Sister Katherine Jean Cowan, OP shares Lenten reflections. From Ash Wednesday to Holy Thursday, may we engage together in an enriching and fulfilling spiritual journey.
Lent is upon us once again!
The story is told of a sculptor chipping away at a block of marble to shape a rather magnificent lion. A small boy wandering by stopped in fascination. After some time he asked the sculptor, “How do you get the lion out of there?” The sculptor’s response was simple, “I chip away all that is not lion.”
Lent should involve us in a process that chips away at something that keeps us from being the person God intends us to be. Viewed this way, our Lenten practice will make us more genuine people by Easter. This may involve a relationship we need to work on, visiting a friend or relative we tend to ignore, spending more family time, taking a good look at our prayer life, taking better care of ourselves.
Whatever the practice we choose it should bring about a permanent change in us; it is not something we are to abandon as we sing the Easter alleluias. Next year we then move on to chip away at something else.
March 6, Ash Wednesday
The first reading of today’s Mass reminds us that our God is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, rich in kindness, and relenting in punishment. A leading Old Testament scholar has said that this is the best definition of God we have. How might our Lent be different if this were the God we walked with through and beyond Lent?
March 10, First Sunday of Lent
In today’s Gospel Luke reminds us of the temptations to worldly things that surround us: comfort, power, wealth. With each temptation Jesus draws us back to our core: our God and Father. Lent is a time to deepen this relationship. Perhaps the single phrase, “My Lord and My God,” might carry us through the week.
March 17, Second Sunday of Lent
Peter shows himself in the multiple aspects of his personality in this Gospel account: fascinated by the dazzling garments, dosing off, confused, uttering he is not sure what. In the midst of this is the voice of the Father: “This is my chosen Son; listen to him.” What we must carry into our week are these words addressed yes to Jesus, but also to us. Peter and each of us are always the chosen ones of God. May we live out of this truth this week.
March 19: Feast of St. Joseph
For a man about whom we know so little, this silent figure of the Gospel has inspired deep devotion in the hearts of many. Joseph’s silence marks the attentive care he took of Mary and Jesus. His was the privilege of teaching Jesus his rich Jewish heritage and sharing with him his carpenter’s trade. Whom do we mentor?
March 24. Third Sunday of Lent
Depending on the Mass you attend this Sunday, we will hear one of two Gospels, often that of the Samaritan Woman because of the focus on those preparing for Baptism at Easter.
The Samaritan Woman
There is a fair amount of energy in this Gospel passage both in the dialogue between Jesus and the woman and the woman’s interactions with her community. At the conclusion of the passage, her community has come to believe not simply because of the witness of the woman but also because of their experience of Jesus. As we walk through our week, let us dialogue with Jesus about the difference he makes in our life.
March 25: Feast of the Annunciation
Starting with this scene between Mary and the Archangel Gabriel, Mary has become a model of our call to accept God’s action in our lives. But remember she did this very much aware of who she was: “How can this happen since I know not man?” She said “yes” while playing no games. This is our call, too—it is easier said than done.
The Parable of the Fig Tree
Here we are confronted with the frustration of the owner of the vineyard who no longer has patience that his trees that bear no fruit and the concern of the gardener who despite his three years of fruitless labor still wants to give the trees another chance. May the coming week gives us several chances to spend time with our gardener God who is boundlessly patient with us.
March 31: Fourth Sunday of Lent
As last week we may hear one of two gospels at our Sunday Eucharist.
The Man Born Blind
Early in this account before we are caught up in the several shifting scenes, Jesus absolves the man born blind from any guilt for his condition and identifies himself as the light of the world. The Jews of the time readily identified illness or weakness with an individual’s sinfulness. Today we are often trapped into a belief system that says perfection of the desired goal. Jesus then as now assures us that in our weakness we will truly find him. Let us as our week unfolds claim not only our weaknesses but also our God’s incredible love for us no-strings-attached.
Parable of the Prodigal Son
The parable is dominated by three figures: the father giving into the greed of his young son, yet welcoming him home; the younger son running off only to learn of his father’s gentle love; and the older son who does not understand the forgiveness or the open-heartedness of his father. The challenge of the week is to determine whom we walk with at this stage of our life: the son who wants it all, but has the good sense to return home; the father who embraces us at every step of our journey; the elder son who still does not understand the give-and-take of life.
In this Lenten season, you are welcome to join us for various events, retreats, and workshops. You can view our Events calendar here.