A Call to a Deeper Faith

Lent is one of those times of the year, when the days seem longer, the food options are less appealing, and the promise of spring and the Resurrection are so very close. How many times has a Lenten season passed without barely batting an eye. We may follow the observance of no meat on Fridays, the removal of the Gloria at Mass, and giving up the usual sweet treats. But how many of these traditions are by habit rather than from the heart?

The 2020 Lenten Season may have appeared to begin the same as every year prior. Yet, quickly things changed which were beyond our control. Things that deeply impacted all of our lives, whether we wanted to participate in the initial hysteria or not. When it came down to it, we all were handed a more sacrificial Lent than ever imagined. (Our imaginations are not very broad as adults.)

Now we are called to something much deeper, something greater than our own surface Lenten practices. For many of us in the US, we have never been void of the sacraments, especially of the Eucharist. Out of despair comes greatness. The greater the suffering, the greater the reward. We have been called to Faith! A renewed sense of the sacred not only in our personal faith, but in the Eucharist. Our Lord has never left us, not even after His death, as he remains in the tabernacle waiting for us day and night. Yet, our actions speak louder than our words. Our attendance at Mass, sometimes for love, but other times through duty. We have now been given an opportunity to closely examine our lives, our daily actions that are sometimes ignored as our lives tend to resemble one hectic roller coaster ride. God has not only forced us to slow down with self-quarantine, to focus on the family, to think about others who may be in need, to pray for those who are sick, but to examine our own souls. Let’s not waste this time with a surface examination, but truly ask ourselves if our actions would change if this was our last day, our last week, or last year. Ultimately, do we truly prepare our souls for the coming of Christ in the Eucharist every Sunday. Do we preserve the sacredness and mystery of our Faith?

Let us renew our faith and hope towards the Truth – the sacredness of the Faith. We do not want to die and have to admit that the Lent of 2020 was wasted, that we only found time to wallow in our personal miseries. Rather, we hope to see all of the good we have achieved for Christ through our daily prayers and sufferings in this Lent.

In the silence of art…

Silence is the backbone of great art.

The world began Holy Week mourning the destruction of Notre Dame. We contemplate the sorrow behind hundreds of years of Catholic history, but we can also turn our hearts and minds towards contemplation of the beautiful. If there’s any time during the year that requires silence, it is Good Friday. The Friday before Easter Sunday (Christ’s Resurrection). And silence and art complement each other.

Anne Hathaway stated a beautiful reflection regarding Notre Dame…
“I know this is an inspired representation of an even greater divinity. I know this blessed place is a human-made interpretation of what is mysterious, unknowable, and undefinable and while seeing her burn brings tears to my eyes, I know even flames cannot diminish her sacredness.
Still, not her.
Please.
Not her. “

Silence and art go hand-in-hand, as each one needs the elements of the other. The beauty of art brings the mind to a higher level of contemplation. The more we admire great art, the more our minds will be drawn to the good and the beautiful. The history of Notre Dame gives a sense of wonder and admiration. Art leaves us with a mysticism that feels untouchable. A glimpse into the eyes of another person (the artist). But it is up to us to embrace the beauty and contemplate its majesty. Do we live our lives drawn to the arts? Do we decorate our homes and businesses with art that encourages the good and the beautiful? Or are we numb and void of these beauties?

@dmheckenkamp photo (Painting by Jeff Darrow)