Tag Archives: Sacrifice

Monday Conversation: What will you do for Lent? Catholic Inspiration

Cross

The season of Lent offers a powerful opportunity for conversion, spiritual growth, and developing our relationships with the Lord and one another.  However, I also know that this season has a way of sneaking up on us.  Life moves fast, and we can get caught up in any number of tasks – missing the necessary preparation and perspective to get the most out of these 40 Days.

As a guide, I suggest starting with the “Fruits of the Spirit” that St. Paul writes about in his letter to the Galatians (5:22-23).  They are:

  • Love
  • Joy
  • Peace
  • Patience
  • Kindness
  • Goodness
  • Faithfulness
  • Gentleness
  • Self-Control

First, do we see these in our lives?  Are there people, situations, interactions, locations (home, work, school, community) where we see consistent evidence of their presence?  If so, then how can we help them flourish and grow?  How can we create more opportunities to allow the Spirit to work in our lives?

Second, are these absent in our lives?  Or worse, are their opposites present?  Is hatred, despair, turmoil, and the like alive in our hearts?  If so, how can we make the necessary changes to allow the Spirit into our lives?

Now here’s how this gets practical.  It is often customary during Lent to “do” something or “give up” something for these 40 days.  How about this…

  1. “Do” something that fosters the Fruits of the Spirit in my life.
  2. “Give up” something that is in conflict with the Fruits of the Spirit.

Where do we look?  Try this for starters…

  1. WHAT we do – the Activity
  2. WHO we do it with – the People
  3. WHERE we do it – the Location

“Doing” can include any number of things:

  • Helping a neighbor, family member or friend – in a spirit of kindness and gentleness
  • Drawing near to people who are spiritually good – who make us more loving and peaceful
  • Spending time on activities that help us use God’s talents in a good and holy way
  • Concentrating our efforts on opportunities where we know that God is present
  • Being in locations and situations that foster a strong and healthy life

“Giving up” can look like this:

  • Is there anything destructive, harmful, unholy, or evil that needs to be removed?
  • Are there people who are leading us to harm or destruction?
  • Are there locations, situations, or circumstances that are unholy for us?

Using the “Fruits of the Spirit” as a measurement, we can quickly reveal the pattern of our lives.  If it is spiritually fruitful, then we can strengthen this.  If it is spiritually destructive, then perhaps this season of Lent gives us an opportunity to give it up and start directing our lives in better ways.

Furthermore, Lent has classic opportunities for Study, Prayer, and Service:

Study: Scripture, the Catechism, a Devotional, Spiritual Reading

Prayer: Mass, Confession, Rosary, Scripture, Devotions, Stations of the Cross

Service: at home, the neighborhood, the community, the Church

God keeps inviting, keeps forgiving, and keeps extending grace and mercy to all who seek it.  Now is the time to get ready for a powerful Lent – where we turn to Jesus and allow His grace to transform our hearts.  Give serious thought to what you can do to make this season special, and open your to heart to Jesus Christ.

What will you do?  What will you give up?  Make it a great Lent!

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Archive of Fr. Andrew’s Podcasts

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Note: This post was originally published on February 26, 2014.


Daily Mass: The martyrdom of St. Stephen. Catholic Inspiration

With the joy of Christ’s birth ringing in the air we celebrate today the death of St. Stephen, the first martyr.  Why?  To help us see the connection between the Christ’s birth and saving death as we offer our lives for the Lord.  Thus, the Christmas spirit gives us hope to face the sacrifices of this life with the conviction that the Jesus Christ will guide and lead us to Heaven.

Mass Readings – Feast of Stephen, first martyr

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Archive of Fr. Andrew’s Podcasts


Daily Mass: Elijah, John the Baptist and Jesus. Catholic Inspiration

The Lord explains how Elijah returned in the person of John the Baptist, and then Jesus goes on to say how he will suffer just like John.  As we draw near to the Feast of Christmas, we remember how God so loved the world he gave His only Son…to teach us how to offer our lives for one another.

Mass Readings – Saturday of the 2nd Week of Advent

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Archive of Fr. Andrew’s Podcasts

Photo Credit: Son of God, 2014.


The Exaltation of the Holy Cross. Catholic Inspiration

Mass Readings – Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross

How many times throughout our lives have we made the sign of the Cross?  Stop and think:  at Mass; meal prayers; morning & evening prayers; special gatherings; and moments of blessing and grace.  This simple action, which we teach to children at an early age, invokes a connection with the passion of Jesus.

