Lenten Reflections

Apr. 4, 2021

During our Lenten Journey, we will be sharing weekly Lenten reflections written by various members of the Dwenger Family. May we all grow closer to Christ during the next 40 days and beyond.

April 5

A very Happy Easter to everyone!

Easter is the reason for our hope. Christ’s Resurrection changes everything. It shows us that sin and death never win because of Christ’s triumph.

The Liturgies during the Paschal Triduum are beautiful and rich in symbolism and hope. One of my favorite prayers from the Triduum is during the Easter Vigil. The Easter Vigil typically begins outside with the Paschal fire and the Easter Candle is lit. Then all follow the light of the candle into the darkened Church. Once inside, all in attendance have small candles and receive light from the Easter Candle. The Easter Candle symbolizes Christ the Light scattering the darkness of sin and death. The Candle’s light, along with all the candles from those in attendance, scatters the actual darkness in the Church. The priest then chants the Easter Proclamation known as Exultet, which is Latin for “Exalt.” The Exultet is my favorite prayer from the Triduum. The Exultet takes about 10 minutes to chant and poetically describes Christ’s Triumph.

My favorite except from it is this: “The sanctifying power of this night dispels wickedness, washes faults away, restores innocence to the fallen, and joy to mourners, drives out hatred, fosters concord, and brings down the mighty.”

In Christ, our sins are forgiven and our innocence is restored. This is why we celebrate Easter.

Fr. David Huneck ‘09

BDHS Chaplain

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March 29

Sit in silence and meditate on this passage for a few moments:

“One of the criminals who was hanged there was hurling abuse at Him, saying, “Are You not the Christ? Save Yourself and us!” But the other responded, and rebuking him, said, “Do you not even fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed are suffering justly, for we are receiving what we deserve for our crimes; but this man has done nothing wrong.” And he was saying, “Jesus, remember me when You come into Your kingdom!” And He said to him, ‘Truly I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.’” (LK 23:39-43)

This passage from Luke depicts the story of the Good Thief, St. Dismas. St. Dismas was the good criminal hung on the cross next to Christ, who came to Jesus in the final hour. His official feast day is March 25th, shadowed by the Feast of the Annunciation of the Lord. Although we do not know of his exact name, the name “Dismas,” Greek for “sunset,” was given to him in early Christian writings as he was present when the Light of the World was “setting” from this earth.

St. Dismas’ story can be related to the parable of the Laborers in the Vineyard. The Laborers get the same reward, even though some started at the beginning of the day, and some started toward the end of the day. St. Dismas came to Christ in his final moments, and still was invited into Paradise. St. Dismas saw no miracles, heard no sermons or parables. He recognized Jesus as the Christ when He was at his lowest and weakest point, suffering on the cross. We can relate this to our lives right now.

Catholicism can be looked upon as unpopular in the world in which we live. People are preaching opposite views, criticizing, and trying to disprove the faith. Sometimes it seems as if the whole world opposes the Church’s beliefs on controversial topics. As you can see, having faith in the toughest circumstances is not easy, but we see this being completed by Dismas. He recognized Jesus as the Christ while He hung on the cross, at Jesus’ lowest and weakest point. We must see Jesus at His low in our society and defend Him against all who “hurl abuse” at Him, just as Dismas did. Accept Christ during his persecution, defend Christ against criticism, so that He may remember us as He comes into His Kingdom this coming Easter Sunday.

May we keep the story of the Good Thief alive in our hearts as we approach the Triduum.

Parker Noll ‘16
BDHS Theology Teacher 

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March 22

Silence. I do not know about you, but often times I have a very hard time enjoying the silence. Silence can be a scary thing…especially when there is silence in the hallways of a high school! What is going on when you do not hear a thing? Are we listening for God in these moments?

In addition to my role as Assistant Principal at Bishop Dwenger, I wear another hat in my parish as the Co-Director of Religious Education. I was recently preparing for our upcoming Stations of the Cross trying to find a format that children, ages 6 all the way up to 13, would understand. Since I cannot hand out my standard, kid-friendly booklets this year due to COVID, where can I find something they can have in hand that is one sheet? A friend of mine made a one-page Stations for his parish, so I decided to use that.

For the 13th Station, Jesus being taken down from the cross, the word associated with it is “silence.” For some reason that word struck me. As Jesus was being taken down from the cross, “the whole world is silent.” We live in a society with quite a bit of noise. Noise of the radio in the car, noise of the television at home, noise of the phone ringing, etc. We have noise in many areas of our lives. How can we ask God to help us shut out the noise of the world? Silence! During this Lenten season, may God help us enjoy the beauty in silence.

