Why Catholics Sit, Kneel, Bow and Stand
Thankfully, this year Lent has not completely gotten away from me as it did, last year. For that I credit the help of my Breviary – (psalmody is so very powerful and grounding, when we commit to it) and Anthony Bloom’s Beginning to Pray, and also the Gospels, which I have been reading chapter-by-chapter each night with a notebook and a bit more care than usual. Just now, I’m liking the Ignatius Bible, and its simple presentation, a lot. Don’t you find that you use different bibles at different times?
Deacon Greg does a Lenten checkpoint in this week’s homily, which he just posted:
A lot of us find ourselves in that situation during Lent – suddenly doing something out of habit that we had sworn to give up. Fundamentalists might call it backsliding. But I think it’s part of what makes us human — what makes our Lenten journey so challenging – and so vital.
In the early part of the last century, one of the great witnesses to the faith was a Carmelite nun, Sister Teresa Benedicta of the Cross. Most of us know her better as Edith Stein. She was born to a German Jewish family in 1891…became an atheist…but was baptized a Catholic in 1922. Eleven years later, she entered the cloister. And in 1942, she lost her life at Auschwitz. Today she is recognized as a saint.
In the early 1930s, she gave a lecture and spoke of what it takes to be a Christian.
“Whoever belongs to Christ,” she said, “must go the whole way with him. He must mature to adulthood. He must one day or other walk the way of the cross to Gethsemane and Golgotha.”
Well, that puts in perspective the idea of giving up chocolate for Lent, doesn’t it?
That reminds me a little of something I read in Mother Angelica’s Little Book of Life Lessons and Everyday Spirituality,:
Holiness is not for wimps and the cross is not negotiable, sweetheart, it’s a requirement.
I’m telling you, that’s a surprisingly great, plain-speaking little book:
If it wasn’t for people, we could all be holy. But it really isn’t other people who make or break us. We are the ones who make or break us.
Deacon Greg also has a very nice, different, meditation, here.
I find I am also being helped by abandoning all of the usual radio stations when I drive – no talk radio, no commercial blaring pop-rock – and keeping the dial set on the classical station. Over the past week I have been surprised at how much more grounded I feel for not having all that bombast and chatter with me in the car (except that hearing Lyadov’s Eight Russian Folksongs for Orchestra had me scrambling to find a CD of it.)
If the classical station is not pleasing me, I fall back on some CD’s I’ve loaded for Lent. The Russian Easter one is particularly prayerful while Russian Chant for Vespers is stirring. I’m also listening to An Die Musik (Schubert Lieder) by Bryn Terfel – (I like the way Buster sings it, better, but then I’m his mother), Easter Chant by the Monastic Choir of the Abbey of Notre Dame de Fontgombault, Musical Evenings with the Captain (Music from the Aubrey-Maturin Novels of Patrick O’ Brian) and Sumi Jo’s Prayers CD.
The truth is, even the music is left for the car. At home, everything is silent in the daytime. No tv, no radio.
I cannot tell you how fruitful and productive it has been in my life to shut off the noise that fills up the spaces between the self and the soul.