Think big

Time to stop worrying about the dust mites
and focus on the giants in the sky.

Reflections on the last day of Lent

If you made it this far, you’ve made it through the thick of the storm. If you really followed your Lenten sacrifices, you’ll come out of it stronger, more disciplined and, God-willing, with more grace going forward.

Lent is a time of emptying — purging things that hold us back from God — and tomorrow is the time of refilling our lives with the joy that comes from alignment with God.

If Lent was a marathon, the finish line is in sight. Stay steady, stay strong and tomorrow stay happy for He Is Risen. Amen.

A priest talks about Bob Dylan, Keith Richards, and the New Evangelization

Think about it: Jesus himself didn’t only associate with the religious, in fact it was some of the religious leaders of Jesus’ day who were the first to condemn Him.

Father Barron’s take on this makes me think of when Jesus was questioned as to why he dines with sinners:

“When the scribes of the Pharisee party saw him eating with sinners and tax collectors, they said to his disciples, ‘Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?’ When Jesus heard this he said to them, ‘It is not the healthy who need the doctor, but the sick. I came to call not the upright, but sinners.'” Mark 2:16-17

The point is that it’s easier to reach those who otherwise might never consider Scripture or Christianity by referencing sources that a wider audience can identify with.

This doesn’t mean we are to exemplify rock stars in the same light as saints, but the saints themselves had open minds and weren’t quick to condemn other ways of perceiving God and the universe. We are all in this together, and we can all learn from each other.

As a huge Bob Dylan fan myself, there’s also something to be said for Bob’s wide range of Christian songs being testimonials for the faith in and of themselves. (Side note: Contrary to popular belief, Bob didn’t given up his faith, in fact he continues to sing and write songs that delve in the spiritual, even if he isn’t still in the fervent “born-again” phase of years’ past).

There’s also something to be said for not passing judgement and assuming every rock star is some kind of raging evil-doer. Heck, we all sin. So to paraphrase Jesus, let the person without any sin cast the first stone.

Confession: begin again

I walk out of Church after confession today feeling brand new. My sins are wiped clean. I turn over a new leaf, begin fresh, stop worrying about the misdeeds of the past and focus on the the moment I am in, more prepared for the challenges of the future.

It’s hard to believe more Catholics don’t take advantage of this opportunity to have our sins, shortcomings and bugaboos cleansed with the full backing of the Catholic Church and saints.

Here is a chance to take everything that’s weighing on our souls and offer it all up to God.

And reconciliation can be more than just recounting our sins, asking for forgiveness, and performing penance the priest assigns. It can be a time to seek counsel from the priest, to receive guidance from a holy man who understands the nature of the soul.

Some worry that the priest may judge them or that it may not look good that they keep returning to confess the same sins. But any good priest will tell you that it is normal for us to have the same sins reoccurring, and that the priest is not there to judge but to deliver the forgiveness of God and assign our penance. One priest told me that even the holiest of men sins seven times a day. We are all sinners, that is why we need Christ.

And for those who may be a little shy about confessing their deepest, darkest secrets to another, there is the option of sitting behind a screen to further enhance anonymity. Whether behind the screen or eye-to-eye with the priest, there is something freeing in the very act of venting our sins and troubles, airing them so that they are no longer trapped within us but set free, and then cleansed away with the power of a Sacrament.

We merely need a bit of courage to enter the confessional and an honest heart to confess our sins and free ourselves to experience the joy of Christianity.

And with Lent drawing near, there’s no better time to wipe the slate clean and start anew.