dignity the Cross You have given us, even if we feel that we are not strong enough to bear it.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Lenten Reflections- The Stations of the Cross: the 6th Station

The Sixth Station
Veronica wipes the Face of Jesus

Imagine that you are Veronica, seeing Jesus stumbling along the Via Dolorosa, face bloodied and bruised, and moved to the depths of your soul with sadness at His condition you take your veil and tenderly wipe His Holy Face. This act of compassion leaves an indelible print of His Face upon the cloth.
Now consider the poor and downtrodden, the people who are scorned by the affluent; the dregs of society. Are you moved to compassion for them? Or just stand back and spectate their journey through life? Jesus was condemned by the society of His day, scorned, flogged, brutalized and sentenced to death. Can we see Jesus in the face of others? It's hard, isn't it? But every time we lend a helping hand to them, or do an act of compassion or mercy to them, Jesus leaves His imprint upon our soul, the fabric of our being. And the more compassionate we are, the more we are filled with His Holy Presence. It becomes easier to be kind when you practice kindness; every act of mercy leads to another, and another. One other point- it's hands on. Not just hollow words of intention, but acts.
Let us pray that we will be able to see the Holy Face in even the poorest of people, and treat them with the compassion of St. Veronica.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Lenten Reflections- The Stations of the Cross: the 5th Station

The Fifth Station
Simon of Cyrene helps Jesus carry the Cross

Afraid that Jesus would die before the planned Crucifixion, the Roman soldiers forced Simon of Cyrene to carry the Cross. 
Sometimes, the help we give is unwilling, we grumble about having to perform an act of charity, especially for family members or for someone whose lifestyle is so different from ours. And yet, when our burdens seem too heavy to bear, we don't hesitate to plead with God to lighten our load! 
O God, give me the grace to be charitable to others, even when I don't want to be. Help me to remember Simon, who carried your heavy burden, right to the place of your death. 

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Lenten Reflections- The Stations of the Cross: the 4th Station

The Fourth Station 
Jesus meets His afflicted mother

      Imagine the pain and sorrow Mary felt as she watched the Passion of her Son unfold. Now consider why this is one of the stations of the Cross. Jesus stopping in his journey to spend a moment with His mother tells us that Jesus wants us to remember His mother in our times of trial, sorrow and conflict. Mary has many titles, among them Comforter of the Afflicted , Health of the Sick, Refuge of Sinners, Mother most Merciful. No matter how great our trials, we can give them to Her who suffered the greatest trial imaginable as she saw her Son condemned and Crucified for us. Mary did not plead with God to take away the burden Jesus underwent, but she shared in His Passion and His sorrow and pain. Mary, please help me to understand and bear the Cross that is mine to carry, whatever it may be. Help me to bear it with dignity, even to the end of my life. Then, O Merciful Mother, lead me to your Son, that I may thank Him for the great sacrifice He made for me and for all humanity.