The beginning of Lent is almost upon us. And while it may seem that you just took down your Christmas tree, before you know it, it will be Ash Wednesday. Lent is time for prayer, fasting and alms-giving. It’s time to take a look at how we’re doing spiritually and make changes so that we can grow closer to God. But that can be a hard task to go at alone. Want to make this your holiest Lent ever? Father William Casey’s latest book, Making a Holy Lent can help tackle areas in our life where we need to grow.
1. PrayerREAD MORE
“Be still and know that I am God.”—Psalm 46:10
Our life on earth could be compared to a tread-mill; it can be monotonous yet it never stands still. What is true on the physical level can also be said of the spiritual. If we do not ‘continue to go forward’ with Jesus we will ‘fall off the tread-mill’. Therefore everyday we must honestly evaluate whether we are growing closer to Christ or making compromises and readjust from there. Further, just as our daily routine can become burdensome and monotonous, so also our prayer life can feel this way. Although it may seem like nothing is happening when we pray and nothing is changing in our circumstances yet in faith we know that God is providing for our deepest needs and is keeping us afloat ‘on the treadmill’. Our relationship with God is strengthened when we are faithful to His commandments and to prayer. May we embrace the invitation He offers us through Eucharistic Adoration.
An image of a mother pelican with her chicks is carved into the capital on top of a pillar at the Cenacle, the upper room on Mount Zion in Jerusalem where tradition holds that Jesus shared the Last Supper with his apostles and instituted the Eucharist.
It is the only artwork in the entire room, and it is singularly appropriate because it is a symbol for Jesus and the Eucharist. Mother pelicans lay their eggs in a nest, and after the chicks hatch, the mothers leave the nest to hunt for food, return and feed the chicks. Many birds feed their young with worms. Pelicans usually live near the water, and their prey tend to be small fish, frog tadpoles, crayfish or salamanders.READ MORE
“Be still and know that I am God.”—Psalm 46:10
Perhaps Adoration can seem counter-intuitive. All day long at work and in school we are expected to pay attention and to be productive. We can even begin to measure success by how much we are able to accomplish. Understandably then, coming into a silent chapel and sitting before God in the Eucharist can seem to go against everything within us. Yet, God teaches us that to receive we do not have to do or give anything, we simply need to be open. God’s grace is not earned but it is not “cheap” either. He asks only for a heart ready to receive the good things He has in store for us.
In previous meditations we have addressed the fascinating topic of the fruits of the Eucharist, although not in an exhaustive form because, how can we cover something so unspeakable? However, we can outline some basic concepts that may be helpful for the faithful.
We will only address this vast subject of the Eucharistic mystery in what the fruits of sacramental communion is concern.
To receive Jesus, the Bread of Life, is the immediate object of the institution of the sacrament. "Take and eat", "take and drink", "Do this in memory of me": This is the formal mandate of Christ at the Last Supper, before His passion and death. It is clear that communion implies worship, as both go together.READ MORE
“Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things unseen.”—Hebrews 11:1
It is difficult to imagine how glorious Heaven will be. St. Paul says, “What eye has not seen, and ear has not heard, and what has not entered the human heart, what God has prepared for those who love him” (1 Corinthians 2:9).We have small glimpses of the joys that await God’s faithful ones even on earth, but they are simply that— glimpses. We experience the joy of good food and this is a foreshadowing of Heaven as an eternal banquet. We experience the joy of love in human relationships and this foreshadows the joy of communing with the Triune God. One of the greatest joys of Heaven will be to behold the beauty of God, face to face. Yet even now, we have a glimpse of that glory when we pray before Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. The joys of Heaven will be truly amazing but God does not wait until Heaven to commune with us, He does so now through the Eucharist.
“O afflicted one, storm-tossed, and not comforted, behold I will set your stones in antimony, and lay your foundations with sapphires.”—Isaiah 54:11
There is a deep sense of peace in Jesus’ Eucharistic presence. This calm is perhaps most palpable when we feel storm-battered and worn thin from the cares of the world, work, and our family obligations. Jesus calls us to Himself especially when we feel close to drowning, when we feel the waves of adversity going far above our heads. In those moments, Christ addresses Himself to us in the same way that He addressed St. Peter, “Take heart it is I; have no fear.” (Matthew 14:27). Jesus takes us by the hand and provides the strength and courage we need to endure in trials. The peace of Christ brings healing and fortitude.