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Here are a few reads I’ve been loving this Lent…

1. “We must never seek to leave the foot of the Cross sooner than God would have us do… These forty days are golden days — days to ponder and pray and spend some time at the foot of the Cross — learning, loving and offering.” – Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle

2. Building off of that one, here’s something that explains what these 40 days meant for Jesus — and what they mean for us too:

(The 40 Days Jesus spent in the desert) prepared Him for the rest of His life. It prepared Him for covenant. So, through that time of preparation, He was prepared for a new relationship with His father and with all of humanity. And that’s exactly what we have to remember during this time of Lent. It’s not a time that we would wish away, right. It’s a time that we intentionally put ourselves, as Jesus did, on a retreat. We intentionally heap some suffering upon ourselves, which we call penance, which we call mortification; we give of ourselves in alms giving, we give our lives, remembering the covenant that we have been made for, the covenant that fulfills our life.” – Fr. Chase Hilgenbrinck

3. A clarification on Jesus’ pity… this was something I had never heard of before, but this changes a lot!

“The text says that Jesus is moved with pity and touches him. The English word “pity,” though often considered condescending, comes from that Latin pietas, which refers to familial love. Jesus sees this man as a brother and reaches out to him in that way. Jesus’ touching of the leper was an unthinkable action at that time; no one would venture near a leper let alone touch one. Lepers were required to live outside of town, typically in nearby caves. But Jesus is God and He loves this man; in His humanity, He sees this leper as a brother...” – Monsignor Charles Pope

3. I’m curious to hear whether you’ve found the following to be true for you… I personally remember just a couple of years when I was really struggling with my health, how that time brought me closer to God than ever before. Lack of wellbeing allowed me to recognize my absolute need for Him. So it was a gift even though it was painful.

“No, no, not more than one child, because otherwise we will not be able to go on holiday, we will not be able to go out, we will not be able to buy a house. It’s all very well to follow the Lord, but only up to a certain point. This is what economic wellbeing does to us: we all know what wellbeing is, but it deprives us of courage, of the courage we need to get close to Jesus.” – Pope Francis

4. I’m pulling an excerpt out of it, but honestly, I highlighted nearly the entire post. It is so good. I highly recommend reading through the whole thing when you have a minute to take it all in:

“They are placed in the very spot where we once received the oil of the Holy Spirit at Confirmation; in the very spot where we, every Sunday at the Gospel, say “Glory to you, O Lord.”  The contrast is stark: ashes on the spot of the glory, reminding us that we have gloried not in God; ashes on the spot of the oil, reminding us that we have sacrificed the gifts of the Holy Spirit and His oil of gladness for the ashes of worldly trappings and passing comfort. I know: this does not feel good.  We are admitting that we need a Savior.” – Fr. Anthony Gerber

5. Something else that’s significant about those ashes — something that gives me such hope:

“Remember that you are dust. And unto dust you shall return. The mistake is thinking dust is the end. Go back to the beginning. Dust is always the beginning.” – Laura from Mothering Spirit

6. Lastly, a playlist for Lent that I’ve been listening to daily, and a reminder to look for the Lord today:

“God is in the midst of us, or rather we are in the midst of him; wherever we are he sees us and touches us: at prayer, at work, at table, at recreation. We do not think of this; if we did, with what fervor and devotion we should live. Let us often make acts of faith, saying to ourselves: God is looking at me, he is here present.” – St. Claude de la Colombiere