Tuesday 13th April 2021

Home » Our Catholic Faith » Currently Reading:

A Leaven In The World . . . Lent: Invitation To Contemplate Death

March 4, 2021 Our Catholic Faith No Comments

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK

We contemplate the death of Christ at every Mass before receiving His risen Body and Blood in the Holy Eucharist. We know and profess this to be true. Faith can and must grow, however. Perhaps nothing spurs us to lean on the Lord through our faith as much as accepting in an ever deeper way the fact of our own death — which indeed will happen one day; we just do not know when.
The season of Lent leads to the victory of Resurrection and life at Easter, but it is the death of the Lord which makes that possible. We focus upon His self-offering on the cross more during this most important penitential season than at any other time during the year.
Our contemplation of His death is not truly life-changing unless it is accompanied by the acceptance and surrender to the fact that one day we too shall die.
Nothing assists one to contemplate one’s own death perhaps so well as making funeral arrangements for someone else.
The mother of someone I know well has Alzheimer’s and the family is planning to admit her to care at a home with religious sisters soon. The sisters require that funeral arrangements be completed prior to admission. Family members visited the funeral home and chose the casket and vault, provided information, and prepaid for the funeral. All that remains is to choose the headstone.
Underlying the effort of choosing between the various options of caskets and vaults, discussing the services and fees of picking up the body at death and preparing the remains for burial, embalming, washing and clothing, the arranging of the hair and the appearance of the loved one, is a deeper acknowledgment of death as a personal reality touching every human person without exception.
Death circumscribes the whole of humanity. It also lays a claim on me. Grappling with and confronting any pretense on my part that I am in any way an exception to this fact carries with it implications that run through the whole of my being, thinking, acting, and choices.
Contemplation of the fact of my own death ultimately confers an opportunity: the encounter in an even deeper way with the reality of faith itself. The stripping away of every other consideration made possible by the fact of my own death enables the stark realization of my own belief, or not, in One who so truly lives as to never die. That is, of One who so lives as to be Life itself and thus able to restore to life those who do die, as must we all in this vale of tears.
Who is the Living One? And do I believe, truly believe, in Him? This is the journey and challenge posed by Lent.
Our growth in faith is perhaps measured by no other factor as much as our encounter with death throughout the whole span of life.
We never contemplate another’s death without at some level accepting the fact of our own demise. Why that changes through life has more to do with the wisdom made possible by age than by the loss of youth with its seemingly boundless life and abundant energy.
When we are young death seems a distant thing, not really touching us at some deep level. The death of a grandparent is a sadness, but seems so necessary as to discourage much mourning.
I used to think an exotic conception of death was a result of the decreased probability of dying young, and it may in part be true. The young are generally healthier than the elderly, and for that reason do not accept the fact that death can touch them as readily or immediately as it does those who are advanced in years.
No one lives here forever, we always know at some level, and those who have lived longest are always more likely to pass through the door of death sooner than others. Our own personal conviction of death, however, can be masked by patterns of behavior and attempted evasion by our use or abuse of various things. Such choices can involve sin.
Lack of acceptance of death is often at the root of an unsuccessful struggle against patterns of and addictions to sin. A ricocheting effect can result with a person struggling against sin in order to respond to the requirements of faith, while falling back into sin because of an inability to accept and live every day with the fact of death.
Lent invites us to get this precedence corrected if we have failed thus far to do so. Our Friday prayers of the Stations of the Cross, our fast and our abstinence, particularly on Fridays, from the consuming of flesh meat, all invite us to touch the sure and certain reality of our own demise in and through the holy and saving death of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ on a Friday.
We affirm that He alone is the Living One and can alone grant a share in new life to us and to all who labor and struggle under the shroud of death and dying.
And in so doing we find purpose and meaning, and even hope, in our own death so united by faith and grace to His. And thus is proposed to us our own challenge to grow in holiness.
Motivation to shun unholy choices strengthens through virtue as the goal of our longing shines more clearly in view. The mists of unbelief clear away and dissipate as our vision beholds the Lord more honestly, radically absent useless crutches and diabolic deceptions.
Grace is His gift of life. Our holiness is a measure of our share more and more in grace.
Death is an encounter with God. Facing the fact of my own death invites me to contemplate my meeting with the Lord, which will take place only a matter of years from now. Faith in Him is itself a preparation for that moment. Faith invites us to choose love rather than fear.
Will the revelation beyond the moment of my death be judgment or the fulfillment of mercy? My life now, my faith now, will decide.
All of our thoughts and actions shot through with the reality of coming death are all the more life-giving because, for all that, redolent with holiness of life. Accept the invitation of our annual Lent to meditate on a holy death for love of self, as urged by Love Himself, and therefore all the more so for love of the One Who Is Life Everlasting.
Thank you for reading and praised be Jesus Christ, now and forever.
Continue the conversation: now blogging at APriestLife.blogspot.com.

