Hope, even in the shadow of the cross

| Kate Soucheray | April 4, 2019 | 0 Comments
Shadow of the cross

iStock/bigmikephoto

We are called in this Lenten season to grow in our faith and to be in the shadow of the cross, overcome neither by its threat of death nor the fear it intends to evoke.

As people who stand firmly in the face of such intimidation, we know death is vanquished by the power of Jesus’ sacrifice. Easter Sunday must be preceded by the horrors of Good Friday, and as my mother-in-law always said, “There can be no Easter Sunday without Good Friday.” In her wisdom, she meant there will be difficult, and perhaps discouraging, times for all of us as we move through the phases of our lives.

Like the season of Lent, we must embrace the aspects each phase presents to us, trusting we will manage whatever happens. As we do so, we know we will be resurrected with Jesus, as we are brought into a new way of experiencing life, despite whatever troubling times we face.

This new way of living reminds us we do not move through adulthood without trials and hardships. These difficulties may include the illness of a spouse or family member, and some days you may feel stretched beyond your capability and wonder how you will go on. They may include a struggling child, and in your loving commitment to provide the best life possible for them, you forego your own well-being to provide for theirs. Or these difficulties may include financial struggles, as you honor your decision to be an at-home parent and live within the limitations of one income, in addition to the loneliness and isolation this situation can create.

In so many ways, our culture tells us these decisions are foolish or unwise, because none of them is self-serving, a quality the western world increasingly values.

ACTION CHALLENGEMake a commitment to pick up your Lenten sacrifice and see it through to the Triduum. Make prayer, fasting and almsgiving your focus in the waning days of Lent.

As we complete our Lenten journey, let us think about how we may use the waning days of this season to bring ourselves ever closer to the holiness and wholeness to which we are called. If you have lost track of your Lenten commitment, make time this week to think of a few simple ways you could bring it to fruition and let go of any guilt you may feel about not fulfilling it completely.

Keep in mind that Lent calls us to prayer, fasting and almsgiving. Perhaps you could take time to dedicate a few moments to prayer each day, perhaps through a website that brings you peace and solace. Or you may think of something from which you could fast, which may be a stop at your favorite coffee shop for the $3 latte you purchase each day, and instead, set that money aside for the collection basket when you attend Mass on Holy Thursday. You may consider reaching out to a neighbor with whom you have not connected over these long, winter months, and renew your friendship and support of each other.

Through acts of kindness and generosity, we dedicate ourselves to a renewed focus on Lent, as we give the Holy Spirit the opportunity to transform us into Easter people. By picking up our Lenten commitment and completing our Lenten journey, we will humbly celebrate the Triduum and enter into the holiness of the three holiest days of our Church with Christ. Through the completion of our Lenten sacrifice, we will walk with Jesus and share in his passion, death and resurrection.

Soucheray is a licensed marriage and family therapist and a member of Guardian Angels in Oakdale. She holds a master’s degree in theology from the St. Paul Seminary School of Divinity in St. Paul.

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Category: Featured, Simple Holiness