Our Lenten Path, Week Two

by Vicky Otto, Director of Precious Blood Companions

One of my favorite movies is called “Love Actually.” At the beginning of the movie you see a large crowd gathered at the airport. As the camera pans across the crowd everyone’s face displays a sense of anxiety and stress. The second time the camera pans across the crowd the faces begin to change. Suddenly they see their loved ones that they have been waiting for as they departed the plane. Faces were transformed from tense and stress filled to faces filled with love.

I can only imagine what it must have been like for the disciples as they saw Jesus transformed. As one author wrote, “Jesus was transformed by his love for God and by God’s love for him.” Just as in the airport when faces were transformed from stressed filled to love filled Jesus was transformed because of God’s love for him. But like the disciples, we are not mere spectators in the gospel. With the disciples, we are given a glimpse of Jesus’s identity which in turn will allow each of us to experience the transforming power of God’s love.

Every day we get a glimpse of the God’s love. When? When we experience the love and care of a family member. When we experience people reaching out to help someone else. When we experience the beauty of a wonderful sunrise, sunset. When we experience the peace that comes from our time in prayer. I’m sure that you can list more. As a community that is bound together by Precious Blood spirituality any time we reach out to another to share the gift reconciliation we offer that person the same glimpse that the disciples had. But we are human and there are times when we block those opportunities to revel in these experiences. Sometimes we intentionally close ourselves off to listening to Jesus, to all that he invites us to and that he invites us to do. Sometimes we don’t want have that total trust in the love of Jesus. During this season of Lent, we are given the time to consider what parts of our lives needs transformation. Reflect on these times that we have blocked things out or that we haven’t been open to listening to Jesus. May each of us recommit ourselves to trust in the love of Jesus and to courageously step out to share this love with others so they may have a glimpse of the transforming power of God’s love.

For more information about Precious Blood Companions go to www.preciousbloodkc.org/join-us/companions/

Are you Ready for Ash Wednesday?

by Vicky Otto, Director of Precious Blood Companions

When I was a child, I always dreaded Ash Wednesday because I had a heck of a time trying to figure out what to give up for Lent.  Like most of my friends, I usually stuck with the “I’ll give up chocolate” only to gorge on Easter chocolate with a vague remembrance of why I did it in the first place.  I have a different perspective regarding Lent now. A priest friend told me once that Lent means “Springtime.”  We celebrate the new birth of Christ through his resurrection and death to the things in us that are not Christ like.  So what do we need to let die this Lent?

Many years ago, I received a short article called “Keeping a Holy Lent” written by William Arthur Ward.  Ward challenged me then and challenges me every time I read this regarding what I need to “give up” during the Lenten season.  As we prepare to enter the great season of Lent consider:
  • Fasting from judging others, feasting on Christ dwelling in them.
  • Fasting from the emphasis on differences, feasting on our oneness with others.
  • Fasting from the darkness around us, feasting on the Light of Christ.
  • Fasting from thoughts of illness, feasting on the healing power of God.
  • Fasting from words that pollute, feasting on words that purify.
  • Fasting from discontent, feasting on gratitude.
  • Fasting from pessimism, feasting on optimism.
  • Fasting from withholding anger, feasting on sharing feelings in love.
  • Fasting from worry and living in the future, and feasting on trust.
  • Fasting from guilt, feasting on freedom and forgiveness.
  • Fasting from complaining, feasting on appreciation.
  • Fasting from stress, feasting on self-care and peace.
  • Fasting from hostility, feasting on letting go.
  • Fasting from bitterness, feasting on acceptance.
  • Fasting from selfishness, feasting on compassion.
  • Fasting from discouragement, feasting on hope.
  • Fasting from apathy, feasting on enthusiasm.
  • Fasting from suspicion, feasting on seeing the good and beautiful.
  • Fasting from idle gossip, feasting on spreading good news.
  • Fasting from problems that overwhelm, feasting on God’s strength.
  • Fasting from talking, feasting on listening.
  • Fasting from trying to be in control, feasting on letting go.
Let us pray that through our Lenten journey we may be created anew. Happy feasting and fasting during Lent!

You can learn more about Precious Blood Companions at https://preciousbloodkc.org/join-us/companions/