Join the Zoom on March 24 at 7:00pm
Watch the wonderful talk by Jude Carstensen and Shayla Elm from Christ in the City for enlightening presentation about the reality of homelessness in our own city.
Join us for each week in Lent for Lectio Divina / Únase a nosotros cada semana de Cuaresma para la Lectio Divina
Each Lent, Catholic families across the country unite to put their faith into action through prayer, fasting and almsgiving. Through CRS Rice Bowl, families learn about how our sisters and brothers across the globe overcome hardships like hunger and malnutrition, and how through Lenten alms, we have the power to make the world a better place for all.
Cada Cuaresma, las familias católicas de todo el país se unen para poner su fe en acción a través de la oración, el ayuno y la limosna. A través de Plato de Arroz de CRS, las familias aprenden cómo nuestros hermanos en todo el mundo superan dificultades como el hambre y la desnutrición, y cómo gracias a nuestras limosnas de Cuaresma, tenemos el poder de hacer del mundo un lugar mejor para todos.
At Christ in the City, our vision is to create a culture of encounter, where each person is seen, known, and loved. The following video breaks down our approach and highlights simple ways you can join us from wherever you are!
by Br. Joseph Cullen Hilliker
Beginning on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception last December, Pope Francis consecrated this year to our holy father, St. Joseph. Given Joseph’s exclusive role in the history of salvation, as “Guardian of the Holy Family,” and considering his remarkable intercessory privilege as the spouse of Mary and the father of Jesus, this decision seems more than appropriate to address the many crises today in the Church and world. One can look to St. Joseph and trust in his protection at all times, but in particular, much can be gained from going to him during this Lenten season. St. Joseph’s model of sanctity is pronounced by the many titles attributed to his name. This Lent, I propose we reflect on three: Joseph the Humble, Joseph the Silent, and Joseph the Faithful.
When one ponders the Saints, they would probably dream of early church fathers, founders of great religious orders, inspiring martyrs, renowned apologists, and reformers who shaped the doctrine of the Church. Names like Peter and Paul, Dominic and Francis, Joan of Arc and Maximilian Kolbe, Therese of Lisieux and Mother Teresa, Catherine of Siena and Thomas Aquinas are just some that might immediately come to mind. However, at what point in detailing the many great saints that shaped our rich 2000-year history does one appreciate St. Joseph? I reckon it is later than sooner, and Joseph wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.
The little documentation that we have of St. Joseph’s life is truly extraordinary. It is Joseph, the simple and unknown man, who married the unstained Mother of God. Joseph, specialized in an inglorious craft, who held part of the Holy Trinity in his hands. Joseph, a man who wrote nothing, defended the Church more directly than any apologists to follow him. Rightfully so, the father of the Holy Family has become the father of the Holy Church. So, naturally, he has become the father of early church fathers, the father of founders of religious orders, martyrs, apologists, and reformers. It is upon the patrology of Joseph that all other saints rely, for if he did not defend the Church in its most vulnerable state, where would it be today?
If St. Joseph is to become the father of all saints, it is only appropriate that he master the virtue which governs all other virtues: humility.
Lent is a time of humility. It is a time to “decrease, so that He may increase” (John 3:30). This is precisely how Joseph lived his life; and we must do the same. St. Joseph was entrusted with the responsibility of forming, protecting, and providing for the Child of God. In doing all of this, he diminished into the shadows, so that his Son might be recognized through the fruits of his labor. Similarly, we are charged to preach, to love, and to serve Christ in all that we do. In doing this, we can recede like Joseph, so as to show the face of Christ (not our own) to all who thirst for it.
Today, our culture demands us to be unique, distinguished, self-created, and independent. Furthermore, success is measured by standards of comfort, wealth, and possession. Although these are good, they can very easily stifle God from our lives. If God is not the object of our “uniqueness,” or the reason why we have possessions, then we are working in vain. Psalm 127 says,
True humility directs attention from oneself and points it to Christ. This might be the most valuable lesson we can learn from our humble father, St. Joseph.
