UP Catholic 02 09 2018 E Edition Page 5

www.upcatholic.org THE U.P. CATHOLIC LENT February 9, 2018 5 Six Day Silent Directed Retreat March 19 - 24 Triduum Retreat Holy Thursday - Easter March 29 - April 1 The Passion, Death, and Resurrection of the Lord celebrated with the Holy Liturgies, time for quiet reflection, and conversations with other people of faith. Free will offering. Experience the season of Lent with a time of silence to listen to the Lord. Daily Mass and Adoration available. Cost $260.00 Six ways to evangelize during Lent During Lent, when your friends or co-workers express curiosity about Catholic customs and symbolism, use those moments as opportunities to evangelize. The following are six questions Catholics might hear during Lent and some evan- gelizing answers. Read the entire article and find additional Lent resources at www.usccb.org/Lent. WHAT'S WITH THAT DIRT ON YOUR HEAD? Having ashes on your forehead on Ash Wednesday is a tradition that finds its roots in the Old Testament. I turned to the Lord God, to seek help, in prayer and petition, with fasting, sackcloth, and ashes (Daniel 9:3). When the ashes are placed on our foreheads in the sign of the Cross, it is a reminder of several things. First, it is a call to repentance: a physical sign that we are sinners in need of forgiveness, which is how the prophets used it in the Old Testament. Second, it is to remind us that God created us from the earth and when we die, we will return to it. But heres the best part: As Pope Benedict XVI has said, Man is dust and to dust he shall return, but dust is precious in Gods eyes because God created man, destining him to immortality. God so loves us that, even when our bodies return to the dust, our souls are meant to live forever with him. The ashes symbolize all of this. SO WHY AREN'T YOU EATING PEPPERONI PIZZA ON FRIDAY? On Fridays during Lent, we particularly re- member the sacrifice of Christ on the cross. In memory of this great sacrifice, we continue the tradition of penance and sacrifice - abstaining from meat on Fridays is an outward manifesta- tion of an interior reality: the conversion of our hearts. As St. John Paul II has said, In fact, the external aspects of fasting, though important, do not convey the full measure of the prac- tice. Joined to the practice should be a sincere desire for inner purification, readiness to obey the divine will and thoughtful solidarity with our brothers and sisters, especially the very poor. Christ himself fasted and prayed in the desert. Through fasting and praying, we unite ourselves with the sacrifice of Christ and offer him reparation for our sins and failings. WHY EXACTLY ARE YOU NOT EATING CANDY FOR THE NEXT MONTH? This is a very popular penance during Lent, and the questions about it are just as popular. Christ has said, If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me (Luke 9:23). Giving up something we enjoy strengthens our love for Christ and our resilience against temptation. As Pope Benedict XVI said in his Lenten address of 2009, Through fasting and praying, we allow [Christ] to come and satisfy the deepest hunger that we experience in the depths of our being: the hunger and thirst for God. I DON'T GET IT, ALL YOU DO IS GIVE UP CANDY? External sacrifices are the most obvious kind, so sometimes it does look like all we do is avoid chocolate. However, if you look closer, youll realize that fasting and abstinence have always gone hand in hand with two of their best friends: prayer and almsgiving. External sacrifice is a manifestation of interior conversion: interior conversion urges expression in visible signs, ges- tures and works of penance (CCC no. 1430). Interior conversion is where prayer and alms- giving come into play. In almsgiving, we show mercy and generosity to others, giving them a chance to experience the blessings we have. In prayer, we are communicating with God, asking him to bless and perfect our fasting and alms- giving: prayer is the living relationship of the children of God with their Father who is good beyond measure, with his Son Jesus Christ and with the Holy Spirit (CCC no. 2565). WHY ARE YOU CARRYING AROUND TREE BRANCHES? Sometimes, one of the hardest things to explain as a Catholic is our attachment to symbolism. Palm Sunday is a great example of that. We come home from Mass holding palm branches, and we tuck them behind a crucifix or next to the picture of the Last Supper. The truth behind this tradition goes to the story of Palm Sunday, when the people heard that Christ was coming and they took out palm branches and went out to meet him, and cried out Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, [even] the king of Israel (John 12:13). It was a tradition to spread palms before a king as he processed into his city. It was a way to welcome him, to show him glory and homage. Thus, Christ, the true King, was welcomed into Jerusalem. This fulfilled the prophecy in the Old Testa- ment, which declared, Behold: your king is coming to you, a just savior is he, humble and riding on a donkey (Zech. 9:9). WHY CAN'T YOU GO TO THE BASEBALL OPENER ON FRIDAY? In some years, Good Friday occurs on the same day major league baseball teams have their opening day celebrations with games usually starting at 3:05 p.m. While everyone else is heading to the stands, Catholics are walking quietly towards churches. Why? Be- cause at three oclock on a Friday, on a hillside called Calvary, the Savior of the world took his last breath. All for love of us. It was now about noon and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon because of an eclipse of the sun. Then the veil of the temple was torn down the middle. Jesus cried out in a loud voice, Father, into your hands I commend my spirit; and when he had said this he breathed his last (Luke 23:44-46). At 3 p.m. on Good Friday, we take the time to reflect on what Christ has done for us, not only by fasting, but also by the various devotions that our churches offer: veneration of the cross, the reading of the Passion and the Stations of the Cross. On Good Friday, we spend our after- noon walking with Christ to Calvary, immersed in his love and mercy. Find full issues of The U.P. Catholic online at www.upcatholic.org

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