Category Archives: Lent

Any Time is the Right Time

Today’s offerings in the Office of Readings speak to one of the pillars of Lent. We’re well past the midpoint of the season, but a timely reminder for renewal is always welcome. As the sainted pope of the fifth century … Continue reading

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That Word

Some years ago I wrote about “the universal music signature of Lent.” Here’s the citation from Paschale Solemnitatis: 18. Likewise from the beginning of Lent until the paschal Vigil, “Alleluia” is to be omitted in all celebrations, even on solemnities … Continue reading

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Variations on Ashes

When I was in grad school, my parish had a weekly Thursday night Mass. In the 70s it was a “test drive” for contemporary worship. By the 80s, it was popular around the city. Tonight, the community might still be … Continue reading

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When She Was Katie

In my reading on my parish’s patron saint, I discovered some interesting bits of trivia. Even as a girl, her inclination to keeping Lent was quite serious. Many years she gave up butter on her Lenten bread. I think I … Continue reading

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Forty Days

Image credit of the modern Judean Desert: By David Shankbone – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3417044 Time to break out the big book in this collection. While most users are moving bookmarks from Pentecost to Ash Wednesday, I find … Continue reading

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Thomas Merton On Ashes

The practice, sillies, not the song. From one of Neil’s essays thirteen Lents ago, a small excerpt from the Kentucky Trappist: (I)n laying upon us the light cross of ashes, the Church desires to take off our shoulders all other … Continue reading

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A Lenten Word: Daniel 3:41-43

And now we follow you with our whole heart, we fear you and we seek your face. Do not put us to shame, but deal with us in your kindness and great mercy. Deliver us in accord with your wonders, … Continue reading

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The Joseph Dispensation

So, some dioceses have recognized the importance of a liturgical solemnity, the level of celebration that bumps an ordinary Sunday off the ordo. During Lent all it might do is open the food gates. How does a Christian honor Saint … Continue reading

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A Lenten Word: 1 Peter 4:7b-8

Good counsel can be hard to swallow. Toward the end of a section written for early Christians under pressure, we read two useful bits of advice from an apostle who is certain “the end is near.” What end is that? … Continue reading

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A Lenten Word: Psalm 79:8-9

The seventy-ninth Psalm is a communal lament. It expresses alarm that invading foreigners have profaned the Temple and destroyed Jerusalem, the heart of Jewish faith and culture. The ancients interpreted disaster as divine disfavor. Over and over, the prophets cautioned … Continue reading

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A Lenten Word: Job 14:7-12

Chapters 12, 13, and 14 find Job responding to his friend Zophar. Toward the end of this third speech of his, he ponders a contrast. A plant might be cut back, but Job’s experience tells him that recovery, renewal, and … Continue reading

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Lent, Purim, Reliance on God

This week, we get a brief overlap in our Jewish and Catholic traditions. At Mass today, Esther’s prayer to God: God of Abraham, God of Isaac, and God of Jacob, blessed are you. Help me, who am alone and have … Continue reading

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A Lenten Word: Zechariah 1:3b-4

From the introduction of a larger work of a post-Exile prophet, we read of the intended mutuality between God and his people. This is covenant: Return to me, says the Lord of hosts, and I will return to you, says the Lord of hosts. … Continue reading

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A Lenten Word: Ezekiel 18:23

In our series on Reconciliation readings, we looked at today’s Bible passage here and here in a larger context, verses 20 through 32. In the Liturgy of the Hours, Psalms are primary, and readings outside of the Office of Readings … Continue reading

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A Lenten Word: from Isaiah 30:15

In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength. The context of Isaiah 30 is a prophet’s warning against making an ill-advised alliance with Egypt. The international politics of the ancient world … Continue reading

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