BY MELISSA NOVAK
Maybe you’ve grown much closer to God this Lent, or maybe you’ve been insanely busier than normal and feel like you haven’t taken the time to reflect or pray as much as you’d like to. Either way, there’s still one week of Lent left, so let’s make the most of it! When I take the time to reflect on all the suffering that Jesus endured for my sake and the sake of the whole world, I fall so much more in love with Him.
Let’s take a moment to reflect together. Through His suffering, Jesus can identify with all the ways that we suffer; the feeling of being rejected, unloved, hated, mocked, abused, humiliated, and more. He has experienced intense emotional and physical pain. In our times of suffering we can cry out to Jesus for help and take hope in the fact that He can relate to our pain because He experienced it Himself, and that He can heal us. As Catholics we believe that we can offer our suffering up to God as an intention for someone else. That gives our suffering meaning. Every pain, every emotional hurt, the stress we endure, those things can all be united with Jesus’ suffering on the cross.
“Blessed Albert the Great learned in a revelation that by simply thinking of or meditating on the passion of Jesus Christ, a Christian gains more merit than if he had fasted on bread and water every Friday for a year…or had recited the whole Book of Psalms every day (The Secret of the Rosary by Saint Louis De Montfort, Twenty-eighth Rose, n. 88).”
Take a moment to reflect on Jesus’ Passion (Matthew 26:47-75–27:1-66). As you reflect, imagine yourself there at the time of His arrest. You witness the Apostles both scared and outraged, ready to defend Jesus to the point of cutting off the ear of a high priest’s servant, and you see Jesus healing the servant.
Imagine yourself in the crowd that yelled angrily for Him to be crucified. Imagine you are standing next to Mary, watching Jesus be scourged; His precious blood falling to the ground as His flesh is torn open.
Imagine you are in the cell next to Jesus; you can see the exhaustion on His face and feel His hunger pains. Imagine the way He felt as He was sentenced to death and made to carry the cross.
Imagine the weight of the cross. Place yourself in the crowd that watches Him walk by. You see Veronica offer Him a drink; you see women and children crying. Can you imagine the depths of His pain?
Place yourself on the hill as the soldiers strip Him of his clothes, humiliating Him and re-opening the wounds on His back. Huge spikes are driven through his hands. The pain is unbearable. Amidst all this, He asks the Father to forgive those who hurt Him.
We have a God who loves us so much that He would rather die than spend eternity without us. What can you do this last week of Lent to show God how much you love Him?
Here are some ideas:
- Spend an additional 15 minutes in prayer each day.
- Offer your suffering as an intention for someone.
- Fast from social media, chocolate, listening to music in the car or something else that you love.
- Spend time in Eucharistic Adoration.
- Watch the movie, The Passion of The Christ.
- Be Christ to others by writing notes of encouragement, refraining from gossip, going out of your way to do something nice, etc.
- Loyola Press has great 3-minute retreats that you can participate in on your lunch break or if you arrive to work a few minutes early. Click here to be linked to their web page.
- A nice reflection of the stations of the cross can be viewed by clicking here.
You can also join us at Saint Mary Mokena for any of these prayers:
Sunday, March 25th:
- Confessions and Adoration from 2:00-6:00 pm
Wednesday, March 28th:
- Eucharistic Adoration from 9:00 am-6:45 pm
Thursday, March 29th:
- 8:00 am Liturgy of the Hours
- 7:00 pm Mass of the Institution of the Lord’s Supper followed immediately by Adoration in the chapel until midnight.
- 10:00 pm Tenebrae (prayer) in the chapel
Friday, March 30th:
- 8:00 am Liturgy of the Hours
- 9:00 am Divine Mercy Novena begins
- 3:00 pm Veneration of the Cross
- 7:00 pm Solemn High Stations of the Cross
March 26th-28th there will be 7:00 pm Mass in the church in addition to the daily morning Mass.
Please see the parish website for a complete schedule of Easter Mass times.
Melissa Novak is the Director of Faith Formation at Saint Mary Parish in Mokena.