Ruler of the Night, Guarantor of the day . . .
This day — a gift from you.
This day — like none other you have ever given, or we have ever received.
This Wednesday dazzles us with gift and newness and possibility.
This Wednesday burdens us with the tasks of the day, for we are already halfway home
halfway back to committees and memos,
halfway back to calls and appointments,
halfway on to next Sunday,
halfway back, half frazzled, half expectant,
half turned toward you, half rather not.
This Wednesday is a long way from Ash Wednesday,
but all our Wednesdays are marked by ashes —
we begin this day with that taste of ash in our mouth:
of failed hope and broken promises,
of forgotten children and frightened women,
we ourselves are ashes to ashes, dust to dust;
we can taste our mortality as we roll the ash around on our tongues.
We are able to ponder our ashness with
some confidence, only because our every Wednesday of ashes
anticipates your Easter victory over that dry, flaky taste of death.
On this Wednesday, we submit our ashen way to you —
you Easter parade of newness.
Before the sun sets, take our Wednesday and Easter us,
Easter us to joy and energy and courage and freedom;
Easter us that we may be fearless for your truth.
Come here and Easter our Wednesday with
mercy and justice and peace and generosity.
I figured that January 6, Epiphany, would be the last day to see Christmas decorations in a church. I returned to Holy Trinity Polish Mission, another church built in the late 19th Century. I’d been blown away with its art and architecture.
Once a local parish, Holy Trinity is now a mission for Polish Catholics in Chicago. The mass I attended was 100% in Polish so I marveled at the sacred art as scripture was read and the homily given.
The mass I attended had about 300 people in attendance, which is unexpected in an era when so many churches are half empty. I think the Polish are still quite serious about religion.
I learned that Poland celebrated its independence in 1918.
I love to see how people keep their culture alive generation after generation. Holy Trinity has a grade school and high school.
My parents’ visit to St. John Cantius in the fall inspired me to seek out the most splendid churches in Chicago. I found a useful article to help me form a list. My first church was St. John Cantius where I attended my first Latin mass.
Figuring the Christmas decorations would still be up, today I went to St. Hedwig in the Bucktown neighborhood.
The church stuns with its beauty as you first enter. Lots of gold and gorgeous polished wood. Ceilings were painted with biblical stories just as they are in Europe.
St. Hedwig’s Nativity scene
The three Wise Men are due to appear on Epiphany, January 6th.
Below is a fascinating podcast on forgiveness. It’s part of the Feminist Catholic Podcast series and features Rosario Rodriguez, who experienced two assaults and had to learn what forgiveness really is.
I happened upon The Jewish Cardinal (a.k.a. Le métis de Dieu) at my library and am so glad I did. It’s the story of Jean-Marie Aaron Lustiger, the son of Polish-Jewish immigrants who converted to Catholicism as a boy during WWII. His mother was killed at Auschwitz and though his father isn’t religious, he’s hurt by his son’s conversion and later decision to become a priest.
As the movie starts, Pope John Paul II soon makes Lustiger a bishop and soon a cardinal. Lustiger is real, someone whom people can relate to. He shakes things up and causes turbulence but eventually people see he’s right. For example, early on he sees that the church needs to reach people via mass communication and he starts an archdiocese radio station which he himself broadcasts from.
He also doesn’t like when his Jewish origins are written about as a gimmick or when he’s asked by a high ranking rabbi to deny his Jewish identity.
He often meets with John Paul II in the ’80s when the pope is fairly new. They understand each other and he earns the pope’s respect.
When it’s learned that Carmelite nuns have made a convent in Auschwitz, Lustiger becomes something of a mediator and possible pawn in a conflict that’s both political and religious. He’s savvy enough to broker a fair resolution, but gets betrayed.
The acting is stellar with Lustiger (played by Laurent Lucas) and the actother cast members turning in bold, believable performances. The actor who played JPII carried off the role with great credibility. (He’s not perfect.) The film’s never hokey or preachy, just real and compelling. I’m so glad the intriguing name called to me.
Each week Ailsa of Where’s My Backpack? challenges bloggers with a creative prompt. Last week we were suppose to post photos inspired by “Arches.” It’s too good to ignore so I found some lovely arches in China, New Mexico, and Thailand.
What arches have you seen? If you want to join the fun, follow these steps:
Create your own post and title it Travel theme: Arches
Include a link to this page in your post so others can find it too
Get your post in by next Thursday, as the new travel theme comes out on Friday
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