Refocus for a Deep, Sacred Lenten Season

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Deer stroll along our lake in plain view every day … yet if you don’t look for them, it’s easy to miss them!

By Sister Stefanie MacDonald, OSB

We can all go on autopilot during the year, right? Lent is the right time to get out of it … to go deep, to seek – and see – the sacred.

In my Benedictine community, the Sisters give a lot of thought to their Lenten resolutions. They choose spiritual reading to help guide and support them. Maybe some of their thoughts and suggestions will help you!

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Palm Sunday: Serious about Following Jesus?

jesus-convicted

By Sister Catherine Cleary, OSB

We began this series of gospel reflections noting that Jesus’ particular geographical place helps illustrate his message. The desert, for instance, means barrenness, while the mountaintop means nearness to God.

Today’s Gospel readings move from the entrance to Jerusalem, where children (filled with new life and joy) run to meet Jesus with their palm branches, to the Skull (the place where Jesus – and other criminals – meet their death). Continue Reading

3rd Sunday of Lent: Who do You Shun”?

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By Sister Catherine Cleary, OSB

As we have seen, Scriptures often use geographical sites to convey messages. On the 1st Sunday, for instance, Jesus was tempted with abundant power, prestige and possessions while in the desert where he had nothing at all. On the 2nd Sunday, he went to the mountain to demonstrate the new law.

Today’s Gospel (John 4:5-42) takes place at the water well. Jesus is tired and has sat down. Continue Reading

2nd Sunday of Lent: New Prophet, New Law

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By Sister Catherine Cleary, OSB

As we discussed last week, Scriptures often use geographical sites to convey messages. Last Sunday, for instance, Jesus was tempted with abundant power, prestige and possessions while in the desert where he had nothing at all.

This week, Jesus takes Peter, John and James up to the mountain to pray (Luke 9:28-36). The height of the mountain suggests nearness to God. Continue Reading

1st Sunday of Lent: What are Your Temptations?

money-bags

By Sister Catherine Cleary, OSB

Scripture uses places – deserts, mountains and villages – to situate Jesus and his ministry. The site is often an image meant to convey an experience between Jesus and God or Jesus and his listeners.

Today’s gospel (Luke 4: 1-13) places Jesus in the desert for 40 days and 40 nights. It’s a place of uncertainty, darkness, anxiety, fear … and temptations. Continue Reading

What Lent Means to Me: 10 Sisters share their thoughts

ruth 130Sister Ruth Ksycki, OSB – This is a time to live more intensely the Pascal Mystery; the core of our faith; the death and resurrection. What does it mean to us? My reading will mostly focus on Scripture.

Sister Stefanie MacDonald, OSB – Lent is a time for refocusing one’s life. We can all go on autopilot stef 130during the year, and this is the right time to get out of it. I am looking at my prayer, my choices, and how I live the Gospel values. I’m reading “Broken Open: How Difficult Times can Help Us Grow,” by Elizabeth Lesser.

rita 130Sister Rita Cain, OSB – I believe it is a time to prepare ourselves for Easter; to mend parts of our lives through thoughts and prayers. I’m reading C.S. Lewis’ “Surprised by Joy.”

Sister Rosemary Murphy, OSB – These 40 days of prayer and practices – including fasting and rosemary murphy 130accepting of situations – lead us into deeper relationship with Jesus Christ. I’m reading “The Ascent of the Mountain of God: Daily Reflections for the Journey of Lent,” by Edward Hays.

denise 130Sister Denise Vrombaut, OSB – For one thing, Lent is a time for me to go the extra mile for other people. It’s a time to renew my commitment to really active listening, to be really present to others. I’m reading “The Lenten Pharmacy: Daily Healing Therapies,” by Edward Hays. I chose it because I want to focus on Jesus the Healer, and this gives you something for every day.

Sister Cecile Baer, OSB – I will be more aware of my prayer. I hope every day that I get closer to God, but during Lent I hopececile to be more dedicated and present to my prayer.

sheila 130Sister Sheila McGrath, OSB – Lent is a time to step back and reassess what’s important, to see where I am in my spiritual life, where I am in my prayer, where I am with others. It’s a quiet, reflective time. I’m reading “Ashes to Easter: Lenten Meditations,” by Bishop Robert Morneau

Sister Charlotte Sonneville, OSB – This is a time of renewal of my commitment to Jesus Christ, to nurture new life within for charlotte 130the journey to resurrection. I’m reading “Seeking His Mind: 40 Meetings with Christ,” by M. Basil Pennington, OSCO.

marlene 130Sister Marlene Miller, OSB – I look forward to more prayer, more quiet, more solitude and less food … although God may have another plan, who knows? I’m reading “Doors of Hope: Paths for Renewal in the Catholic Church,” by John Dietzen. It’s been on my list and in my pile for years!

Sister Mary Core, OSB – Now is the time to do a little offering up of things, to do some extra reading,mary core 130 sacrificing. You might think of it as spring cleaning of the spirit! I’m reading 2 books: “Humility Matters,” by Mary Margaret Funk, OSB and “An Explanation of the Rule of Benedict,” by Hildegard of Bingen and Hugh Feiss.