It was the path Jesus embarked upon and it is the path that we too must embrace as we enter into these final days of Lent.
I’m sure many of you remember Paul DiBacco. Paul was a faithful member of St. Brendan, a member of the Liturgy Committee and did much good in the local community of Elkins. He was a wonderful example to all of us. He embraced his cross (cancer) and on January 1, 2003 entered into eternal life – Resurrection.
At the beginning of Lent this year, I received a card from Paul’s brother, Fr. John DiBacco. The card read:
To be wedded
The Forty Days
And join the
Strong of heart,
We climb the
Both Fr. John’s card and my prayer card were authored by Fr. Ed Hayes, who is now deceased.
During this season of Lent, we often pray the Stations of the Cross. One of my favorite stations is the Sixth Station – Veronica wipes the face of Jesus. Why? Because it speaks to me of my Mom – Catherine Veronica. I’m not sure if Veronica was her middle name or the name she chose at Confirmation, but it speaks to me of the woman my mother was – always stepping forward to comfort others, wiping their faces. I remember one time when my Mom was in her early 70’s – probably younger than I am today. She was in the hospital, dealing with heart issues. Her four children – myself included – were standing by her bedside, looking like doom and gloom. My Mom looked at us and said, “Haven’t I taught you better than this? Don’t you know that God will be with us no matter what happens?” Thankfully, my Mom got better and did not die until she was 89 on the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, 2 weeks before her 90th birthday! She was always reaching out, wiping our faces and the faces of so many others. Today, I invite you to reflect upon the station that speaks to your heart. Why does this station capture your attention? What is Jesus saying to you in this?
Years ago I heard a homily given by a Dominican priest – who was a dear friend of mine and has since died. He was preaching on 1 Cor. 13:1-13 which ends with these words, “…and what is Love?” to which he gave the answer: “Love is the never-ending Mystery, tearing us to pieces that we might be put together again.” Are we allowing God during these final days of Lent, during this Coronavirus outbreak, to put us together again?
Jesus stood before Pilate and Pilate asked the question: “What is truth?” He failed to see the Truth that was standing there before him, Jesus, who is “the Way, the Truth and the Life.” Truth is a person, the person of Jesus. Are we embracing Jesus as the Truth that challenges us today?
I’d like to share with you a reflection on the Stations of the Cross, the Way of Love. It was written by Sr. Rita, a Carmelite nun I was privileged to live with for a short time in a Carmelite Monastery in the Bronx. The monastery has since moved to Beacon, NY and Sr. Rita is now in the embrace of her loving God.
Way of Love
“I am the Way” (John 14:6)
“Take up your cross every day”
Some days… you will receive condemnation unto death.
Some days…your cross will be roughly forced upon you.
Some days… you will be weighed down, stumble and fall.
Some days… you will meet My Mother standing there, Mary.
Some days… Simon will be given you to help carry your cross.
Some days… Veronica will come forward and wipe your face for you.
Some days… you will fall, again.
Some days …you will come upon Jerusalem’s Women weeping and
be strengthened to set their minds aright.
Some days… you will be overcome by weakness and will still fall one more time. Some days …they will strip you to nakedness.
Some days… you will be pinned to your cross with nails.
Some days …you will be allowed to die miserably.
Some days… your dead body will be gently taken from the cross
by those who suffered when they put you there.
Some days… you will be taken for dead, and put yet with love in the tomb. Some days… you will know My Father’s Power for you will be raised to life anew! “He who believes in Me shall never die!” John 11:26
And so now I will close with this final thought entitled “My Cross”
My cross is not a relic
of two thousand years ago.
It’s a symbol and a comfort
that’s with me whenever I go.
The message is so simple,
and its meaning clear to see.
It’s kept as a remembrance
of what Jesus did for me.
My cross is a reminder, a keepsake that I hold.
It may be carved in wood or gently cast in gold.
When life gets complicated and the world
seems gone astray, that’s when the cross I
cling to will help me through the day.
I’ll keep it with me always, and someday I will see,
standing there at Heaven’s Gate, it really was the “Key.”