Ash Wednesday

 

 

 

Last year I wrote about Ash Wednesday and I thought I’d share that post again.

 

Ash Wednesday Symbol

 

“What are you giving up for Lent?” Ah yes, it’s that time of year again and that is the question I am sure to hear frequently. Many Catholics are still stuck in their childhood understanding of giving up something for lent (chocolates, soda, or some other food item) for no other reason than ‘hey, it’s Lent and it’s what we do.’ I thought this same way for most of my life and it has only been during the last few years that I have taken the time to begin to educate myself on what Lent truly is.

The name Lent is taken from the Old English word for spring, lencten. The word Lent (much like the word Easter) is only used in English speaking countries; most other languages use a word that is derived from the Latin term Quadragesima (the forty days”). In Spanish it’s  cuaresma, Portuguese- quaresma, French- carême, Italian- quaresima, so on and so forth.

According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

Jesus’ temptation reveals the way in which the Son of God is Messiah, contrary to the way Satan proposes to him and the way men wish to attribute to him. This is why Christ vanquished the Tempter for us: “For we have not a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tested as we are, yet without sinning.” By the solemn forty days of Lent the Church unites herself each year to the mystery of Jesus in the desert.  –CCC540

lent_icon-728505

During this time we are all called to fast, give alms, and to pray more. By fasting we give up something. That might be the television, internet, some type of food, a vice, or something else that we enjoy doing. By giving alms we are giving something to others. That might be money, possessions, or time to a charity, or some other way in which we can give of ourselves above and beyond what we do the rest of the year. By praying we are “lifting our hearts to the Lord,” and I know that we could all spend a bit more time in prayer than we do on a regular basis.

Earlier today I found an entry at the USCCB’s blog written by Msgr. Richard Hilgartner that I highly recommend you take a moment to read for yourself. It can be found here.

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7 Quick Takes (Saint Nicholas Edition)

— 1 —

St.-Nick

Today, December 6th, is the feast day of Saint Nicholas. You probably know him better as “Santa Claus.”

— 2 —

He was born around the year 270 AD and died around 343 AD.  When he was young, both of his parents died, and he used the wealth that his parents had left him to “secretly” help those in need.  There are several stories of the wonderful acts of kindness that he did for those in need.

— 3 —

Saint Nicholas would later go on to become the Bishop of Myra (now known as Demre).

— 4 —

Nichols-Punch-Meme

One of the main topics that The First Ecumenical Council of Nicea (325) addressed Arianism.  This was a heretical teaching by a priest named Arius who wrongly taught that Jesus was not fully divine and was a mere creature like the rest of us.  During Arius’ exposition of this belief, Jolly St. Nick had heard all he could of this nonsense,  got up and punched Arius in the face.

— 5 —

Emperor Constantine was in attendance at the Council of Nicea and after witnessing St. Nick sucker punch Arius, he and the other Bishops had Nicholas stripped of his office as Bishop of Myra, and confiscated his personal copy of the Gospels (remember books weren’t easy to come by back in the 4th century) and his pallium.

— 6 —

St. Nick’s story doesn’t end there.  According to tradition:

“…after Nicholas was deposed, the Lord Jesus Christ and the Blessed Virgin Mary visited Nicholas who was being held in a prison cell for his fist-fight with the heretic.

Our Lord Jesus Christ asked Saint Nicholas, “Why are you here?” Nicholas responded, “Because I love you, my Lord and my God.”

Christ then presented Nicholas with his copy of the Gospels. Next, the Blessed Virgin vested Nicholas with his episcopal pallium, thus restoring him to his rank as a bishop.

When the Emperor Constantine heard of this miracle, he immediately ordered that Nicholas be reinstated as a bishop in good standing for the Council of Nicea. Today we recite the Nicene Creed every Sunday so we know how the controversy played out. The bishops at Nicea sided with Saint Nicholas and Saint Athanasius and they condemned Arius as a heretic. To this very day, we still recite in the Creed that Christ is “God from God, Light from Light, True God from True God, begotten not made, consubstantial with the Father.””

— 7 —

And I thought I’d just add my favourite Saint Nicholas memes I’ve seen around the interwebs.  Enjoy!

St.-Nick2 St.-Nick3 St.-Nick4

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

This Lenten Season

household cleaner with rubber gloves bucket and sponge..

During this Lenten season I am doing the one thing I detest doing more than anything else. I will be working my way through my house and giving it a deep cleaning, boxing up everything that we don’t use and/or need, and I will be doing it all with joy.  At least I will be attempting to do it with joy and thanksgiving.

It might take me the entire 40-ish days to get my house where it ought to be, but once I am finished I will be glad that I have my house looking clean and happy to know that I was able to give boxes upon boxes of clothing, kitchen paraphernalia, and what not to those who need them more than we do.  We don’t need most of the stuff in my house and I will be glad to live a much simpler life with out so much clutter.

I am also reading a devotional entitled, “Bringing Lent Home with Mother Teresa: Prayers, Reflections, and Activities for Families.”  It’s not overly deep – unlike the things I’ve read in the past few years during Lent, but I love how it has something to talk about with your children everyday and suggestions for things that they can give up and do for others every single day. And if I can get my children involved in a devotional and more prayer it’s a great thing.

Peace and blessings to all of you!

Ash Wednesday

Ash Wednesday Symbol

“What are you giving up for Lent?” Ah yes, it’s that time of year again and that is the question I am sure to hear frequently. Many Catholics are still stuck in their childhood understanding of giving up something for lent (chocolates, soda, or some other food item) for no other reason than ‘hey, it’s Lent and it’s what we do.’ I thought this same way for most of my life and it has only been during the last few years that I have taken the time to begin to educate myself on what Lent truly is.

The name Lent is taken from the Old English word for spring, lencten. The word Lent (much like the word Easter) is only used in English speaking countries; most other languages use a word that is derived from the Latin term Quadragesima (the forty days”). In Spanish it’s  cuaresma, Portuguese- quaresma, French- carême, Italian- quaresima, so on and so forth.

According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

Jesus’ temptation reveals the way in which the Son of God is Messiah, contrary to the way Satan proposes to him and the way men wish to attribute to him. This is why Christ vanquished the Tempter for us: “For we have not a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tested as we are, yet without sinning.” By the solemn forty days of Lent the Church unites herself each year to the mystery of Jesus in the desert.  –CCC540

lent_icon-728505

During this time we are all called to fast, give alms, and to pray more. By fasting we give up something. That might be the television, internet, some type of food, a vice, or something else that we enjoy doing. By giving alms we are giving something to others. That might be money, possessions, or time to a charity, or some other way in which we can give of ourselves above and beyond what we do the rest of the year. By praying we are “lifting our hearts to the Lord,” and I know that we could all spend a bit more time in prayer than we do on a regular basis.

Earlier today I found an entry at the USCCB’s blog written by Msgr. Richard Hilgartner that I highly recommend you take a moment to read for yourself. It can be found here.