Lent: Adjust your clingy-ness!

“Because he clings to me I will deliver him…”
Psalm 91:14

Clingy… not the adjective that makes you want to say, “Yeah, I want to be CLINGY when I grow up!” Boyfriends/girlfriends can be clingy, friends can be clingy. Kids can be clingy to parents, usually when they’re really little. Parents can be clingy to children, usually when they atart to get a little older and more independent. But the reality is, we are all clingy. We all cling tightly to something. We all have things we can’t let go of… RESIST THE URGE TO START SINGING THAT SONG FROM FROZEN!!!

This beautiful verse above from Psalm 91 is one of my favorite verses in all of scripture. We spend a lot of time talking about issues, politics, news, history; all kinds of things that impact our lives as Christians in a world that no longer values the Gospel of Christ. And that’s important. But sometimes we forget that the Gospel is not simply something to argue about, it is supposed to reach deep into our heart and our spirit. This verse helps me with that; a lot.

On Wednesday, Ash Wednesday, we begin lent.  This year at Mass everyday, we are hearing readins from Cycle “b”, and these are some of my favorite Lenten readings. You’ll hear, if you go to daily Masses especially, this constant theme of God saying, “Hey, turn back to me, cling to me, and I will deliver you and save you.”

It is such and amazing reminder that Lent isn’t simply about  inflicting pain on yourself, or avoiding things you like. It is about taking a reality check about how “turned” is my soul towards God… How much do I cling to Him? Do I hold on to Him, His Word, His Ways, or when things get tough is He the first thing I forget about.

God never abandons anyone who clings tightly to Him. So maybe this Lent I can practice not clingl so tightly to my phone, to pizza, to my favorite TV shows, to my favorite video games, to less-than-holy habits, to ways I habitually treat people that are less than loving…

Maybe I can practice clinging to things like the Eucharist, both receiving Him and adoring him in the adoration chapel, to confession/reconciliation, to reading the Bible or other Holy writings, to going out of my way to break habits (except prayer or good habits, those can stay), cling to treating everyone, even the people who annoy me most, with only the GREATEST care… maybe I can cling tightly to these things.

Check this out, too:

Pope Francis Grace Corridor Bus Tour was a success!

High School students from St Louis Parish travelled up and down the Route 1 “Grace Corridor” on the Fairfax County Connector Bus with a life size “Pope Francis Cut-out”. Fr Zuberbueler and Alex Kubik accompanied them. We had a great time. Here are some photos from the event:

Lazarus… Come out!

So, a few take-aways from tonight’s discussion of the Joshua Movie…

  • If people have weird ideas about what it means to be Catholic, our first reaction is often to scoff at them, argue with them, mock them… which often times proves them right. If people have weird ideas about Mass, Eucharist, the Blessed Mother, Saints or other things Catholic – then sometime, somewhere, someone helped them arrive at those skewed ideas. So instead of being condescending or angry or indignant, what we really should do is SHOW THEM HOW IT’S DONE!!! You want to change people’s misconceptions about your Church?  Show them the real thing.
  • Some Catholics have been/are jerks. It’s true. It’s sad. Sometimes those people happen to be priests, nuns, etc… It makes our lives more difficult. Sometimes movies/media/friends/kids at school like to use this fact to discredit what we believe. I’ve met a lot of teachers who weren’t nice, and some who weren’t terribly smart or well educated. I’ve met some police officers who weren’t nice and who didn’t always obey the law. And there are scientists who are jerks, and many of whom have been very, very mistaken. But we don’t completely discredit all teachers, police, or scientists and all that these people believe or stand for because of a few who don’t practice what they preach or who got it wrong!!! I have one thing to say about Catholics who are not joyful, loving, giving people: #youredoingitwrong. Doesn’t mean everyone gets a free pass from going to mass on Sunday. Doesn’t mean the whole Catholic church is one big furry, mean monster…
  • What are the 2 really big hallmarks that set the early Christians apart, and also make us different from others around us?
    1. Jesus raised at least 3 people from the dead while he was doing His public ministry on Earth… Jairus’ daughter, a young man being carried to his burial, and Lazarus (this Sunday’s Gospel)… TRUE STORIES! Then, Jesus rose from the dead himself, also a true story. So we don’t fear death… which means we pretty much aren’t afraid of anything. If you believe your God and Savior holds absolute power over life and death, there isn’t a whole lot to be afraid of. And if you’re not afraid, then you can think clearly, and make good choices, because you can’t be swayed by fear. We can also fall back on this fact when we don’t know the answer to faith questions. In times when it’s easy to doubt the Church, the Scripture, or our Faith in Jesus, we simply remember that He rose from the dead, so even if we don’t have all the answers, we know they exist and we know He has them.
    2. Jesus loved others, enough to freely chose to die for them. Early Christians showed that kind of love and forgiveness, even to their persecutors. We can show that Love, too. Some people try and take cheap-shots at what we believe and what we do in Church by saying that “all we need to do is love” and all the external stuff is unnecessary. We know that going to Mass and Confession, participating in the life of the Church, is how we show love for God, and how He pours more of His Love into our hearts… so we can love others better. Loving others as God Loves them IS our obligation, it doesn’t release us from our obligations. In fact, it makes our obligations even MORE important, not less.
  • Our Church isn’t a Democracy, or a republic, or like any structure currently at work in society. Pope’s don’t get to just change things and get their own way. Neither do Bishops or priests. No person or small group of people is forcing us to do things their way. There is no way to get a petition signed and change Church teaching. We believe in some things called continuity and tradition. Our beliefs, customs, liturgical practices, and even our rules have been passed down over 2,000 years. Some minor implications have changed over time, but the basic truths are the same. It’s hard for people who are used to “let’s take a vote” to understand that. We should treat them with respect and compassion.
  • We have out work cut out for us when it comes to the impressions people have about us, who we are, what we believe, and why our Church is so different.

There’s more, but it’s late.