Share Button

2019 The Wanderer Printing Co.

Twitter Feed

VICTORY!

23rd Texas City Bans Abortions, Becomes “Sanctuary for the Unborn” https://t.co/v9JKt68xhF

The goal of much of the modern American left is to celebrate public sin and to disparage traditional values as bigotry.

Abortion on demand, open borders, four dollars a gallon gasoline, churches and schools closed - what's not to love?

Chris Manion . . . Introducing A New “Reality” By Legislative Fiat - https://t.co/fUiS6S0oft

Load More...

Vatican observes ‘Earth Hour’

On Saturday, along with the Vatican, symbolic monuments of cities all across the globe turn off their lights, to demonstrate the serious global climate crisis. By Vatican News staff writer Vatican City State took part in the traditional international initiative Earth…Continue Reading

House passes bill setting up path to citizenship for millions of Dreamers

Lawmakers in the House of Representatives on Thursday passed an immigration bill that would create a path to citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants who were brought to the country as children.

The Misleading AP Attack on the Catholic Church for Accepting COVID Relief

In early 2020, a pandemic came to America. We started staying home, then we were ordered to stay home. The market tanked. The economy tanked. Unemployment soared. You remember all this, because you lived it. We all did. Congress created a…Continue Reading

Catholic bishop released five days after kidnapping in Nigeria

CNA Staff, Jan 1, 2021 / 10:42 pm MT (CNA).- A Catholic bishop in Nigeria, who was kidnapped on Sunday, has been released unharmed, according to the Archdiocese of Owerri. The diocese, which is in southeastern Nigeria, announced in a social…Continue Reading

More GOP senators vow to challenge Biden’s win

WASHINGTON – A last-ditch effort by President Donald Trump and his allies to overturn the election thrust Washington into chaos Saturday as a growing coalition of Republican senators announced plans to rebel against Senate leaders by seeking to block formal…Continue Reading

Underground Catholic bishop dies in China

CNA Staff, Dec 31, 2020 / 03:25 pm MT (CNA).- According to the Catholic outlet AsiaNews, headquartered in Rome, Bishop Andrea Han Jingtao, 99, a leader in the underground Catholic Church in China, died Dec. 30. Han Jingtao was the…Continue Reading

‘All-star,’ ‘brilliant jurist’: Pro-life leaders thrilled Trump nominated Barrett to Supreme Court

September 26, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Supreme Court nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett is “an absolute all-star” and “a judicial role model for the next generation,” pro-life leaders said today.  If confirmed, Barrett will replace pro-abortion Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died just…Continue Reading

Farewell, Uncle Di: Father Paul Mankowski, RIP

My editorial career has brought me into close contact with quite a few impressive thinkers. I have worked with famous authors, with noted theologians and philosophers, with canny political strategists, with at least a half-dozen Nobel Prize winners. Among them…Continue Reading

VIDEO: BLM mob threatens, chases Rand Paul down streets of DC

WASHINGTON, D.C., August 28, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky found himself the target of left-wing violence yet again Thursday night as protesters swarmed him as he was leaving the White House, chasing him and his wife…Continue Reading

Planned Parenthood acknowledges Margaret Sanger’s ‘racist legacy’, continues abortions

CNA Staff, Jul 21, 2020 / 11:05 am MT (CNA).- The New York affiliate of the nation’s largest abortion provider said Tuesday it will remove the name of its founder, Margaret Sanger, from its Manhattan building because of her support…Continue Reading

