Lenten reflections

Last Sunday we had another golden opportunity to attend eleven o’clock Mass at St. Paul’s in Flour Bluff.

I told Steven that I intended to take photos afterwards, since the stained- glass windows are particularly dramatic when the sun brightens the otherwise unlit sacred space.

St. Paul the Apostle Church

We were active parishioners at
St. Paul’s for two-and-a-half years before returning to our home parish here at St. Joseph’s.  Still, we continue to be drawn there for a number of reasons.

Regardless of the time that passes between visits, we’re always welcomed with smiles and hugs as if we’d never left.  We continue to be an integral part of our Why Catholic? family.  We’re also invited to participate in special Masses, prayer meetings, pilgrim rosaries, and— three days this week— the Lenten mission.

Still, what initially beckoned years ago is what tugs at my heartstrings most of all.

St. Paul’s devotion to the Holy Infant of Prague.

Moreover, as recently as two Sundays ago I discovered yet another reason for the church being so uniquely special.

The stained-glass windows are St. Paul’s stations of the cross!

Lenten reflections

Originating in Jerusalem in the fourth century, these Lenten reflections are more than a permanent visual journey with Jesus through the most harrowing time of his life.  These depictions— when we make the time to look, ponder, and truly internalize— are a constant reminder of the crosses that we, too, must proactively engage as we make our way (back) to God.

What matters most in the stations of the cross is to follow Jesus Christ in his passion and to see ourselves mirrored in him.  To face life’s dark side in ourselves and in our world, we need images of hope; and Jesus offers images of hope in his passion.  By accompanying him on the way of the cross, we gain his courageous patience and learn to trust in God who delivers us from evil (Passionist Missionaries, 2002).

                

               

               

               

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Prayers

Before the crucifix…  Most High, glorious God, enlighten the darkness of my heart.  Give me, Lord, a correct faith; a certain hope; a perfect charity, sense, and knowledge that I may carry out your holy and true command.

Holy cross…  We adore your most holy cross, Lord Jesus, for it is the sign of your love.

Through the power of your most precious blood, cleanse us from all our sins and protect us from every Satanic influence.  May a river of peace and reconciliation flow from this place into the parish community, into the Church and into the entire world.  Bless and call into heaven all those who have built this cross.  Bless all those who have prayed before this cross and those who will pray before it, for they are listening to Mary, your mother, who is calling us to pray before the cross because many graces are coming from it.

Be blessed, O Jesus, for by your holy cross you have redeemed us for eternal life.  Amen.   

Jesus Christ crucified…  My good and dear Jesus, I kneel before you, asking you most earnestly to engrave upon my heart a deep and lively faith, hope, and charity with true repentance for my sins and a firm resolve to make amends.

As I reflect upon your five wounds and dwell upon them with deep compassion and grief, I recall, good Jesus, the words the prophet David spoke long ago concerning you: “They have pierced my hands and my feet; they have counted all my bones.”

April 15, 2014

“The remembrance of the most holy passion of Jesus Christ is the door through which the soul enters into intimate union with God, interior recollection, and most sublime contemplation” (St. Paul of the Cross).

September 14, 2014

The glory of the cross… has enlightened all those who were blinded by ignorance.  It has set free all those who were slaves of sin.  It has redeemed the whole human race (St. Cyril of Jerusalem).

March 31, 2015

We must not let our hearts be hardened.  Let us make Calvary echo with the sound of our sobbing.  Let us weep bitter tears for our sins and turn against ourselves with a holy anger.  Let us break all our unworthy habits and leave behind our worldly lives.  Let us carry in ourselves the death of Jesus Christ (Bishop Jacques-Benigne Boussuet, 1627-1704).

April 3, 2015

In the cross we see that Jesus Christ is the victorious Lord” (Fr. Robert Barron).

October 17, 2015

He who died in place of us is the one object of my quest.  He who rose for our sake is my one desire (St. Ignatius of Antioch).

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Links of interest…  5 reasons you should love (not hate) St. Paul…  Easter/Lent (meditations)…  His heart was pierced for us…  Holy Week: 1st four days / Triduum…  Lent & Christ’s thirst for us…  Origin of the wood of the cross…  Pilate said to him…  Prayer before the cross / a crucifix…  Praying Lent…  Resurrection (YouTube)…  St. Francis…  St. Paul the Apostle Church: facebook / parishes online / website…  Stations of the Cross: about / devotions / fish eaters / for families / for kids / how to do / origins / prayers / printables / puppet show (YouTube) / significance / way of the cross…  Were women at the Last Supper…  Word on Fire (Fr. Barron)…

WP posts…  Bearing one’s crosses…  Beloved joyful priest…  Concrete abstraction…  Connected tangents…  Dear God…  Growing pains…  Lenten meditations…  Lenten resources…  Prayerful ways…  Revisiting St. Simon…  Seven dwelling places…  Simple yet profound…  Sweet Jesus…  Two angels…  Two letters…  Two prompt replies…  Venerable Margaret

6 Responses

  1. Great post again. I especially love your photos of the stained-glass windows. Wow.

    Happy Friday!

    • Hi, Matti! I’ve been alternating between Ostrich Head Mode and Octopus Mode since the beginning of March, which is why I haven’t visited your blog recently. And I continue to chase my shadow… still. Thanks ever so much for your lovely comments. Please know that, when I finally catch my breath, I’ll be checking out your terrific posts. Here’s wishing you and your beautiful Anja a happy day!

      • Hello Deli. Okay.

        I think that Beyond the Arctic Circle 10 is the first which you have not seen. In this post there is a Norwegian church in Kirkenes.

        Have a sunny day!

      • Hi again, dear Matti! It’s always good to hear from you… and, yes… I’ll be checking out your picturesque blog soon, since I’ve saved all the emailed post updates for future reference.

        Here’s wishing you and your beloved Anja a joyous Easter holiday!

  2. Ostrich head mode & octopus mode – had to comment on that! Love that expression – can picture it well.

    Easter doesn’t mean the same for everyone; but this was a very beautiful, dedicated post.

    • I could also have added Squawking Chicken Mode, Horse-with-blinders Mode, and more… and it would all have been “twue, twue, bewwy twue.”

      But, yes. All those fairy tales I’ve read over a lifetime have definitely impacted me.

      Thanks so much for your zesty comments!

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