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Father Muench Says...

Ready to walk with Jesus

March 15, 2023

By Father William Muench
NCC columnist

Today, I would like to join with you and walk with you as you move along this road of Lent. By now, we are all pretty much im­mersed in the Lenten Spirit with our prayers, the Scrip­tures and some mortification. Here we are in the middle of Lent. By now we should have our goals de­termined. Lent is about opening in love our hearts and souls. We are ready to walk with Jesus during those events of Holy Week, which is coming up soon. We say each year that Holy Week is the holiest week of the year. During Holy Week, we immerse ourselves in the sufferings of Jesus. We celebrate the Lord Jesus in his saving mystery, remem­bering how he saved us as he endured the outrage and pain leading to this cruci­fixion. Then we celebrate his resurrection.

May these events strengthen our dedication so that we can stand with our Lord today. 

As Lenten pilgrims, there are so many Lenten prac­tices that keep us focused on our goal of being pre­pared to be a part of the Lord’s Holy Week. I encourage you to try the Stations of the Cross. This devotion leads us along the road to Golgotha, reminding us of just how much the Lord Jesus suffered for us, and it leads us to be fully dedi­cated disciples of the Lord. We are told that there were no disciples walking with Jesus that day. May we fill that task as today’s disciples. The stations keep us close to the Lord as we see clearly his sufferings. May we walk with Jesus as his friends.

Today, I also encourage you to participate in the celebration of the Holy Mass on some weekdays, also. Each time we participate at Mass, we know that the Lord unites himself with us in a special way through the unique sacra­ment of the Holy Eucharist. The reception of Holy Communion transforms us with a new and loving dedication that comes from our uniting ourselves with the Lord who suffered so much for us. The Church calls these celebrations a re­birth; we again celebrate and dedicate ourselves, re­newing our baptism in the Lord.

I love the practices of Lent. It is truly a special time in our Church year. So here is one more for you: I want to encourage you today to find some time for silence. Not a long time, maybe just five minutes, with the Lord in silence, just silence – no prayers, no books, no music – just the quiet of being in the presence of the Lord who we know longs to be with us in love. We have only to listen.

I like to think of silence as a prayer of calmness. You and I live in a busy, noisy world. A time of silence is a perfect opportunity to open our hearts in love in the presence of the Lord. The Gospels teach us that the Lord longs to come and be with us in all his glory, just as he transfigured him­self with Peter, James and John on the mountain. I want to encourage you to take just five minutes each day to find a place and be in silence with the Lord. Find five minutes each day during these last few weeks of Lent. Remember, the Lord will always have a message for you so listen.

I would like to offer a few words on silence from my favorite saint, Catherine Doherty. She wrote this: “Silence is the highest form of communication, but we’re not use to it. We don’t think of it, in fact we bypass it. Silence demands discipline. Even more, silence must be the fruit of love. Without love, silence is not pleasant – it is aggressive and hostile. But when it comes out of a heart filled with love, then silence is the highest form of communication.”

Whenever there is loving communicative silence, there is God. So, take the time each day to be with the Lord in silence. I would like to encourage you also to write down the message that the Lord brings to you during you time of silence. Each day the Lord has a message for you. Make a journal for yourself.

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