The snow has just started to come down here in Westminster, and if the predictions are correct, it’s a good day to stay put. I’ve got a pot of chili on, my dog Smokey has just been out for some playtime, and now it’s time to relax. No matter where you might be, I hope you too can take it easy today, this first Saturday of our Lenten journey.
Last night, I went to the Stations of the Cross at my parish. I’m hoping to make it most weeks this year, I guess trying to make up for missing just about all of them in 2014. Since I was a little kid, I’ve always loved this wonderful spiritual practice, a reminder to each of us that Jesus said “…If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me…” (Luke 9:23).
I have a lot of great memories of childhood, and one of them involves a Franciscan priest named Fr. Kohlwicki (sp?). He wasn’t one of our regular parish priests, and I guess maybe he was a hospital chaplain somewhere, but he would regularly show up at my home parish to lead us in the Stations of the Cross. I was an altar server in those days, and I got assigned to stations quite regularly.
At the beginning and the end of the service, Father K. would lead us, acapella, style, in a rendition of “Where You There?” an old time hymn with very deep meaning. Well, the thing is, Father K., had a terrible singing voice, but it didn’t stop him from belting it out, if you know what I mean. The refrain begins, “Ohhh,” and he sang at a pitch that shook the stained glass windows.
Although everyone else got a good chuckle out of it, there was no doubt that the man was passionate about what he was singing. I’m sure his heart really did tremble as he lead us from station to station.
For me, my Lenten journey each year always puts me in a reflective mood. It takes me back, not only to the events of Jesus’ life, but also of my own. It makes sense that, as a Christian, our lives should be intertwined with the Lord’s. Although I didn’t really know anything about this Franciscan priest who showed up from time to time at St. Finbar, I’m still reflecting on his passionate rendition of “Where You There?,” realizing that, even though I wasn’t there, He did it for me. And for you.
Each of us has our daily crosses to bear, and certainly life can be difficult at times. But we know the end of the story. His Story didn’t end with his terrible crucifixion. Our Lenten journey leads us not to death and destruction, but to Easter and beyond.
I hope you have a blessed and holy Lent, and let’s promise to pray for each other, shall we?