Remember man thou art dust
and to dust thou shalt return
Oh Beloved, I don’t know that I’ll ever get over it – believing, that is – being Catholic – having been led into all that Judaism promised and into the full measure of Christianity, the fullness of all that Our Blessed Savior has given us this side of Heaven.
Having journeyed through 18 years of a fervent Evangelical Protestantism, I was quite floored at the response of many Catholics who bemoaned having to attend Church on Sunday because it was their obligation. “Obligation?” I thought to myself. How could you keep a Catholic away?! It’s a chore to go to Church? . . . to go to the One Who loved us and gave Himself for us??
Then came my first Lent as a Catholic (there was no recognition of Lent in my non-denominational experience). I began to hear, from Catholics, the language of “dread,” of “giving things up,” of suffering through this season.
How on earth, I thought? Do those who dread this season of fasting, penance and prayer have any true knowledge or understanding of the privilege Our Lord has given us in inviting us to share in His very sufferings, in His 40-day fast in the wilderness while experiencing every temptation that the devil would throw on Him – and which God allowed and purposed Him to go through?
For me, dear ones, now after almost 23 years a Catholic, and for our community of sisters, it is a blessed, prayerful, and, please God, transformative time, a time filled with the certainty of Our Savior’s love and of His call for us to be in the world and not of it, to grow deeper into union with Him, and to console that “Heart that so loved the world and is so little loved in return.”
For those who may wish a fuller understanding of or refresher on the history and customs of this blessed season leading all the way to the Resurrection of the Passover Lamb, I would refer you the wonderful article (complete with recipes) from the fisheaters.com website below.
From all of us here at the Daughters of Mary, Mother of Israel’s Hope, we wish you and your loved ones a most holy and blessed journey through the awful wilderness with the Son of God made Man.
Mother Miriam and Daughters
|Theme:||Christ in the Desert, the Babylonian Captivity continued from Septuagesima|
|Symbols:||Cross, crown of thorns, three nails, Chalice, Host|
|Length:||Ash Wednesday to Vespers of Holy Saturday|
Lent (the word “Lent” comes from the Old English “lencten,” meaning “springtime) lasts from Ash Wednesday to the Vespers of Holy Saturday — forty days + six Sundays which don’t count as “Lent” liturgically. The Latin name for Lent, Quadragesima, means forty and refers to the forty days Christ spent in the desert which is the origin of the Season.The last two weeks of Lent are known as “Passiontide,” made up of Passion Week and Holy Week. The last three days of Holy Week — Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday –are known as the “Sacred Triduum.”
The focus of this Season is the Cross and penance, penance, penance as we imitate Christ’s forty days of fasting, like Moses and Elias before Him, and await the triumph of Easter. We fast (see below), abstain, mortify the flesh, give alms, and think more of charitable works. Awakening each morning with the thought, “How might I make amends for my sins? How can I serve God in a reparative way? How can I serve others today?” is the attitude to have.
We meditate on “The Four Last Things”: Death, Judgment, Heaven, and Hell, and we also practice mortifications by “giving up something” that would be a sacrifice to do without. The sacrifice could be anything from desserts to television to the marital embrace, and it can entail, too, taking on something unpleasant that we’d normally avoid, for example, going out of one’s way to do another’s chores, performing “random acts of kindness,” etc. A practice that might help some, especially small children, to think sacrificially is to make use of “Sacrifice Beads” in the same way that St. Thérèse of Lisieux did as a child.
Beloved, welcome to our new website! I have longed for us to have a live site through which we can grow together and encourage one another to love and good works (Hebrews 10:24). And I know that many of you have been waiting!
What is ahead is simply a start. We will continue to add articles, especially those pertaining to the restoration of the family – the core of our heart for this new congregation – and the strengthening of our faith against the many evils of our day.
Why the image to the left with Simeon and the Child Jesus in the Temple? Simply because it is one of my most beloved images and the heart from which our apostolate has grown.
To the right of the fuller image of the Presentation of Our Lord in the Temple (above), is the Canticle of Simeon. It is the night prayer of the Church, prayed by every priest and religious and lay faithful who pray the Office of Compline each night. And it has become not only Simeon’s Canticle, but ours:
Now dismiss Thy servant, O Lord, in peace, according to Thy word:
For mine own eyes have seen Thy salvation,
Which Thou hast prepared in the sight of all the peoples,
A light to reveal Thee to the nations
and the glory of Thy people Israel.
A further explanation of the Canticle is included in the Introduction to our Charism. For now, it is enough to say that there is nothing that is Christian – indeed, that is Catholic – that does not have its roots in Judaism, that is to say, in the Law and the Covenants which God made, first with Abraham and subsequently through Moses.
How blessed and how rich we are the more we know our heritage, our true identity as a People fulfilled in the Messiah of Israel, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world, that we might have life – life in Him – and have it to the full, both now and in eternity.
All of time and eternity could not explain or even describe the unspeakable mystery of God’s love, nor the life He came to give. But with hearts overflowing with endless gratitude, we wish to give our all to and for Him who gave His all for us. And we pray you will join us in holding nothing back from God – while there is yet time – that He may be known and loved, and that the earth may be filled with the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea (Isaiah 11:9).
We pray you will visit our new site often and let us know what subjects and questions you would like covered, especially those that pertain to the family and religious life. Please feel free also to send us your prayer requests, as well!
Our love, gratitude, and prayers for you to stand tall, steadfast, and faithful in the fight against evil, and in the evangelization of all those who have yet to hear.
Mother Miriam of the Lamb of God, O.S.B.
P.S. – Our first blog entry is our long-awaited newsletter below! If you are new to our site or apostolate, you are welcome to click on the Newsletter heading above for all of our past newsletters and mailings.