Statue of Virgin Mary beheaded at Tennessee parish

CNA Staff, Jul 15, 2020 / 10:40 am MT (CNA).- A statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary was attacked this weekend at a parish in Chattanooga, Tennessee, the third reported incident against a statue of Mary occuring in the same…Continue Reading

21 doctors tell bishops Communion on tongue ‘safer’ than in hand

June 26, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Twenty-one Austrian doctors have authored a letter appealing their country’s Bishops’ Conference to lift the de facto ban on receiving Holy Communion on the tongue, which has been enforced since Communion in the hand was…Continue Reading

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for 150 years in our weekly print edition.


  Our daily version offers only some of what we publish weekly in print. To take advantage of everything The Wanderer publishes, we encourage you to su
bscribe to our flagship weekly print edition, which is mailed every Friday or, if you want to view it in its entirety online, you can subscribe to the E-edition, which is a replica of the print edition.
 
  Our daily edition includes: a selection of material from recent issues of our print edition, news stories updated daily from renowned news sources, access to archives from The Wanderer from the past 10 years, available at a minimum charge (this will be expanded as time goes on). Also: regularly updated features where we go back in time and highlight various columns and news items covered in The Wanderer over the past 150 years. And: a comments section in which your remarks are encouraged, both good and bad, including suggestions.
 
  We encourage you to become a daily visitor to our site. If you appreciate our site, tell your friends. As Catholics we must band together to rediscover our faith and share it with the world if we are to effectively counter a society whose moral culture seems to have no boundaries and a government whose rapidly extending reach threatens to extinguish the rights of people of faith to practice their religion (witness the HHS mandate). Now more than ever, vehicles like The Wanderer are needed for clarification and guidance on the issues of the day.

Catholic, conservative, orthodox, and loyal to the Magisterium have been this journal’s hallmarks for five generations. God willing, our message will continue well into this century and beyond.

Joseph Matt
President, The Wanderer Printing Co.

Untitled 1

Catechism

Today . . .

Americans to receive COVID shots inside abortion centers as part of multi-million dollar Planned Parenthood campaign

April 8, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) – America’s largest abortion company is launching a major campaign to distribute COVID-19 vaccines and convince people to get them. Today, Planned Parenthood announced a $2 million English and Spanish ad blitz to promote COVID-19 vaccines to at least 1.5 million people, on top of campaigns to distribute shots through clinics and

Statement on the Reception of Holy Communion by Those Who Persist in Public Grave Sin

Many Catholics and also non-Catholics who, while they do not embrace the Catholic faith, respect the Catholic Church for her teaching regarding faith and morals, have asked me how it is possible for Catholics to receive Holy Communion, while at the same time they publicly and obstinately promote programs, policies and legislation in direct violation of the moral law. In particular, they ask how Catholic politicians and civil officials who publicly and obstinately defend and…Continue Reading

Catholic teaching on Communion applies to politicians who support abortion, too, bishop says

Phoenix, Ariz., Apr 6, 2021 / 20:01 pm America/Denver (CNA). Catholic teaching sees the Eucharist as Christ’s transformative sacrifice on the cross and this Holy Communion must only be received worthily. This teaching is not partisan, but it certainly applies to political leaders who back abortion and euthanasia, Bishop Thomas Olmsted of Phoenix has said in an apostolic exhortation on the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist. “Holy Communion is reserved for those, who with God’s grace…Continue Reading

">Conversations with Cardinal Burke March 2021

Only one third of US Catholics plans to attend Mass for Easter: poll

March 31, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) — A recent poll revealed the severe effect COVID-19 restrictions have had upon churchgoers in the U.S. Catholics are shown to be most cautious, with only 5% of Catholic churches open without any restrictions, as they were before the arrival of the virus. Meanwhile, Evangelical protestants are the most eager to return to normal, and look set to fill their churches the most at Easter time.

Should Government Track The Miles You Drive?

