Friday, April 4, 2014

7 Quick Takes: At the Foot of the Cross

I found a new favorite band.  This song has been good listening for Lent:
But then there is also this one and this one and this one
I want to sit in an Irish pub and tap my toes while they sing and I drink a good beer. 
They might not be beer drinking people, but we all love Jesus, 
and I bet they would let me sing along, even if I am a Catholic heathen.


It has been good to reread the Gospel accounts of Jesus' last week before Easter with my Young Adult Bible Study this month.  We are prepping for Holy Week and the Triduum, and have been unpacking some details, drawing Old Testament Comparisons, and bringing who we are and what we would have done as an early disciple of Christ.  My favorite discussion this week involved Peter and Judas.
Both followed Christ and were His friend.
Both were shown truths of the Kingdom.
Both were warned of their coming failures.
Both were weak when they should have been strong.
Both hurt someone that they loved.
Both regretted what they had done.

Why is it then that one is a Saint, and for the other it would have been better if he had never been born?

Judas repented, but to himself and to the chief priests and elders.
Peter repented, and returned to God at his first chance.
Judas gave into despair, and took matters into his own hands.
Peter held onto hope, and ran to the Risen Christ, not away from Him.
Two men. Same Christ. 
Last weekend I was able to attend my Parish's Lenten retreat, which was titled "At the Foot of the Cross."   It was a lovely, well planned, peaceful day to remember that Lent is about being drawn closer to Christ.
I very much wish I would have taken pictures of the way the ladies decorated the tables for the brunch.  It can be hard to "decorate" for Lent- keeping it simple, meaningful, and still beautiful.  They combined real "crowns" of thorns, burlap runners, small candles, and little bits of purple.  It wasn't overdone, and it brought peace to my heart to see the beauty of Lent come through.

I was blessed to be asked to speak for the At the Foot of the Cross Day of Reflection.  Now, I sometimes am asked to speak at various places, but it is usually to a group of teachers or catechists, and I talk about crafts.  This was much harder- not about kids, not about crafts, not about teaching... it took some stretching on my part.   I was asked to talk about Venerable Fulton J. Sheen, so I tied his life in with their theme.

Why do we stand at the foot of the Cross? What I have learned from Fulton Sheen:
1. Our Lord asked us to watch with him one hour.  
We are called to pray not because God needs anything from us, but because we are changed by worshiping him.  The same Christ Crucified is present in the Blessed Sacrament.
2. Our Mother is there.
Strong enough to say yes to the Father and become the Mother of God, and strong enough to watch Him suffer and die, Mary is strong enough to become our Mother, too.  She want to bring us closer and closer to her Son.
3. Our suffering is meaningless without His Suffering.
I admit that I know little of true suffering, but no suffering makes sense if nothing matters but this life.  If there is something more, if there is truth in the cross, if Christ's death offers us new life, than suffering is temporary and redemptive.

In Sheen's words: “Unless there is a cross in our lives, there will never be an empty tomb.
there is a crown of thorns, there will never be a halo of light.  Unless there is a Good Friday, there will never be an Easter Sunday.”

I wanted Sheen to speak in his own words during my talk, so I used several video clips of him.  Here are a few for each of the points in the talk:

 Have you been keeping up with Nancy's Lent Book Series?
It's not too late to pick up a great book to read this Lent.  Go visit her blog and read some of the guest posts for suggestions.  I have the honor of being included next week, so check back!

These Quick Takes were suppose to be about drawing closer to the Cross....but apparently it should be titled "7 Quick Takes: Katie blatantly plugs her minor public appearances."  We'll go with that theme, and I'll share this link that you might see if you attend Mass in the Diocese of Peoria this weekend.  Oh man.

Go visit Conversion Diary for more Quick Takes!

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