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Year of Mercy: Visiting the Sick in the Jungle

Image: Taryn Hill, a second-year resident from Austin, Texas, examines a young girl at a clinic in Akawini, Guyana, March 18. (CNS photos/Bob Roller) WAKAPOA, Guyana (Catholic News Service)—The indigenous families living in this South American jungle village came early to see the American doctors running a free health clinic. They paddled dugout canoes for miles on the placid waters of the Wakapoa Creek, gave their names and sat on wooden benches to wait for what may be their only doctor's appointment in a year. Nylon hammocks and silky mosquito nets in which the doctors slept hung on the walls around them.
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Lenten Recipes: Rolled Sole with Fennel and Citrus

Hospitality is an important ministry of Benedictines, but also with that comes the need for a spirit of flexibility! You never know when a guest can appear needing a meal or a place to spend the night. Being a Type-A personality and a perfectionist, this gift is not something that comes naturally to me. My life at the Villa was a wonderful time for me to breathe and let God take the reins.
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Christ: Our Remedy for Suffering

Image: Jayakumar Ananthan. “Just offer it up.” Some of us grew up hearing this phrase from our Catholic parents. Even if we heard that phrase repeatedly, we most likely didn’t understand fully what it meant. Certainly this is a foreign phrase to our Protestant brothers and sisters. It sounds strange—after all, what does God want with my broken arm or seven stitches in my knee?
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Walking with God: Take Nothing for the Journey

Image: Ybrayym Esenov. I find there are two types of people who attack me when they discover I’m Catholic. The first are lapsed or disgruntled Catholics who claim to be revolted by the Church but can’t stop talking about it. The second type, the Pharisees, are always trying to get me to say something bad about other (in their eyes, lukewarm) members of the Church. None of these folks can bear the hideous gap between how a follower of God should be and how a person who claims to be a follower of Christ actually is.
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Why Should I Go to Confession?

Image: Redd Angelo. Why Do I Need to Confess That? If anyone has caused pain, he has caused it not to me, but in some measure…to you all. —2 CORINTHIANS 2:5 Who do my sins hurt? Who do your sins hurt? Only you? A popular misconception is that our sins hurt only us. It’s common for me to hear someone say, “What’s the big deal with (blank)? I’m only hurting myself.” OK, I’ll say this as lovingly as I can: “That’s a crock!” Sin runs deeper than that.
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40 Days of Lent: Day 15

                  0:48                 POWERED BY WISTIA     Loading... Playing in 540p   ● Auto ○ 224p ○ 360p ○ 540p ○ 720p ○ 1080p   Switch to Flash   About Wistia              Make the Confiteor a daily prayer during Lent, and recite it in the morning or before bed. I confess to almighty God and to you, my brothers and sisters, that I have greatly sinned in my thoughts and in my words, in what I have done and in what I have failed to do, through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault; therefore I ask blessed Mary ever-Virgin, all the Angels and Saints, and you, my brothers and sisters, to pray for me to the Lord our God.
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The Test of Gethsemane

Image: Agony in the Garden, Andrea Mantegna. Being Put to the Test "A common soldier dies without fear, but Jesus died afraid.” Iris Murdoch wrote those words and they teach one of the lessons of Gethsemane. The Garden of Gethsemane is also the place where we are put to the test. What does this mean?  The great spiritual writer Henri Nouwen once wrote a book, In Memoriam, within which he tried to come to grips with his mother’s death. The manner of her death had surprised him and left him struggling with some painful doubts and questions. Why? 
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St. Peter's Regret and Road to Redemption

Image: The Last Supper, Artist Unknown. Museu Nacional de Belas Artes. An incident in the Gospels can help us put the worst act we have ever committed into perspective. It’s what St. Peter did to the Lord on the evening of Holy Thursday. Peter, the leader of the apostles, did something he would never forget. On the night Jesus was arrested, he denied knowing him and being his disciple. And, shockingly, he did this three times. Worse yet, Peter was not being tortured (though many years later he would be, as would many Christians who were burned, beaten to death, or crucified for their faith).
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The Passion and the Cross

Image: Louis Moncouyoux. In the Gospels, Jesus tells us that there exists a certain secret, a hidden wisdom, which, should we grasp it, is the key to unraveling all the deep secrets of life. Conversely, should we miss it, we will never really understand life. However, for Jesus that secret is not some exotic, gnostic, or hidden code, accessible only to intellectual elites or certain religious cults. For Jesus, the hidden secret that holds the key to everything is the cross: the wisdom of the cross and the brokenness of the one who died on the cross. If we grasp that reality, we will have the key to understanding the rest of life; if we do not grasp that wisdom, the meaning of life will always be somewhat of a riddle to us.
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40 Days of Lent: Day 10

                            Get to daily Mass. If you can’t get to Mass daily, try at least to go on Fridays as well as Sunday in gratitude for Christ’s sacrifice. Maybe you can go another day or two per week as well.
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