By TERENCE P. JEFFREY One American gets up in the morning, gets in his car and drives down a congested highway to work.Another wakes at noon and rides a subway to a saloon.Which of these two — if America’s future takes a wrong turn — would pay what might be called the “Buttigieg tax”?CNBC’s Kayla…Continue Reading

The Plight Of The Author

By DONALD DeMARCO Our parish bazaar was in its second day. Most of the more attractive items were gone on the opening day when crowds of treasure seekers stormed the church basement. Our pastor urged us to sweep clean any trinkets that remained. And so, after Mass, my wife and I made the short journey…Continue Reading

Joe Biden’s Bid To Remake America

By PATRICK J. BUCHANAN If Joe Biden’s American Jobs Program, outlined in Pittsburgh, is enacted, then the federal government will take a great leap forward toward irreversible control of the destiny of the Republic.To finance this leap, to subsidize this giant stride toward socialism, U.S. corporations are to be forced to turn over to the…Continue Reading

Like Clockwork… Mass Shooting, Then Demands For Gun Control

By BARBARA SIMPSON (Editor’s Note: This article first appeared on WorldNetDaily, www.wnd.com, on March 26. All rights reserved. Barbara Simpson has a 20-year radio, TV, and newspaper career in the Bay Area and Los Angeles.) + + Here we go again — or rather, “here we still are.” The news is filled with horrific reports…Continue Reading

Senators Demand Investigation . . . Into Planned Parenthood Getting PPP loans

WASHINGTON, D.C. (CNA) — A letter signed by 25 Republican senators is demanding an investigation into Planned Parenthood affiliates illegally accessing emergency small business loans.“We write to request an investigation concerning how affiliates of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America (‘Planned Parenthood’), a national organization with central control over its affiliates which has nearly $2…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

Remember The Suffering Of The Messiah

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Third Sunday Of Easter (YR B) Readings: Acts 3:13-15, 17-191 John 1-5aLuke 24:35-48 In the fourth week of Lent we had a break and looked forward to the joy that was coming in Easter. That day reminded us to be joyful and spurred us on to continue with our Lenten penances, knowing we had made it…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Q. Can you explain what righteous anger is? I thought anger was one of the seven deadly sins, so how can it ever be righteous? — T.S., via e-mail.A. The glossary at the back of the Catechism of the Catholic Church defines anger as “an emotion which is not in itself wrong, but which, when it is not controlled by…Continue Reading

A Leaven In The World . . . Freedom Of Faith Vs. Social Control

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK The world doesn’t know how to use power. Like addicts, those unrestrained by any humility or faith believe that, if a little feels good, then more must be better.We may be in masks to buy groceries for the rest of our lives. We may not be able to do anything about that. It’s the world.…Continue Reading

Cardinal Sarah Asks Pope Francis . . . To Reinstate Individual Masses At St. Peter’s Basilica

By HANNAH BROCKHAUS VATICAN CITY (CNA) — Robert Cardinal Sarah has asked Pope Francis to reinstate the celebration of private Masses at the side altars in St. Peter’s Basilica, after individual Masses were suspended earlier in March in favor of concelebration.“I humbly beg the Holy Father to order the withdrawal of the recent norms issued by the secretariat of state,”…Continue Reading

Love God And Love Neighbor

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Second Sunday Of Easter (Divine Mercy) (YR B) Readings: Acts 4:32-351 John 5:1-6John 20:19-31 In the first reading today, we are told that the first Christians were of one heart and mind. Such unity can only exist when there is no selfishness. What the first believers show us is that their minds were united in the…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Jeanne Jugan

By DEB PIROCH “The Seventh Commandment implies the obligation of assisting the poor and needy as far as we are able. . . . Our Lord declares the omission of alms deeds will be punished by eternal damnation (Matt. 25:46). . . . For many persons, without their own fault, are pitiably destitute, e.g. orphans, widows, the sick and disabled,…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… Pope St. Pius X

By DEB PIROCH “He saith to him again: Simon, son of John, lovest thou me? He saith to him: Yea, Lord, thou knowest that I love thee. He saith to him: Feed my lambs. He said to him the third time: Simon, son of John, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved, because he had said to him the third time: Lovest…Continue Reading

Advertisement(2)