Celebrating the Feast of the Annunciation

Yesterday was March 25th known to many as the Feast of the Annunciation.  It falls 9 months before Christmas because it is the celebration of  the Angel Gabriel coming to tell Mary that she will give birth to the Son of God.

 

The feast of the annunciation
My daughter came up with this display all on her own, I was impressed.

 

It is a holiday celebrated most famously in Sweden with waffles and in other countries with circular cakes (like bunt cakes) to symbolize eternity or seed cakes (like poppy seed) to represent new life.  It is a festive day and when it falls in the middle of Lent it can feel a bit jarring. Here we have been meditating on death and repentance and are suddenly thrust into a something that feels more like a baby shower.

The feast of the annunciation
I wish I would have stopped to take a picture of the 13 kids eating cake in the back yard.

 

There are some things  which can’t be taught in books, they must be lived to be known.  One of the gifts of the liturgical calendar, is that through its various seasons and holidays it teaches us to experience life in the light of our faith in Christ.

 

This year I had several friend who faced the death of loved ones right at Christmas time.  They had no choice but to grieve and celebrate in the same breath. And while I don’t think these sorts of emotional juxtapositions will ever be easy, living through the liturgical seasons gives us a taste of the multi-dimensional nature of our emotional life year after year.  In following the seasons we are encouraged to explore the depths of our own souls in both joy and sorrow, to bring our hearts before God, and to align our lives with the life of the church. When triumph is followed by disaster we have a sense of the path to take, we have walked it and we know where to fix our eyes. In darkness of the tomb as we wait for the light of resurrection.

The feast of the annunciation
Check out this cake.

 

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So happy Feast of the Annunciation to you and praying that the remainder of lent is a beautiful time of reflection as we await the celebration of Easter that is to come.

 

For more on the liturgical year, check out this book.

For more from Liturgy of Life you can subscribe to get monthly emails, like me on facebook, or join our facebook discussion group. Thanks for reading friends I look forward to connecting with you.

 

 

 

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What the heck do the Jarretts do on the border anyway?

In case my last few posts about immigration had you asking this question, I thought I’d share an article written by our diocese about our mission.

Immigration. Liturgy of Life

The first thing you notice about the Lower Rio Grande Valley is the wide open sky above scrub brush and low-lying buildings, interspersed with chain-link fences and frequently, a pack of roaming dogs. Every Monday the Rev. Michael Jarrett, a C4SO priest and founder of The Trinity Mission, drives his truck through this landscape to La Posada Providencia, a residential transition shelter for immigrants and asylees after they have been processed through U.S. Customs.

Since moving to the area last September, Jarrett has volunteered his time to the Sisters of Divine Providence who staff the shelter, offering himself as a sacramental presence of the body of Christ on America’s southern border. Each month, hundreds of families fleeing genocide, political oppression and cartel control in Cuba, Central America, Africa and Asia arrive at the border asking to be protected, overloading the government’s current system.

“It may be a threshold to a land of opportunity, but for many our southern border is a holding cell,” Jarrett says. “It can be a place of complete upheaval of hopes and expectations.”

 

Check out the rest of the article here.

 

 

For more from Liturgy of Life you can subscribe to get monthly emails, like me on facebook, or join our facebook discussion group. Thanks for reading friends I look forward to connecting with you.

 

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Are Refugees Dangerous? A repost from the Public Discourse

 

immigration

Immigration remains a decisive issue for our nation and I remain far too uneducated to have much to say about it.  The Witherspoon Institute’s weekly online publication, Public Discourse has been a great resource for me on issues of morality, culture and politics. This article, Are Refugees Dangerous? is no exception. It does not deny the significant risks and challenges in managing the refugee crisis, but offers a thoughtful look at some of the downsides of the current immigration ban and paints a picture of what a healthier approach might look like. It also asks us to rise to the challenge, that we would be a country who seeks to care for those in need of help.

I’d love to hear your thoughts after reading. Do you have a personal story to share about immigration? What questions would you like to have answered as I plan for more posts in this series?

 

 

For more from Liturgy of Life you can subscribe to get monthly emails, like me on facebook, or join our facebook discussion group. Thanks for reading friends I look forward to connecting with you.

 

 

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Discussion Questions: The Death of Ivan Ilyich Liturgy of Life Reading Group

Liturgy of Life Reading Group
This happened! The first physical meeting of the Liturgy of Life Reading Group. We had a small but mighty gathering and we are looking forward to more. If you are thinking about a book club consider gathering a few friends to read along with the Liturgy of Life Reading Group.

 

For those of you who are reading along in Tolstoy’s, The Death of Ivan Ilyich with the Liturgy of Life Reading Group, I wanted to share the questions we used in our discussion.  Please share your thoughts in the comments.

 

1. Is the moment of Ivan’s death a triumph or a failure? For example, he declares: “Death is finished. It is no more.” Is this a positive or negative statement?
2. Discuss the significance of the title. If the work professes to be about Ivan’s death, why is it almost entirely dedicated to Ivan’s life?
3. Is Gerasim a type of Christ? What do we learn about caring for the dying from him?
4. What did you think of the black bag as a symbol?
5. What has been/is/should be the Christian response to an illness that can not be cured?

6. How does our society view/treat those at the end of life is this consistent with the Christian faith?
6. Do you think Ivan would have reached the same conclusion at the end of his life if it had not been for the suffering that came with his dying? Is suffering good? Is it bad?
7. How does this story inform our approach to suffering among the living? Among those who are in their last days? Do you think the last days of someone’s life can be meaningful/valuable even if they involve suffering? Does this inform our response to the movement towards physician assisted suicide?
8. Was Ivan’s suffering primarily physical, spiritual or emotional? What about in your own experience or in watching others, what type of suffering is most significant or is this an impossible separation?
9. How does suffering when it does not result in death affect our spiritual life? What should the Christian response be to suffering?

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For more from Liturgy of Life you can subscribe here for monthly emails, like me on facebook, or join our facebook discussion group. Thanks for reading friends I look forward to connecting with you.

 

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