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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.

April 15

If I Were the Nails

God: I will use you to pierce the hands and feet of my Son.

Nails: Couldn't I hold up beautiful art in the Temple?

God: No, you will hold to the cross my Son whose body is the new Temple.

Nails: Please, may I instead hold together a home for a family to dwell?

God: No, nails are needed to show the true dwelling place of the family and the extent of my LOVE.

Nails: Can't I be used for a table and chairs for a family to gather at meal?

God: No, I need you to allow my Son to give Himself completely as the Bread of Life.

Nails: But He will die.

God: That is my will.

Nails: Thy will be done.

Lara Fairchild

Bishop Dwenger High School Chemistry Teacher

April 8

This coming Sunday is Palm Sunday, the final Sunday of Lent. We will hear the familiar Gospel reading where Jesus rides into Jerusalem on a donkey. As he rides along, the crowd begins spreading their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the ground.

Jesus is on the road to his passion. The disciples too, were with him on this road, albeit, they did not know what was coming. We are also with Jesus on this road, and we know what is coming. We also know how it ends.

For the remainder of Lent, it is a good time to spread ourselves before His feet, clothed completely in Him. As we spread ourselves before His feet, our fears are abated. As we spread ourselves before His feet, we can rest in Him. As we spread ourselves before His feet, little else matters.

Take your blessed palm branches home from Mass and keep them in your home as a witness to faith in Jesus Christ. Use those palm branches to remind you to spread yourself before His feet.

Let us shout with the crowds, as Jesus was entering Jerusalem, "Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!"

Gina (Amick) O'Brien, Class of 1991

April 1

Love, Lost & Forgiveness

"But now we must celebrate and rejoice, because your brother was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found." - Luke 15:32

The words above are from the "Parable of the Prodigal Son" from this past weekend's readings. Over the past four weeks, we have taken the Lenten journey with Jesus getting ready for His victory over death and sin. How has your journey gone? Have you been following your plan? Been faithful to the fast, or attended reconciliation, or been to an additional Mass, or spent an hour of prayer in Adoration, or read the Gospels like you wanted?

We tend to treat God on our terms. We can do what we want, when we want, and follow God when it is convenient. The prodigal son in the parable felt the same way. He left his father, lived life to its fullest, thinking only about himself. God allows us to have choices, to make them good or bad. He made us in His image. He wants us to choose Him above anything else on our own. He loves us that much.

In a reflection from Saint Teresa of Calcutta, she stated, "...God is hungrier for our love than we are for His love. He is hungrier to give His love than we are to receive." Wow, allow that to sink in. He loves us that much.

It is not too late to start over, to get back up and try again on this Lenten journey. The prodigal son was restored by understanding that he needed his father and that his father had more to offer. His father was forgiving and with wide open arms embraced his lost son. If you have failed, or feel lost, then today is a new day. Ask God for forgiveness, seek reconciliation, become restored and be home with God. If you still wonder about God's love for us, then look at the cross with Jesus and his wide open arms.

He loves us that much.

Thomas Scrogham, Bishop Dwenger Parent

March 25

GOD'S RELENTLESS LOVE!

"Relentless" is often utilized as a word to describe something negative, oppressive, and harsh. However, to understand it in the light of God's love for each of us, being relentless takes on special meaning. God truly means business when it comes to loving us completely and unconditionally. He is persistent and unyielding no matter how far we stray, how often we reject, and/or how unappreciative we are of Him. He is Love Himself ~ and desires for us to be love to, and for, others.

Is there someone in my life who needs God's forgiving, unconditional, relentless love shared through me? - no matter how he/she has strayed from me, no matter how he/she has rejected me, no matter how unappreciative he/she has been to me...

As we continue our pilgrimage through this Season of Lent ~ let us ask the Lord to inspire us with a relentless love for Him and others in our lives - Lord, may I simply learn to love as You love.

"No, in all these things we conquer overwhelmingly through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor present things, nor future things, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 8: 37-39

Jason Garrett, Class of 1988

Pastoral Minister, Bishop Dwenger High School

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