Questions and Answers At The Sixth Station

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Prompt: Write an ekphrastic poem. An ekphrastic poem is a poem inspired by art.

Inspired by the 6th Station of the Cross.

It’s been said that you once bled for 12 years.
When He healed you, He called you “Daughter.”
Just how old are you?
What happened after He healed you?
What brought you here now, to His hour of death?
Why did you bring that veil with you?
How did you get past the guards?
How long did you get to wipe His face?
Did you see the scars from the whips on His skin?
The piercing of the thorns upon His brow?
Did you think that if you touched His face
the bleeding He suffered would stop?
How could the one who helped you be so helpless?
How could the one who gave you hope look so hopeless?

It couldn’t have been easy for you.
And yet His face comes clear in your veil
The same eyes that loved you
The same ears that heard you
The same mouth that spoke to you
He is with you
Thankful for you
Daughter, your faith in Him is strong
So do you believe that He will conquer death?

Jesus Falls For The 3rd Time: Lent Day 23

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From Heart of Mary Women’s Fellowship:

Who is Mary Magdalene? She’s a saint that’s shrouded in mystery. She’s a woman who’s been  labeled as everything from a prostitute, to Jesus’s secret wife, to a goddess. Let me tell you right now, no matter what you may have heard about Mary Magdalene, the Apostle to the Apostles was none of those things.

So who was Mary Magdalene?

Find out here!

 

Jesus Falls a Third Time: Lent Bible Study Day 21

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From Heart of Mary Women’s Fellowship:

The hard part of living a Christian life isn’t when we make mistakes or find ourselves struggling. It’s regaining the will to try again. We live in a society that sells this illusion of unattainable perfection, that we can’t let anyone see our problems or else end up being mocked and ridiculed or worse, written off as a lost cause.

But this particular station shows us that as human beings, we are bound to fall down at one point or another. Sometimes, we fall constantly. But the important part is getting back up again. Having perseverance and the conviction to press on in spite of the constant struggles and trials that we face isn’t easy.

Read the rest here!

Jesus Meets the Women of Jerusalem: Lent Day 19

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From Heart of Mary Women’s Fellowship

“Blessed are the barren, the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed.”  

Whenever I look at this verse, I can’t help but think that Jesus knew about the ongoing battle to  keep babies alive in the womb. It calls to mind how there are videos out there of people who  work at abortion clinics negotiating prices for the body parts of aborted babies. It calls to mind  how often large families get mocked and criticized. It calls to mind celebrities who promote a  freewheeling, self-centered lifestyle at the expense of everyone else.

Yep. I went there. Speaking out against abortion in a Lent Bible study. Read the rest here.

Jesus Falls For the Second Time: Lent Bible Study Day 17

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From Heart of Mary Women’s Fellowship:

It breaks our heart when we see Jesus fall for the first time because his broken, beaten,  battered body has to bear the burden of the cross. When he falls for a second time, it hurts  again because at this point, he has met his mother, received help from Simon of Cyrene, and  found a moment of relief with Veronica, who wiped his face clean. And yet, in spite of the  support, he still falls for a second time.

There are many people out there who struggle with all sorts of addictions: drugs, alcohol,  pornography, etc. One thing that many people do when they want to break free from addictions  is get some kind of help through a support group. However, entering into rehabilitation doesn’t guarantee that people will stay on the straight and narrow.

Read the rest here!

Free Lent Bible Study And Journal!

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This year on Heart of Mary Women’s Fellowship, my fellow Bible study writers and I have all collaborated for the awesome Lent Bible Study which focuses on the Stations of the Cross and saints that “give witness” to each particular station. On Saturdays, there will be a meditation on some Catholic hymns.

To quote today’s introduction by Christine Cooney:

Does this sound like a lot to you? Because it’s not. We’re taking it all day by day, and to help you, we’ve put together a downloadable guide to work through right along with us. It’s perfect for private and personal study, but will also provide plenty of contemplation for small group discussions.

Join us as we contemplate the cross. For, as Pope Francis says,

“The Cross of Christ contains all the love of God; there we find his immeasurable mercy. This is a love in which we can place all our trust, in which we can believe…Let us entrust ourselves to Jesus, let us give ourselves over to him.” 

Download the study journal here!

Also, feel free to follow the Spotify playlist!

