May we live the season of Lent as obvious witnesses, ‘marked’ with faith, just as we spent Ash Wednesday marked with ashes! May we spend time assessing our gifts and discovering our excess, so we will be moved to share what we can with those in need! May we have respect for the dignity of others and for the environment, becoming better stewards as disciples of Jesus Christ! May we find comfort in the presence of God, knowing we can always turn to Him for forgiveness and mercy! And may we share the mercy and love of God with others through our expressions of sacrifice, abstinence, prayer, and almsgiving! Let us continue to meet in the merciful heart of Jesus! Peace!
©Michele L. Catanese
Next post: March 25.
* A good Lenten reflection on care for the environment might be to read the encyclical written by Pope Francis, Laudato si’ found at http://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/encyclicals/documents/papa-francesco_20150524_enciclica-laudato-si.html
Here is a link to the Pope's statement concerning Lent for this year:
** The true name of this area is Papakolea which in Hawaiian means “plover flats,” for the bird species called the golden plover which was prevalent there at one time. The sand is green because hundreds of thousands of years ago the combination of volcanic action and the pounding waves of the Pacific Ocean combined to create this amazing beach. There are only four such beaches in the world, one in each of these places: Guam, Norway, the Galapagos Islands, and the Big Island of Hawaii.
1. The Church at Auvers-sur-Oise by Vincent van Gogh (1890): While it does not show many people 'flocking' into the church, I loved the simplicity of the woman on the walkway near the front of the church, seeming to indicate that she came from inside. Perhaps she just received her ashes.... You can find a bit more on this painting at https://entertainment.howstuffworks.com/arts/artwork/vincent-van-gogh-final-paintings17.htm
2. This is a photo I took on my recent trip to the Big Island of Hawaii, mentioned in the entry. I chose this shot because it captures the vivid colors and beauty which are often seen in our fragile, yet incredible, world.
3. This piece, called Viriditas Triptych, was painted by Fr. William Hart McNichols. It is part of a larger work, Viriditas Finding God In All Things. Obviously it can stand alone, but is also an integral part of the larger work. I chose this triptych because it embodies the beauty of the Earth as a precious creation; in the center we see the Earth surrounded by the love of God and also filled with His presence. It is a gift from God to His beloved children. If you are interested in purchasing this or any other works by Fr. Bill, (they can be purchased in multiple mediums), you can find the triptych at https://fineartamerica.com/featured/viriditas-triptych-william-hart-mcnichols.html
4. & 5. These are my photos of the Green Sand Beach, located near the southernmost part of the Big Island of Hawaii. The first of the pair is what the beach looks like as one approaches from the southern coastline path. The dirt on the path does have a greenish hue to it, but the beach is far below. The second photo is to show how very green the sand truly is. (The 'hand model' is my husband.)
6. Again, this is one of my photos. These are spinner dolphins playing in the bay near where we were staying in Kailua-Kona. I chose this photo for two reasons: first, they represent the sea life which is sadly being effected by the plastics we discard. And second, dolphins are communal animals, that is, their activities are almost always in groups (pods). They are fiercely loyal to one another, and love to play with each other as well as with humans as they were doing at the time of this photo. I cropped the photo, but there were people on paddle boards and in kayaks with whom the dolphins were interacting.
7. This artistic rendering of ashes seemed an appropriate way to end a post about the start of Lent. Perhaps it is a reminder that we all come from the same 'beginnings' created by God, and it is also a reminder of what Genesis tells us about Adam and Eve being created from the dirt.
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