Few events involving St. Joseph are recorded in scripture, and remarkably, none of his words are written down. Perhaps the intention was to emulate Joseph’s silence, a silence which most aptly enabled God to work through him. If we recall, it was during the silence of his sleep when God chose to communicate to him most directly. It was also in the silence of the night when he led the Holy Family in evasion of the slaughter of Holy Innocents. Furthermore, it was in silence that Joseph intended to justly divorce Mary when he learned of her pregnancy. Even at the end, Joseph silently slipped away to his death—after fulfilling his role of fathering the Christ Child for those formative and quiet years in Nazareth—enabling his Son to seamlessly rise to his public ministry.
All masters of spirituality would agree on this fact: silence enhances one’s ability to discern God. For this reason, it is no surprise that St. Joseph led a silent life. If he was going to successfully lead the Holy Family, he had much discernment to do! God was working very directly in his life, and because of his silence, he heard and appropriately responded to God’s call.
Likewise, God is also working in our lives and we must imitate the silence of St. Joseph if we hope to correctly discern His plan. Fortunately, Lent is a perfect time to implement silence. Perhaps, one could turn off the radio when driving this Lent. Or, one could decrease their time consuming the news every day. Maybe, one could go for a walk and leave the cell phone behind! We live in a culture choked with noise, but God is not in the noise. This is recorded in 1 Kings:
“Then the Lord said: Go out and stand on the mountain before the Lord; the Lord will pass by. There was a strong and violent wind rending the mountains and crushing rocks before the
Lord—but the Lord was not in the wind; after the wind, an earthquake—but the Lord was not in the earthquake; after the earthquake, fire—but the Lord was not in the fire; after the fire, a light silent sound.” (1 Kings 19: 11-12)
Let us learn a lesson from St. Joseph and find God where he is this Lent: in the silence.
St. Joseph’s fidelity to God is most prominently depicted in his response to the four dreams, each instructing him on how to safely lead the Holy Family. Irrespective of the ridiculousness of God’s commands, Joseph reacted with utter faith and complied to the Lord’s requests. Regarding the first dream, only a man with faith could believe the absurdity that his betrothed, whom he had no relation with, “miraculously” conceived by the Holy Spirit (Matt. 1:20-21)! However, because he trusted God’s messenger, Joseph assented and took Mary under his protection; indefinitely. Three more times, he faithfully obeyed God’s promptings to journey from Bethlehem to Egypt, back to Israel, and then to Galilee (Matt. 2:13, 19-20, 22 respectively).
As a father and husband, Joseph was not only faithful to God, but also to his wife and Son. We are given a glimpse of this fidelity in the scene of the Finding of Jesus in the Temple (Luke 41-52). After discovering Jesus was not in the caravan returning to Nazareth, Joseph and Mary searched for three days. And, upon discovering Him, Mary exclaimed, “Son, why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been looking for you with great anxiety.” This reaction, after thinking he lost the Child he promised to protect, is evidence of his great fidelity to the Family.
We must be faithful; to our spouses, children, parents, careers, studies, and above all, to God. Lent is a time of trial, and it tests our fidelity with suffering and sacrifice, with patience and endurance. It is easy to pick up a cross, but will we carry it all the way to Calvary? Making a promise is simple, but when put under pressure, will we act like Peter or Judas Iscariot?
Security of meals, vehicles (and even gas!), financial assets, warm homes, and cell phones are just a small handful of the many comforts that we take for granted in our day-to-day routines. The question is: if any of these are lost, does our faith in God change? These worldly comforts are good, but we must not place our trust in them because they will not last forever, and they will always disappoint us! Rather, we must place our hope in the promise God has made us, and, if we remain faithful to it we will hear,
“…‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. Since you were faithful in small matters, I will give you great responsibilities. Come, share your master’s joy.’ (Matthew 25:21)
St. Joseph shows us that simple fidelity to our vocation is possible; let us accept our Daily Bread, and act as he did, trusting in God’s promise.
As the patron of the Universal Church, we can—and should—look to St. Joseph frequently. Especially now, during this season of Lent, we can learn how to carry—humbly, silently, and faithfully—our cross all the way to Calvary. It is written in Genesis 41:55, “Pharaoh said to all the Egyptians: ‘Go to Joseph and do whatever he tells you.’” Perhaps this command is not limited to our Old Testament father, but rather, fulfilled in our Church father.
