As we begin our Easter Season, we call to mind that the ‘new life’ we enjoy is because of the Lenten sacrifice and passion or our Lord Jesus on the Cross. The notes are up over at the Canossian Sisters of Sacramento, of a Lenten reflection given to young women. Still very appropriate for our season of the Resurrection:
The reflection was based on the Gospel of John11:1-45, and the reading from Ezekiel 37:12-14. We discussed how, to understand the Gospel, and the raising of Lazarus, we must reflect on the first reading for the 5th Sunday of Lent. The two readings go together. There are four key points in this short reading, promises of God:
1. I will open your graves;
2. I am the Lord;
3. I will put my Spirit in you; and
4. That you may live.
First, the promise of God that He will ‘open our graves and have us rise from them.’ We considered what can be meant by ‘grave’. Of course, there is the physical grave, or place of burial. Here, there is nothing left. The person who is buried ceases to live. There is no breath; only darkness. We have no control over death; it is a part of our human existence. But physical death is not the only way we stop living. We also considered that the ‘grave’ can also be metaphorically used to consider the ways we block ourselves off from living as God intended, through our sin. Sin, such as when we choose to put ourselves first before God, and put ourselves first before our neighbors, block us from living in God’s grace (the abundant gifts of His help) when we shut Him out, and turn our back on our brothers and sisters in their need. God wants to free us from the grave of sin – to unbind us from the things that keep us from loving. Some of these ‘blocks’ seem very small: when we refuse to take out the trash when we’re asked; when we say things to others knowing it annoys them; when we forget to say our prayers. But, what happens if we do the opposite? What happens when we do not hesitate to help when asked; when we see someone who is alone and befriend them; or when we are attentive in our prayers, and our time with God. These small acts of love work in us, to open our hearts to God’s grace. The more we do these kinds of things, we find our hearts grow to love, more and more like the heart of Jesus…
Our lovely participants:
The Sisters all wish to thank the many of my readers who prayed for the success of this retreat. “We couldn’t have done it without you!”
Next Retreat is scheduled for May 21, 2001.
If you’re planning to be in the Sacramento area and would like to come, contact us!
Please pray for our community, that has been serving the Diocese of Sacramento for 39 years, and hopes to keep on serving. We need more hands to make the work lighter.
Join us in praying for holy vocations to our Institute. Thank you!
And, don’t forget to go look at Bright Maidens, a writing project by young Catholic women about young women and faith.
Sister Elisa, Passing on the Faith