On the second Sunday of Lent, we read the story of Jesus’ Transfiguration. In the Transfiguration, we see Jesus’ appearance changed, but even more astoundingly we see Peter’s transformation in which he attunes his will to God’s will putting aside his own selfish desires. How will you let the Lord transform you this Lent?
I was introduced to the Blessed Mother almost thirty years ago before I became Catholic, while working at a psychiatric hospital as a mental health technician. My supervisor at the time had noticed that the demands of the stressful job were taking their toll on me and offered the “Hail Mary” prayer as a way to ease some of the tension in my life. “I am not trying to push anything on you,” she explained, “I just think you may find it soothing and relaxing.” Having grown up Episcopalian, I had heard of the prayer, but never gave it any serious consideration. Nevertheless, given the state of my life at the time, I was happy to give it a try.
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What’s God’s standard of mercy? In other words, what are the ground rules when we sin against God and one another? If we’re interested in making it to Heaven, that’s a really important question; one that God answers in today’s reading from Ezekiel and the Gospel of Matthew.
When Pope Pius IX died in 1878 after 32 years, he would be the longest papal reign since Saint Peter himself. It appears the cardinal electors wanted to choose a relatively older person to succeed him. They elected 68-year-old Cardinal Pecci, thinking he would only last a few years. However, on his 90th birthday, when a nun toasted Pope Leo XIII by shouting, “Holy Father, may you live to be 100,” the pope exclaimed, “Why put limits on God?” When he returned to the Father’s House in 1903, he celebrated 25 years as pope. This feast of the Chair of St. Peter is our family celebration.
When today’s saint's parents died when he was only a boy, his brother, who was a priest named Damien, lovingly took care of him. To honor this act of charity, his younger brother changed his name to Peter Damien. This future saint dedicated his life to God as a hermit and monk who became an abbot and ultimately a cardinal-bishop of Ostia. He’s known for his work in reforming the clergy of his diocese from laxness and immorality to fidelity to God and holiness of life.
Imagine your family as a garden. Sunlight streams through the windows, warming the soil where seeds of love, trust, and forgiveness have been planted. But remember, these seeds won't sprout overnight. Just like rain patiently nourishes the earth, God's love works steadily within our families, coaxing our relationships to blossom in their own time.