Today we begin our Lenten journey toward the highlight of our faith: the celebration of the Paschal Mystery at Holy Week and Easter. We begin a holy time of reflection, prayer, fasting and almsgiving. So, this is a good time for us to reflect on this question: Why are we fasting, giving alms, and being marked with ashes?
We can do so to merely feed our ego, showing others that we are Catholics by the mark on our forehead: the bigger the better. We can do so to simply because we want to do things right, or because of custom (We always get “ashed” on Ash Wednesday!) but we don’t reflect much on why. Or we can do these things as a sign of our willingness to submit to God and God’s plan for us as we seek to follow Jesus Christ as missionary disciples.
These actions, including ashes, but especially prayer, almsgiving and fasting are an essential part of traditional Lenten practice. The marking with ashes is a reminder of our impermanence and the death of our ego. We hear the call to repentance as we are marked with ashes (“Repent and believe…”), or a reminder that we are not the center of the universe “Remember that you are dust…” Fasting reminds us to die to our notion of self-sufficiency: that we need God and others to be fulfilled, and so to be in solidarity with our brothers and sisters who are hungry in the world. Almsgiving is another way to share of ourselves in solidarity with the least among us.
This Lent, we will be focusing on our responsibility to those who are suffering locally, and those who suffer in our global church. As in our previous years, we will be offering CRS Rice Bowl as a tool to help us remember the global church that suffers, especially focusing this year on Madagascar, El Salvador and Timor Leste (a new country I had the privilege to visit several years ago). New this year, we will also be praying for and supporting Christ in the City, a group of Catholic missionaries to the homeless in Denver.
As we move into Lent, we do so as a community in a sort of pilgrimage. May Christ accompany us and the people we pray for in our Lenten pilgrimage of faith toward the bright light of Easter!
Hoy día empezamos nuestra jornada hacia la cima de nuestra fe, la celebración del Misterio Pascual en Semana Santa y la Pascua de Resurrección. Empezamos con un tiempo sagrado de reflexión, oración, ayuno, y ofreciendo limosnas que se llama “Cuaresma”. Entonces, hoy es apropiado reflexionar sobre la pregunta: ¿Por qué estamos ayunando, dando limosnas, y recibiendo cenizas?
Es posible que estamos haciéndolo solo para mostrar a los demás que somos católicos ya que tenemos una marca de cenizas en la frente. Es posible que estamos haciéndolo para acomodar las tradiciones de la iglesia por costumbre sin reflexionar sobre el sentido. ¡O podemos hacer esas acciones como un signo de nuestro deseo someternos a Dios y a su plan para nosotros como discípulos misioneros!
Estas acciones, incluso la imposición de ceniza, pero especialmente la oración, dando limosna, y el ayuno son partes esenciales de la práctica de Cuaresma. La imposición de cenizas es un recuerdo de que no estamos permanentes en este mundo. Escuchamos la llamada al arrepentimiento (“Conviértete y crees en el evangelio”) o un recuerdo que no estamos el centro del universo (“Recuérdate que eres polvo…”). El ayuno es un recuerdo que debemos morir a nuestra autosuficiencia: lo que necesitamos más que cualquier otra cosa, es Dios y los demás. Tenemos una responsabilidad estar en solidaridad con los que tienen menos, especialmente los hambrientos. Dando limosna es otra manera de compartir de nosotros mismos en solidaridad con los menospreciados y necesitados.
Esta Cuaresma en Sto. Domingo, vamos a enfocar en nuestra responsabilidad hacia los que están sufriendo aquí en Denver, junto con los que sufren en lugares lejanos del mundo. Como en los años pasados, vamos a ofrecerles el Plato de Arroz de CRS como una herramienta para recordar y ayudar a la iglesia mundial que sufre, especialmente este año con los de Madagascar, El Salvador y Timor Leste (un nuevo país que tuve el privilegio de visitar hace unos años). También, este año rezaremos y apoyamos el trabajo de Christ in the City (Cristo en la Ciudad), un grupo de misioneros católicos a los sin hogar en Denver.
Entrando en Cuaresma, lo hacemos en comunidad, no a solas, haciendo un tipo de peregrinación. ¡Que Cristo nos acompaña a nosotros y a los que vamos a ayudar con nuestras oraciones y acciones durante nuestra peregrinación cuaresmal hacia la luz brillante de la Pascua de Resurrección!