Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Pre-Lenten update and a few interesting tidbits (UPDATED)

It's Mardi Gras! Sure wouldn't mind being home for the parades, even if the temperature is an unseasonably cold 36 right now. (Hope it doesn't kill all the flowers on the trees.)

As I look toward the beginning of Lent, I found a wonderful piece of advice in today's first reading from St Peter: "Live soberly and set your hopes completely on the grace to be brought to you." This is Peter's general recommendation for Christian living: to live in hope, to live in expectation of a surpassing grace. It sounds like Advent, doesn't it? And this Lent is a kind of Advent for me. I will even have to travel to a new "Bethlehem" by the end of it!

To help me manage this Lenten season of transition more "soberly" and with my "hopes set completely on grace," I will be cutting back on blogging, limiting myself to occasional posts when something particularly interesting comes up, and to a new seasonal series for the Fridays of Lent, with reflections on Pope Francis' Lenten Message. Even though the NunBlog will see less activity, the Nunblogger herself will still be posting on Twitter (@nunblogger), which is a little more manageable, and less likely to compromise that "sobriety" and focus that Peter's letter urges on me. (How does Peter's exhortation apply to your Lenten plans?)

And speaking of Twitter, here are some particularly interesting tidbits that I just have to share!

In September, in Italy for our month-long international meeting, we were able to visit the exclusive Papal Gardens at Castel Gandolfo. Pope Francis has now opened those spectacular gardens to public visits so you can see them yourself! If you have the chance, do go. I have not seen the Vatican Gardens, but I am told that these, a day trip away some 30 miles outside of Rome, are far better.

And back on the home front, where the struggle for religious freedom continues against the intrusive demands of the HHS mandate, a passage from a 1959 science fiction novel is playing out before our very eyes. I read the book years ago; the article linked above is making me think it is time to re-read it. Have you ever read it? What are your thoughts?

People are still talking about the Oscars. I stayed up to watch most of them with Sr Gemma, who gave a rousing cheer every time "Gravity" got the golden statue. Here's an interesting observation on why "Gravity" was not only "the most Christian Film at the Oscars," but why it is so much better than most "Christian" films.

And, once again, with Ash Wednesday drawing ever nearer, you can sign up for some free e-books and daily Gospel reflections for Lent--from a book I contributed to!

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