Good morning from the Marian Center! Take this quick test to determine if you’re ready for this morning’s Cause of Our Joy: Coffee or tea? Comfortable place to sit? A whole lotta love for Jesus and His Mother, Mary? If you can say “yes” to all three, then you’re ready to go!
All silliness aside, we are excited to bring you this newest edition of Cause of Our Joy. As Bob Dylan sang, “The times they are a changin’,” and we are literally feeling that these days. Yes, we set clocks back tonight (don’t forget!), but what we’re really thinking about has a broader scope.
It is true that things are changing. It does seem that the world situation feels rather dark right now. The headlines in the news and the stories from parishes across our state and country aren’t so good. All of this is true. But, we are a hope-filled people, even during Lent!
Our goal this Saturday is to acknowledge the times we are living in and offer some hope as we travel together through this season of penance.
So, without further ado, let’s get into this!
Hope in the Midst of Darkness
“We are afflicted in every way, but not constrained; perplexed, but not driven to despair.” — 2 Corinthians 4:8
At first thought it might seem counterintuitive, but Lent is a time full of hope! All of our fasting, dying to self, and sacrifices are precisely because we are hopeful with the expectation that God will fulfill His promise to us! Sure, Lent isn’t a time of all-out rejoicing, but it IS a time of hope!
This 5 minute video from Ascension Presents features Fr. Mike Schmitz addressing the theological virtue of hope and why it’s necessary for us now!
Kendra Tierney at Catholic All Year has some tips for praying the Stations of the Cross.
For a guide to 4 popular devotional tools to use during Lent, check out this blog post. If you’d like to place an order, give us a call as we have many of the items mentioned in stock at the Marian Center.
We’ve Been Here Before
When things seem especially dark in the Church and the world, it’s good to remember that this isn’t the first time in history when things seemed so bleak. In Medieval times, the Church in Europe was filled with clerical corruption and warring factions. What army and what weapons were helped to restore order?
It was an army of monks that helped bring peace and renewal of holiness to every person in society- king, pope, and peasant – by dedicating themselves to the liturgy. Pope Benedict XVI spoke about this great movement that restored peace and virtue to Europe in a General Audience from November 2009.
How to Combat the Darkness
Lastly, there is good news for us today! Lent is actually the answer to what we can do to combat the darkness! If you are struggling with despair, either for personal reasons or because of the current cultural climate, this article from Catholic Exchange gives good practical tips.
If our focus is hope this week is hope, then the story of Lepanto is a home run! Combine dark and perilous times with Our Lady and the rosary and you’ve got a stunning (and true) story of hope! This article from Fr. George Rutler outlines how when it seemed as if things couldn’t get worse, Our Lady and the rosary win the battle!
According to the old calendar, March 12, is the Feast of Pope St. Gregory the Great. He was called the great because he was a kind man, the servant of servants. To learn more about this meek and holy man, follow this link.
In the First Reading, we hear about how the Lord led His people out of Egypt when they cried out to Him. They had endured persecution, hard labor and oppression for years. The Lord was faithful to His people and used his mighty power to save them. The Lord is true to His Word. During these times when we feel like the pain and suffering of our families, our Church, our nation, we need only remember that the Lord will be faithful to us, if we but call out to him and trust His mercy.
Dr. Scott Hahn does a great job reflecting on this reading and connecting it to the Gospel.
Sunday’s Gospel focuses on the temptations of Christ while in the desert. We found a wonderful reflection by Jeff Cavins on Christ’s temptations.
Katie Moe and Lori Mercer
Marian Center Update