“Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me”
In the Lenten Trifecta of Prayer, Fasting, and Almsgiving, there is a stated and implied order, not just to our Lenten Journey, but our whole lives. We will hopefully embrace various fasting – physical and spiritual – as recommended last week, but first and foremost is prayer. In this first full week of Lent, we begin the great pilgrimage from where we are (where ever that might be, however near or far from the Lord) to Mount Calvary and the Cross. It is a pathway both physical and spiritual, both body and soul; for it is the process of becoming authentically human and fully redeemed by Christ’s Paschal Mystery of the Suffering, Death, and Resurrection. The days will pass by and each should bring us closer to the Cross in our heart, mind, and soul.
The whole of Jesus’ earthly ministry was sustained and directed by His intense, intentional, and intimate prayer with the Father through the Holy Spirit. Before He began His public ministry, Jesus spent 40 days in the desert in prayer. Before choosing the Twelve Apostles, a night vigil in prayer. Upon giving the Bread of Life Discourse in the synagogue of Capernaum (Jn 6), Peter had to look for Jesus who is off praying quietly. Before many a healing, Jesus prays to the Father to give testimony to the Truth. Upon multiplying loaves and fish to feed the multitude, He raised his eyes to Heaven in blessing; and thereafter, He was off in solitude to pray in thanksgiving. Before being arrested, falsely accused, tried, and crucified, Jesus spends the Holiest of Holy Hours in prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane. Daily, nightly, weekly on the Sabbath, annually for the high feasts in the Temple – Jesus Prayed!
If our Lord Jesus Christ who is fully God & fully man, who is Lord & King, who is the Messiah & Savior, found it necessary to accomplish His vocation in this earthly life to make the arduous journey to Mount Calvary and the Cross, why would we not find it necessary to pray fervently and faithfully daily for our journey? In this great season of Lent, prayer needs to take a more central focus in our lives. Absolutely, it is always vitally important, but this sacred time is meant to refocus and reinvigorate our Catholic Christian call to holiness. It is meant to challenge us with the real need for the saving Cross in our particular life. It is meant to bring conversion and greater charity. And all of this will find its reality in the simple, yet profound, work of prayer. Of imitating Jesus by coming to the Father through the Holy Spirit. Whether it is a Holy Hour in the church before the Exposed Lord in the Blessed Sacrament or a Rosary with the family or immersing yourself in the Word of God in the Scriptures, pray. Pray as if your life depends upon it. Pray for your spouse; pray with your spouse. Pray for your children; pray with your children. Pray for your priest, your parish, your Church, and your community. Just Pray!
All three – Prayer, Fasting, Almsgiving – must be an integral part of our Lenten Journey to Mount Calvary. For all three encourage, enable, and empower us, by God’s Grace received, to ‘take up our Cross & follow Him’.
Lenten Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament
Thank you to those who have signed up and committed to spend time each weekday of Lent with the Eucharist in prayer. Thank you for being on-time so that the previous person can depart. Even if you did not sign up for a committed hour, you are most welcome to stop in and spend some time with Jesus Christ, Truly Present – Body & Blood, Soul & Divinity. We ask everyone to use the east side door (St Mary entrance) when you enter and to sanitize your spot upon leaving (there are spray bottles by the entrance). Due to the pandemic, Holy Family will not be putting out Bibles, reading materials, rosaries, etc. Please bring your own. If you need materials, the office has some limited items that might be of assistance to you. I’m looking forward to this Grace-filled time as a parish family together.
Holy Family, Protected and Led by St Joseph, Pray for us.
~ Fr Jeremy M. Gries