We adorn our homes with the Cross.  A crucifix is a common gift to a new home; they are placed in bedrooms and common areas as a reminder that Jesus is the source of our help and strength.

We adorn ourselves with the Cross in many ways:  a crucifix on a chain; a cross in our pocket; earrings; rings; bracelets; and all the extra cards, bookmarks, figurines, and miscellaneous items that remind us that Jesus died on a Cross.

The Paschal Mystery – the death and resurrection of Christ – speaks to the heart of our  faith.  Out of love for us God sent Jesus, who gave his life on the Cross that we might have eternal life.  Through his suffering and death, we recognize that God has made a pathway possible that we might all journey through this life to the gates of Heaven.

The Cross teaches us many lessons:
* Life is difficult, and at times painful
* Weakness and sin are part of our experience
* God identifies with our pain
* God dies that we might have life

At the core of our teaching the Cross stands as the testament of God’s love for us.  On one hand the Cross is an embarrassment – after all, why would God (all powerful, all knowing, supreme) choose to be humiliated?  Does that not mean that God is weak?  Why could God not take away our sins in a way that showed majesty and splendor?

Yet on the other hand, the Cross is a statement that God meets us where we are in life.  In our weakness, in our humiliation, in our low moments of doubt and sin God comes to us.  Jesus, like us in every way but sin, understands our pain because through his Cross he shares in the suffering of the world.  He knows us, and loves us even more.

Every time we make the sign of the Cross may we recall what the Lord endured for us.  May the Cross be our strength as we trust in God’s love, and may we seek to follow that love as we journey through this life toward the world to come.

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Archive of Fr. Andrew’s Podcasts


Daily Mass: Measuring the gift of our lives. Catholic Inspiration

Mass Readings – Saturday of the 9th Week of the Year

What if the gift of our lives was not measured by time or money, but rather by the sacrifice in our hearts?  That’s the lesson the Lord reveals about the poor widow in the Gospel today.

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Good Friday

Study:  Where have I made sacrifices in my life?  What do these sacrifices reveal about my values and priorities?

Pray:  Reflect on those who are suffering right now.  Draw near to them in your prayer, asking the Lord to give them strength.

Serve:  Who is carrying a cross in your life today?  How can you help them?

Mass Readings – Good Friday

Fr. Andrew’s Homily Podcast (10 minutes, given at Cathedral on April 3, 2015)

For what would you give your life?  For who?

Perhaps this is too extreme as a starting point.  Perhaps the first question should be where in my life have I made consistent sacrifices?  Where in my life have I given up something because I believed in something more important?

Sacrifices reveal the depth and character of our heart.  They show our values, principles, and convictions in straightforward and direct ways.  Our sacrifices quickly point out the hidden parts of our soul – either to be confirmed/denied by the words we speak – and proclaim to others our inner self.

In general sacrifice means giving our lives – sometimes in simple service, minor inconveniences, labors of love, seasons of selflessness, or in extreme cases: offering our lives.  We make sacrifices all the time.

So did Christ.

As we read the Passion of the Lord today we discover the love Christ has for every human soul; the Lord willingly hung upon the Cross for our sins – sacrificing his innocent life for the pains and hurts we have inflicted upon one another.  His sacrifice reveals his love for us (even on our worst days) as something so precious that it is worth all the pain and humiliation that the devil could provide.

Where do we see ourselves in the Passion?  What crosses have we been given to carry – participating in some small way with the Cross of Christ?  Or are we like Simon of Cyrene or Veronica – assisting with others in their own journey to Calvary?  Are we making sacrifices or offering support for others in their need?  We read the Passion every year on Good Friday to remind ourselves not only of what the Lord has done for us, but also that we, too, have a part to play.  Our crosses participate in the Cross of Christ; our support for one another shares in the comfort which others offered to Jesus.

May this Good Friday drive us to our knees – thanking the Lord for what he did for us, and inspiring us to walk willingly with others in their need.

This post was originally published on April 3, 2015

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Walking with the Lord in Holy Week (March 9-12, 2015 – Our Lady of the Valley – Green Valley, AZ) This parish mission takes the listener on a journey with Christ – from his entry into Jerusalem, through the Last Supper, his Passion, and his Resurrection.


Palm Sunday: an offering to God. Catholic Inspiration

Mass Readings – Palm Sunday

Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross reveals the value God places on human life and inspires us to share our lives as an offering back to God.

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Archive of Fr. Andrew’s Podcasts