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Finding grace, even in the shadow of the cross

I’ve been in desperate need of some grace these days. So much so, that I pulled a tarnished silver necklace bearing the word “GRACE” out of my jewelry box and looked up a DIY silver cleaning recipe that verged on chemistry experiment to polish it up. It was as if that tangible, visible sign of grace hanging from around my neck might get me the real deal, or at least a little closer to it. Read more

Holy Thursday: “I have given you a model to follow.”

Holy Thursday stained glass“So when he had washed their feet and put his garments back on and reclined at table again, he said to them, “Do you realize what I have done for you? You call me ‘teacher’ and ‘master,’ and rightly so, for indeed I am. If I, therefore, the master and teacher have washed your feet, you ought to wash one another’s feel. I have given you a model to follow, so that as I have done for you, you should also do.”

–John 13: 12-15

Detail of stained glass window from the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Albany.

 

We each harbor at least a sliver of Judas

My reflection from Give Us This Day today:

I’ve always had a tiny bit of a soft spot for Judas Iscariot. I know. It sounds crazy at best, traitorous at worst, but it’s true. When I hear today’s Gospel and fast-forward in my mind to what I know is coming, I ache a little for what I have to assume was terribly misguided good intention on Judas’s part. Read more

Grace finds beauty in everything

“She carries a pearl
In perfect condition
What once was hurt
What once was friction
What left a mark
No longer stings

“Because Grace makes beauty
Out of ugly things

“Grace finds beauty
In everything

“Grace finds goodness
In everything.”  – U2, Grace

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Seven last words

Father forgive them, they know not what they do…

We see Jesus on the cross today and hear him forgiving his persecutors, forgiving us. It is a powerful scene, but it is more than just a scene out of our faith history. Jesus’ way is supposed to be our way. Forgive, forgive, forgive, even in the face of the most unreasonable suffering and injustice. Are we willing to forgive as Jesus did?

Today you will be with me in Paradise.

The “good thief” has always been a favorite of mine. Imagine in your last dying moment that you utter a few kind words and are assured by Jesus himself that you will be in heaven with him that day. It would be nice to assume that in that situation I would have taken the path of belief, like the good thief, but there is a much bigger part of me that probably would have been like the unrepentant thief, expecting mercy and miracles despite faithlessness.  Read more

Night Watch

The beauty and awe of the Mass of the Last Supper is behind us now. We are waiting and watching, trying — perhaps unsuccessfully, like the apostles — to stay awake with the Lord. Tomorrow will bring suffering and pain, and yet tonight, all is quiet, despite the howling winds outside.

“You will not fear the terror of the night

nor the arrow that flies by day,

nor the plague that prowls in the darkness

nor the scourge that lays waste at noon.”

— Psalm 91

As Holy Week begins

Can you believe tomorrow is Palm Sunday? Where did this Lent go?  Today, because I’m super busy getting ready for my book release party in just a few hours, I thought I’d give you some great places to go to get inspiration for the coming week.

Head on over to Our Sunday Visitor for a really nice (free) downloadable poster for Holy Week. Click HERE to get this poster, which includes cool information about things like why we turn our pieces of palm into little crosses, why we color Easter eggs, plus lots more on the really sacred parts of Holy Week. Read more