Saturday, March 24, 2012

Lenten Centerpiece: Meditations Week Six

Crucifixion, Palmezzano

This is a short week.  We will add the final element to our Interactive Lenten Centerpiece on Wednesday of the Fifth Week of Lent.   On Palm Sunday, we begin our annual Holy Week tree.  At that time, I will probably put our centerpiece display on our altar table or some other place appropriate to meditation until Good Saturday.   I will try to post the Holy Week devotion as we add to it, so it probably won't be something you'll be able to use this first year.  Maybe, though, it will give you some ideas for next Lent!

This week we will add the nails.  Although I have a realistic-looking Roman nail, it is, naturally, at my other house with the Christmas decorations (it is the kind you can hang on your tree).  I looked online for one, but they are kind of expensive.  So I went to Lowe's and got regular large spikes.  Another option is 6" masonry nails, which look more like the Roman nails.  They are not as large, however, and I felt the larger nails would make a greater impression.  Remember, this is not about getting it perfect or spending a ton of money, it's about impressing truth upon our children's minds and souls.

Because of the shorter time, I am only posting two meditations this week instead of the usual three.

The Crucifixion, detail, Grunewald
Meditation #1:  This is the last full week of Lent. Next week, Holy Week, we will follow the last week of the life of our Lord from His triumphal entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday to His silent resting in the tomb on Good Saturday.  And then comes the joy of the Resurrection on Easter Sunday!  We have added the final piece to our centerpiece--three large (or sharp, if you chose the masonry nails or other nails) nails to represent the nails that pierced Jesus's hands and feet.  Jesus loves us so much He died for us!  Let's think for a minute what would have happened if He hadn't been willing to die for us.
     In some churches, you might have seen statues and crucifixes covered with purple cloth the last few weeks of Lent.  This covering reminds us that without the death of our Lord, there would not have been any saints to pray for us.  The Blessed Virgin Mary would not be our sweet heavenly mother or our intercessor;  St. Joseph would be completely unknown; all the mighty miracles and great acts of kindness that were performed by the saints would have gone undone.  Without Jesus's death on the Cross and His Resurrection on Easter morning, we would have no hope of Heaven and no idea of how much God loves us.  The Holy Spirit would not dwell in us and cleanse us of original sin in Baptism.  We wouldn't be able to go the confession, or even go to Mass.  Actually, it's hard to imagine what a terrible state the world would be in without the presence of the Lord in every tabernacle all over the world and without the continuation of the sacrifice of Christ in the Holy Mass. 
St. Padre Pio even said,

 It would be easier for the world to survive without the sun than to do without Holy Mass.

This is why we pray at the Stations of the Cross: "We adored You, O Christ, and we praise You, because by Your holy Cross You have redeemed the world."

Meditation #2: During Lent, we have offered extra gifts to God.  Maybe we have not eaten certain foods or maybe we have added special prayers.  We have tried to remember to unite all of our troubles, pains, sufferings, and even all of our joys, to Christ.  It may be that someone teased you about your Lenten practices, someone who didn't understand what you were doing or why you would do it.  It is hard for people who don't know Jesus to understand why we would give up anything for Him.  But if they knew Him, they would love Him, too, and they would want to offer gifts to Him just as we have.    Even if we know this, it can be hard to be teased or criticized for our Faith.  
Jesus died for speaking the Truth about Himself.  There will be times when we will suffer for the Truth, too.  Jesus warned us:

You have not chosen me: but I have chosen you; and have appointed you, that you should go, and should bring forth fruit; and your fruit should remain: that whatsoever you shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.  These things I command you, that you love one another.  If the world hate you, know ye, that it hath hated me before you. If you had been of the world, the world would love its own: but because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Remember my word that I said to you: The servant is not greater than his master. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you: if they have kept my word, they will keep yours also.~John 15:16-20

Let us try to remember that when people tease us or criticize us for our Faith, that means we are truly following in the footsteps of our Master and Lord.   We should forgive them and pray for them, too, just as Jesus did.  And, above all, we should keep on obeying God!

***Next year I will repost these meditations, perhaps with some improvements.  I would make one change, which I will note in the introductory post.  The first week should begin on Ash Wednesday and go through the Saturday after Ash Wednesday.  Then, the changes to the centerpiece can take place on Sundays, which I think makes a bit more sense and will be easier to keep track of.  If you have any changes you think would improve this series of meditations, please let me know so I can incorporate as many of them as possible.  Have a blessed Holy Week and a joyful Easter!  If I can, I will post our Holy Week devotion beginning on Palm Sunday.**** 

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