I hear from so many people that they think Lent is the most difficult time during our Liturgical Year. I get that, I really do. But at the same time, I think that there is something beautiful in finding peace within suffering. There is something life changing in letting silence enter our lives to try to process, even just a little bit, the suffering, offering and love that Jesus gave to us by dying on the cross for our sins.
I have been doing a lot of my own suffering lately as I have been carrying the cross that God has asked of our family with the loss of our son Samuel, as we experienced a miscarriage. So I think, what can I do this Lent to bring that suffering to Him, how can I bring my suffering to unite with Jesus at the cross?
We are all hurting in one way or another, and our job is not to compare our sufferings with others, but to bring them to God and to be a support to each other through this time. Our job is to be quiet enough, and give ourselves enough time and space to really listen to God and what he is asking of us and then trust what he has planned for our lives.
Can we give God silence each day this Lent? Through prayer, in adoration, or in listening to Him through scripture?
I am learning that bringing the Church into our domestic home is not always about having activities, but learning how we witness our faith to our spouses and children through our daily actions and words.
Nicole Ernest is loving living out her vocations as a Catholic wife and mother. Nicole resides in Nebraska with her husband and their lovable, energy filled boys. Nicole shares about living the liturgical year, homeschooling and marriage/ family life at her blog Children of the Church. Nicole is thrilled to be a part of Catholic Blogger Network!
The word persecution tends to be misused today. Either people try to limit its use to the great atrocities of world history (such as the Holocaust or the Ethnic Cleansing), or use it as an epithet when a person happens to oppose their position (such as the rhetoric used by proponents of “same sex marriage”). Both would be misuses because:
1) Persecution is not limited to genocide 2) Persecution is not mere opposition.
Why These Two Cases Misapply the Word Persecution
The first case is a misuse because this confuses what a persecution is (definition) with the level of injustice directed at a person because of his or her religion, ethnicity or political outlook. When this confusion is made, it basically says, “You’re not being persecuted because what you’re going through is not severe enough to count.” Yes, genocide of people of a religion or race is a persecution, but there can be less drastic forms intending to cause harm to a person which are persecution, but fall short of mass murder.
The second case is a misuse because this confuses mere opposition to a person’s views or behavior with maltreating them on account of those who hold them. For example, when I meet an atheist who is virulently anti-Catholic, I may think he’s a bigot or an idiot if he’s obnoxious enough about it. But I don’t assume he is persecuting me simply on the grounds that he thinks my views or actions are wrong. It’s only if he goes from opposition to seeking to mistreat me on account of my beliefs that opposition can become persecution. When being opposed by someone who thinks your ideas are wrong and seeks to pass laws which support what they think is right, that’s not persecution. But when someone seeks to use the law to target someone who holds certain beliefs with the aim of punishing them for holding those beliefs and living in accordance with them, that is persecution.
So, the state not recognizing “same sex marriage” is not a persecution of people with same sex attraction. Nor is outlawing abortion a persecution of women. Such laws do not seek to punish people for having same sex attraction or being a woman They face no legal maltreatment for being a person with same sex attraction or being a woman. However, a judge who rules that it is illegal for a person who refuses to provide services on the grounds that he or she believes that to do so is to cooperate with moral evil is persecuting the person. He or she can either abandon their moral convictions or face repercussions….
Now that Lent is upon us, I am ready to make it a good one. So I have my books to read, my devotions to pray, etc… But last night after attending Stations of the Cross, I was filled with thoughts of Jesus’ suffering then, and our own suffering now. I thought – where in nature could I find what my heart was feeling? And I had my answer: The Badlands.
A few years ago, Tom and I were blessed to be able to visit South Dakota. We packed up the car and drove to Rapid City where we spent a week enjoying that beautiful part of the country. We stopped at Badlands National Park and thoroughly enjoyed it. In some places, the land was so rocky and dry I felt like I was walking on the moon. In other areas there was a bit of grass poking out here and there, before the landscape would change again to fields of grass with bison and prairie dogs. It was truly an awe-inspiring place.
Forgive others – Not so easy a task now is it? What stops us from being able to forgive others who have hurt us? Today is Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent, a time set aside for us to repent, pray and give alms. To repent means that we are sorry for what we have done wrong. To repent is to ask for forgiveness. Yet, if we really listen to the words from the Our Father, where we recite “Forgive us our trespasses AS we forgive those who have trespassed against us,” what we are really asking is to be forgiven to the extent that we forgive others. That word AS may be a little word, but it carries a big punch. Can any of us really say that we have forgiven others to the extent that we would want to be forgiven? Read more…