Walking Through Calvary, St. Ignatius Style Part 7

Thirteenth Station: Jesus is Taken Down From the Cross

Something I remembered from The Passion of the Christ was that after Christ died, they broke the legs of the other two men who were crucified. But instead of breaking Jesus’s legs, the soldier decided to pierce His side with a lance. They say that when Jesus died, the sky darkened and that there was an earthquake. The darkness that covered the sky was, in my headcanon, more than likely a thunderstorm. I remember driving through some serious thunderstorms in the city, storms where the water poured down in sheets and you can’t see more than an arms’ length or so.

So imagine the ground shaking underneath you. Imagine sheets of pouring rain coming down as Jesus is taken from the cross. The body of Jesus is heavy and bloody, even more so from the rain. Mary is crying out in sorrow as are the other women and possibly even John. Do you see yourself at Calvary Hill or in the temple, where the veil was torn in two? Jesus’s death and the tearing of the temple veil happening at the same time is symbolic because through Jesus’s death, the separation between God and Man was finally gone.

Fourteenth Station: Jesus is Buried

“Amen, amen, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat; but if it dies, it produces much fruit.” (John 12:24)

So this chapter has come to an end. But as that song from Semisonic goes “Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.” The burial had to happen quickly because in Jewish tradition, the day begins at night, which meant that the Sabbath was mere hours away. It’s hard to know whether anyone knew what was to come next. The apostles were denser than a brick, Mary is burdened with sorrow, the women are scattered, weeping as they left for their homes.

It also makes me wonder what happened in the Upper Room after Jesus was buried. Maybe tomorrow, we might get a glimpse of that story…

Walking Through Calvary, St. Ignatius Style Part 6

Eleventh Station: Jesus is Nailed to the Cross

Something I saw while checking out the On-Demand programs from my cable was a special on how crucifixion was done. It’s brutal, to say the least. In fact, the word “excruciating” comes from the Latin word “excruciatus,” the word they used for crucifixion/crucifying. It’s horrible enough to know that Jesus underwent a severe whipping and public humiliation, but this was literally the final nail for his coffin. Every part of the process of crucifixion is meant to prolong the pain, making it harder and harder to breathe until the victim died of asphyxiation.

When I first learned of the Spiritual Exercises, we were placing ourselves on the cross as the repentant thief. I still remember everything I felt. I felt air blowing through my hands and feet as though they were pierced. My back felt strained, as if it was carrying something heavy. There was pain in my shoulders that probably wasn’t from the hunching I always did. But what I remembered most was how hard it was for me to breathe.

I’m going to share the Seven Last Words of Christ and ask you to pick a verse to meditate on for this station.

“Father, forgive them , for they know not what they do.” Luke 23: 34

“Amen, I say to thee: this day thou shalt be with me in paradise.” (Lk 23:43)

“Woman, behold thy son.” To the disciple, “Behold your mother.” (Lk 19:26-27)

“My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” (Mk 15:34)

“I thirst.” (Jn 19:28)

“It is finished.”  (Jn 19:30)

“Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit.”  (Lk 23:46)

 

Twelfth Station: Jesus Dies on the Cross

I have been blessed to not lose a lot of people in my life. Most of my grandparents passed away when I was young and I couldn’t really remember them. The principal of my Catholic school died in a car accident, but by then I was all the way in California, so the impact of her death wasn’t as bad a blow as it could’ve been. A classmate committed suicide during my first year of college, but I didn’t really know him. It was just strange that he wasn’t there anymore. However, during my last year of college, I finally lost someone close to me. I knew that he moved back to Canada because he didn’t want any accidents happening to him on campus, but I imagined writing letters to him, asking him to come to my wedding, and maybe visiting him in person. Except on October 24th, 2012, God called him back to Heaven.

Whenever I hear of someone passing, it’s always strange to me. It’s hard for me to comprehend that a person can just not be around anymore. It’s especially hard when the death is sudden, such as the passing of Monty Oum or was done by suicide like Robin Williams. I can understand old age more than sudden deaths. But then again, my dear friend passed away of old age and it still felt sudden to me.

But maybe death is like one my favorite quotes from The Fault in Our Stars

There are infinite numbers between 0 and 1. There’s .1 and .12 and .112 and an infinite collection of others. Of course, there is a bigger infinite set of numbers between 0 and 2, or between 0 and a million. Some infinities are bigger than other infinities. A writer we used to like taught us that. There are days, many of them, when I resent the size of my unbounded set. I want more numbers than I’m likely to get, and God, I want more numbers for Augustus Waters than he got. But, Gus, my love, I cannot tell you how thankful I am for our little infinity. I wouldn’t trade it for the world. You gave me a forever within the numbered days, and I’m grateful.

Funny thing is that while God the Divine has no beginning and no end, Jesus Christ, as a human being, got to have a little infinity.