Our Gospel reading this weekend was one we all know well. When reading it, I started singing in my head the song from Church, “Unless a grain of wheat shall fall, upon the ground and die, it remains, but a single grain, with no life.” How can we “die” to our old life, those things holding us back this Lenten season, the noise in our life, to be born again bettering ourselves in time for Easter?

There are only 2 weeks left of Lent, so we are in the homestretch! How are we doing so far? There is still time to recommit to that promise and finish strong! How can I get rid of those old habits that are bringing me down, die to the old life, to be a better follower of our Lord? What noise in my life can I eliminate so that I can better enjoy the silence? Perhaps this quote from St. Teresa can help us ponder this question:

"We need to find God and He cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is a friend of silence."   ~St. Teresa of Calcutta~

Amy Johns '95
Bishop Dwenger High School
Assistant Principal

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March 15

“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son…” The world has commercialized this particular verse from the Gospel of John. We see it posted at nearly every sporting event (when spectators are allowed!). It has become commonplace. And yet…

The Gospel this weekend focused on what it truly means to be the “light of the world.” The world would have us believe that shining as the light of the world means that you have worldly credibility – lots of “likes” on social media, being fixated on safeguarding our reputation, focusing on making the outside look good, and not on what truly matters interiorly. God, however, sent his Son to be OUR light, to shine on all those nooks and crannies of our lives, to give us the grace to start over, find the spots that maybe could be a little better and spring clean our souls.

The second half of Lent is ready to start. If we haven’t done so well during the first half, there’s still time! God’s total gift of love can help us truly discern what is good, and what is not, during these remaining weeks of Lent. “But whoever lives the truth comes to the light, so that his works may be clearly seen as done in God.” John 3:21

Dorothy & Tom Schuerman
BDHS Past Parents

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March 8

So often in our lives we do not accept the flaws of others. We look at splinters in the eyes of the world without taking the beam out of our own. Most especially in this era we try to avoid others at all costs; our social aptitude of acceptance is far lower, and our anxiety levels are higher. We try our best to hide behind a screen.

In this Sunday’s reading, we saw Jesus at the well with his disciples. When they wandered off into the city, he turned to a woman to speak to her. Being that she was a Samaritan, she was rather taken aback by the idea of him speaking to her, as the Jews and Samaritans did not associate with one another. They were bitter rivals. But Jesus offered to this strange woman what all of us so desire- the living water- and told her all that she had done in her life. Amazed, this woman ran to the city below them, proclaiming, as he had revealed to her, that Jesus was the Messiah, the Christ.

Not only did Jesus accept into his arms a woman who was seen as the enemy of all of Israel, but also he offered her more than she ever could have imagined. He filled her with joy, serenity, and hope for the future. This encounter with Jesus likely changed her life forever. So often do we disregard the impact that we have on other people, instead focusing upon ourselves. Good or bad, our actions leave marks on the hearts of people and resonate in their souls. We should do our best to live our lives in portrayal of the Lord. We should hold our care and acceptance of all to the highest of standards.

Moreover, we should not see the sins of others as a hazard to getting to know them, nor should we stereotype others without truly seeing them. We too are all stained people- there is not a blameless one among us. Yet, we tend to push others away for their faults when we have the same ones ourselves. This only damages our own souls. During Lent, we must reflect upon what sins are holding us back from obtaining a stronger, more faithful future. In order to properly do this, we must avoid focusing on the downfalls of others and instead discern our own, desiring improvement. We cannot grow stronger while holding resentment and bitterness towards others. We must let go so as to move forward.

Therefore, during this season of Lent, we should seize the joy that the Samaritan woman felt in her heart and proclaim the Word of the Messiah to others. We should spread virtue rather than vice. Lent is a time of letting go of malignancy and working diligently to improve upon ourselves as children of God. In the name of Christ, let us all work towards a world of love and admission.

Kate Rashevich ‘21

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March 1

One of the most obvious characteristics of our lives is that we are busy people. We experience our days as being filled with things to do. We have so many competing voices demanding our attention - homework, extracurricular activities, zoom meetings, worries and anxieties, etc. These can feel like unwanted competing guests knocking constantly on our door.

