Thursday, April 10, 2014

The Shrine of Christ's Passion - Spirit is Willing but the Flesh is Weak

Lenten confession, I read ahead. This morning, as I was reading the Magnificat, I read the Gospel reading for Evening Prayer. As I began to look through my pictures to the next place on our walk through the Shrine of Christ's Passion, I found myself with the Apostles, asleep in the Garden, as Jesus prayed, "My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet, not as I will, but as you will."
Same as tonight's reading.

This pathway of field and stone and sleeping Apostles was "brought in" to give us the feel, as we walked, of the humanity of this group of men whom Jesus had chosen, their complete exhaustion of working with and for Christ. And yet, we hear Jesus say, "So you could not keep watch with me for one hour? Watch and pray that you may not undergo the test. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak."

As the pathway ends, we see Him.
Dare we approach as He speaks to His Father?
We see the humanity of Jesus, on His knees,
asking His Father to let this pass, this inevitable
suffering and yet, we see that He is more
than just a man, that He accepts His Father's will. Jesus never tires of doing the will of the One who sent Him into the world. Jesus never
tires of loving us. Jesus never tires of us.

As we walk this Shrine, as we are reminded of all that Jesus has done for us during this Season of Lent, of preparation, we too are asked to stay awake, to be ready, to go the distance.
As we get closer to Holy Week, may our small sacrifices make a difference. May we persevere in a world so weak. We really want to make it to the end with You. We want to resist the temptation to fall asleep, to drop our guard, to talk about others, to lack patience and love, to criticize, to blame others. We want to be so much more.
Jesus, help us to follow the Spirit and not the flesh. Help us to walk this path with You, to witness Your way, to do Your will. To the very end. We are weak. Strengthen us.

If you have just joined me, I am sharing some of the visits to the Shrines in the U.S. from my new book, "Visiting Mary: Her U.S. Shrines and their Graces" . Thank you.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Visiting Mary - The Beginning and a Giveaway

When my husband and I were traveling through from Nashville to Chicago for a vendor meeting for our business, we purposefully stopped at the Shrine of Christ's Passion in St. John, Indiana. The owners of the shrine had visited our store and suggested we stop if we were ever in the area. The invitation took a couple of years to accept but once accepted, made a huge impact on us.
We are so fortunate for our Catholic Faith. We have people all over the world who share the same beliefs. We have people right here in the U.S. who have built or who work where others have built beautiful places to glorify our Lord and His Mother and the saints. We have people who cannot wait for us to accept an invitation to visit and to learn and to enjoy the journey that their lives have taken and that our lives may take when we simply take the time.
As Allen and I arrived and were looking around, we came upon one of the men who had been in the store and was the owner of the Shrine. He was dressed in clothes fit to work with the landscape crew and that is exactly what he had been doing. But, he stopped his work to take the time to tell us all about the Shrine (which you can read about in Visiting Mary: Her U.S. Shrines and their Graces) and to spend time with us and to share his faith.
And so it all began. Here at the table. Here with an invitation. To sit with Christ. To join Him in the Feast. The Feast that gives life. The Feast that gathers. He breaks the Bread and He invites us to the table. To share our story. To share His life. And we took our time to respond but we did accept the invitation. And the journey began. And the journey continues. Every day. At the Table.
God is good.

Remember, I am giving away a copy of my new book each week for the month of April. All you have to do is comment on this blog or on facebook or twitter and I will randomly draw a name each week for a free book.