• Featured Readings for Lent,  Reel Life Journeys

    During Lent we learn the true meaning of true grit

    Jesus said to his disciples: “You have heard that it was said, an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. But I say to you, offer no resistance to one who is evil. When someone strikes you on your right cheek, turn the other one as well. – Matthew 5:38-39 Rooster Cogburn never turned the other cheek. When we watch True Grit and meet Cogburn, the cantankerous one-eye U.S. Marshal portrayed by John Wayne (1969) and Jeff Bridges (2010), it’s easy to imagine that he always lived by the “eye for an eye” directive found in the book of Exodus, chapter 21. In Cogburn’s fictional era of…

  • Featured Readings for Lent,  Reel Life Journeys

    This dark Lenten journey will soon end in the Light

    I am alone. I walk along a shadowed path, a dark Lenten journey into self-consideration. Night has fallen early; I can barely see the way ahead. I stumble and fall, many times, for I am weak and unsure of my way. Where should I turn? The black forest closes around me, tall trees of sins surround me: mighty redwoods of past transgressions on the left, massive oaks of inaction on the right. Suddenly my feet step onto a metal sidewalk that carries me into the darkness. It slowly descends, a one-way escalator, a monstrous, mechanical movement machine, pulling me down into a deep chasm. Like a giant indoor shopping mall,…

  • Featured Readings for Lent,  Reel Life Journeys

    “The Passion” helps us remember Jesus’s suffering and love for us

    Though I enjoy watching new movies, I love to watch certain movies again and again, depending on the calendar. In the fall I imagine I am sitting in Notre Dame Stadium, chanting with the crowd “Rudy, Rudy.” At Christmas I am shopping in Bedford Falls and discussing my wonderful life with George Bailey. As spring approaches, I am helping Ray Kinsella plow up his corn and build his field of dreams. I look forward to these films and the happy mood they put me in. However, every Lent I make a concerted effort to watch Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ. Unlike the other films, this one puts me…

  • Featured Readings for Lent,  Reel Life Journeys

    With God’s love, even the small can do marvelous deeds

    I am alone again, walking with quiet prayers at the beginning of Lent. Trees tower over me, man-made planes glide above me and prehistoric stars shine upon me. Here on earth, amidst all manner of beings, I realize that I am just one small person. Where do I fit in? What good can I do? I am Scott Carey at the end of The Incredible Shrinking Man. A successful businessman, he spends restful weekends on the lake. One day his boat goes through a cloud of radioactive pesticides. Weeks later, he realizes his dress shirts are all too big. His wife thinks he’s silly, that no one shrinks in such…

  • Featured Readings for Lent,  Reel Life Journeys

    Despite our sins, we are all saved by God’s amazing grace

    The single scarlet candle burns brightly in the corner; an “Open” sign for wayward souls. No one remains in the darkened sanctuary except this solitary visitor, returning for a few minutes of peace before addressing the tasks at hand. Yet I am not alone, for Our Lord is present in the holy tabernacles – the one across the room and the other inside. Calm, peacefulness, serenity – it’s a pleasure to spend a few quiet moments alone with the Lord. Weeks ago, however, the sanctuary was bright and filled with parishioners. We stood for many long minutes, endearing drowsiness and sore backs as we heard the words of Our Lord’s…

  • Featured Readings for Lent,  Reel Life Journeys

    Kneeling, listening, praying, seeing, feeling, living in Lent

    The darkened sanctuary was still, very quiet, yet inviting to this late night traveler. “I’ll just drop the music off and head home,” I thought. But the opportunity to spend time alone with God was before me, so I put aside one need for another. The candle flame next to the tabernacle flickered behind the scarlet glass, a beacon for all travelers to stop for a moment and find some comfort. Kneeling, resting, thinking, breathing, sorting through the day’s events one more time before they fall out of my mind, shoved behind the door marked “Tomorrow,” today’s room is still open and waiting to welcome the divine. But before I…