Jesus took Peter, James, and John and led them up a high mountain by themselves. It was here that he was transfigured before them, and his clothes became dazzling white, and they were terrified. Their eyes were opened to Christ’s glory. This encounter changes everything, as they now know for sure who Jesus really is. We are told that a voice came from a cloud saying, “This is my beloved Son, listen to him.”

All the preoccupations and knocks on our door can get in the way of responding to God’s command – “Listen to him.”

Lent provides an opportunity for us to slow down from our occupations and our preoccupations, and enter into a place where we can listen to him, to encounter the Lord, and discern who he is calling us to be.

Take some time this Lent to enter into a place of quiet and contemplation. I know this can be quite difficult for most of us. Perhaps try to schedule a time to converse with the Lord and stick to it. That may be for just five minutes, but over time it may last longer. If others ask if you are busy, say “yes, I have an appointment.” Then spend time in silence, ignore the knocking on the door; these demanding voices in our minds will eventually go away when they are not answered.

It may be in the quiet that we hear the voice of the Lord. When we take time to be still in the presence of the Lord, we will be transformed by God’s overflowing gifts.

Tom Kenny
Bishop Dwenger High School
Theology Department Chair

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February 22

Matthew Kelly, a prominent Catholic Evangelist often states that, “The beauty of Catholicism is every human being’s right.” Of all of the facets of Catholicism that we can draw upon, for me, today, it is the beauty of the Church season. If you are like me, with the impact of the global pandemic and all of its limiting effects on our social interactions, health of loved ones, and our daily routines, we can sometimes fall into the mundane routine cycle where every day can feel the same.

The beauty of the Church season snaps us from ordinary time into Lent. That change in season presents us with an option to step away from our daily routines and focus on our relationships with Christ and our neighbor. Lent provides us with a wonderful opportunity to leverage discipline in order to become better disciples of Christ. By choosing to do something, anything during this season, you choose to turn away from something else and toward Christ. The Lenten season offers us the opportunity to reflect and spiritually participate in the journey with Jesus and his disciples, as he vividly provides us with the perfect example of selfless love, friendship, sacrifice, and surrendering to God’s will.

My hope and prayer is that we absorb all that his Church season provides, so that as we experience more and more seasons, we begin to weather and, in doing so, begin to transform into the future saints HE has called us to be.

Mother Mary, Pray For Us!
May God Bless You and Keep You!

Sean M. Lyons
Current BD Parent

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Ash Wednesday - February 17

Now is the time to Rediscover Jesus! This past Sunday, we heard in the gospel of Mark how Jesus cleansed a leper. After the leper was healed, Jesus warned him sternly to not share anything with anyone. However, for whatever reason, the man went away and publicized the whole matter. The issue with that is not so much the disobedience; after all, it’s only natural to want to share the joy that we experience in our lives. Whether that be a new favorite restaurant, something that happened at school, or during work, it is natural to share goodness with others. But in that sharing, the deeper question that should be asked is this: “how is Jesus being discovered?”

Jesus ultimately wants the man to remain silent so that He has the opportunity to encounter and meet people without individuals having any pre-formed opinions about Him. The miracle that is happening is partly the healing that Jesus offers, but it is also the unstated reality that Jesus says, “I want you!” Jesus’ desire for the leper, and for all people, is to be encountered, to be discovered. In this discovery, we have an opportunity to be healed, loved, and offered direction for our lives.

Brothers and sisters, Lent is inviting us to a time of rediscovery of who Jesus Christ is. Whether this be our 1st Lent, our 10th Lent, or our 50th Lent; every Lent is an opportunity to discover, in a new way, who Jesus is and to receive from Him the statement, “I want you!” It is our responsibility to get to know Jesus. Now you may be asking, how do I make this rediscovery?

  1. Commit to reading or listening to scripture every day. Fr. Mike Schmitz has a podcast, “The Bible in a Year.” START NOW IF YOU HAVEN’T!
  2. Commit to a daily Mass during the week.
  3. Pray the Stations of the Cross.
  4. Spend time before the Blessed Sacrament, either with exposed Adoration or in a chapel where the Blessed Sacrament is present.
  5. Go on a retreat. If there isn’t one to go on, select a day and set aside quiet time where you don’t have to focus on school or work, but can rest with God.

Whatever is done, use the theme, Rediscover Jesus, so if people ask, “what is the Lenten goal?” we can say, “I’m rediscovering Jesus.” In this rediscovery we should want to share Him, so others have an opportunity to discover who He is and so they have the opportunity to learn how much He wants them!

Fr. Jay Horning
BDHS Chaplain

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