Today’s popular culture often teaches us that we should put ourselves first. As Catholics, Lent is a gift that offers us a time to put our wants and needs aside and focus on drawing closer to the Lord. During these 40 days of introspection, contrition and sacrifice, we can grow stronger in our faith. By imitating Christ’s life, we grow in virtue.
Most of us don’t think about death until we are forced to face it. When we lose a loved one, we may head to a funeral home not knowing much about the process of planning a funeral and burial in line with the teachings of the Catholic Church.
This time of year, we retell one of the most important stories about our Catholic faith: the story of the birth of Jesus. As we read each year in the scripture, Mary and Joseph traveled to Bethlehem to register for the census. Upon their arrival, Mary went into labor. In the throes of childbirth with nowhere to go, she and Joseph found themselves in a cold stable with the animals during one of the most vulnerable times of their lives.
Today, we live in a noisy, mile-a-minute world. The idea of a cloistered community of contemplative nuns in the rural Arizona desert may be difficult for some of us to grasp at first. If you look a little closer, though, you’ll find a beautiful sanctuary where the commotion of daily life is replaced by a deliberate focus on Christ at the center of everything.
When we lose a loved one, it never crosses our minds that the cemetery would not be able to accommodate our needs. We assume that burial space will be available whenever we require it. However, in some of the older corners of our country and around the world, some historic cemeteries have reached capacity.
As Catholics, we sometimes enter the season of Lent with a sense of somberness and woe. After all, this is a time of fasting, prayer and giving alms as we reflect on the suffering and death of Christ.
Would you be surprised to learn that for the first time in U.S. history, the vast majority of Americans don’t make adequate plans for the burial of their deceased loved ones?
For those who have recently lost a loved one, this time of year it seems there is nowhere to hide from our grief. Though we may busy ourselves with the many activities of the holiday season, at one point or another, we’ll come face-to-face with a memory that makes our loss feel fresh again.
When you’ve lost a loved one, memories can cause joy and pain in equal measure. During the holiday season, this can be especially true as we think back upon happy celebrations together while feeling the void the absence of someone dear leaves at this special time of year.
When you take a closer look at Día de Los Muertos, though, you’ll find that this holiday that seems centered around death is actually a celebration of life.