Lenten Reflections

Apr. 21, 2019

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.

March 18

  At Bishop Dwenger High School, we are called to be Citizens of Two Worlds, meaning that, while we are called to live out our vocation in this mortal world now, we truly belong with the Lord in the eternal world of His Heavenly Kingdom. While Bishop Dwenger students are called to academic and athletic excellence, our most vital mission remains:to strive toward spiritual excellence and union with our Lord.

  Last Sunday’s second reading (Phil. 3:17-4:1) reaffirms the truth of our school’s motto when St. Paul warns against allowing our minds to be “occupied by earthly things” and reminds us that “our citizenship is in Heaven.” During this season of Lent, we re-examine our lives so as to separate ourselves from the earthly things to which we may have become unhealthily attached. Earthly treasures such as wealth, beauty, and esteem, while not themselves evil, can lead us into sin by possessing our obsession and dependency. Through the penitential pillars of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving, we might shed our attachment to earthly things and instead become more concerned with the things of Heaven. This calls for a radical change, a rejection of and repentance for sin, and a concrete behavioral redirection toward the good.

  But we are not alone in this renewal of ourselves - Christ is at the very center of this conversion. St. Paul comforts us that Christ “will change our lowly body to conform with His Glorified Body.” Through our spiritual devotions, perseverance in virtue, and most especially through the participation in the Eucharistic feast of the Holy Mass, we conform, or form with, Christ’s own Transfigured Body which He revealed to Peter, James, and John in last Sunday’s Gospel (Luke 9:28B-36). Upon seeing Christ in His divine form, the apostles, formerly “overcome by sleep,” become “fully awake” to the glory of their God. How many times do our obsessions with earthly things cause us to fall asleep in our faith? How can we awaken ourselves to the transfigured Christ present with us now in the Eucharist? What change must we make to turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospel?

  As Citizens of Two Worlds, our Dwenger Family is called not only to a noble earthly excellence, but most importantly to an excellence in our relationship with our Lord strengthened through regular re-examination of ourselves. What are the earthly things that have been negatively occupying our time? How can we engage in greater prayer to awaken ourselves to the Transfigured Christ present in the Eucharist? What are we doing now to maintain our citizenship in Heaven, and how can we ask the Lord’s assistance in doing so?

Mary C. Simcox, Class of 2019

March 11

Be with me Lord, when I am in trouble.

Trouble is a universal truth in everyone's life. Whether it stems from things we can control or random things that just seem to happen to us, trouble follows us wherever we go.

But the real beauty of this refrain from yesterday's Responsorial Psalm is that God recognizes that success is not defined by perfection, but rather the pursuit of perfection. In His wisdom, He knows we will find trouble - and then it is up to us as to how we respond. Do we turn toward God or away from Him?

As you ramp up your Lenten journey, be aware of when trouble typically finds you. Does it happen at a certain time of day or day of the week? Or when you are with a specific person or in a specific place or social media platform?

Be aware of how you respond to the trouble that comes your way as well. Do you get angry and lash out? Do you give up? Do you blame others?

Invite God into your messy world this Lent and let Him ease your troubles.

Be with me God, when I am in trouble.

John Christensen, Class of '87

Ash Wednesday - March 6

We are all going to die! Not the typical start to a reflection, right? But it’s true, at some point our earthly journey will end and our heavenly journey will begin. We are all going to die, someday, when God calls us. Ash Wednesday and the season of Lent both give an immediate focus on the realism and finitude of life.

  • How can I be more than just a good person?
  • How am I growing in holiness?
  • What am I doing with my life?

The actions of our life now, any virtuous habit we form, or vice-filled action we retain, have eternal consequences. We are all going to die, and we need to be reminded of this so that we can make choices that will help us to live a life for more than this present age.

As we journey through Lent, with Jesus towards His death, we should reflect and think of how we can grow in holiness, preparing for our own deaths.

  • What vice or sin do I need to remove, so that I may grow in holiness?
  • What virtue or grace do I need to ask for, so that I may grow in holiness?
  • What will I sacrifice, either by giving up or adding in, so that I may grow in holiness?

While living our earthly life, we should each ensure that we are prepared to meet Jesus in the next.

Fr. Jay Horning

Chaplain, Bishop Dwenger High School

Parochial Vicar, Saint Vincent de Paul Catholic Church