Lenten Thoughts and Sacrifices!

Today I traveled to the beautiful and peaceful “Holy Hill” for a day of spiritual direction and reflection. Many things run through my mind while I sit before my spiritual direction session. The one major thing that sprang to mind while I sit in the Adoration Chapel at St. Meinrad praying a rosary was—WHAT AM I GOING TO DO FOR LENT…

This is a valid question that, even though should not have distracted me from my rosary or my time with God, I have not yet given much thought to. But with less than a month to go before we enter “those 40 days”, it is something that deserves attention. Luckily, I thought of this before joining my session; which I was then able to discuss briefly (I have many topics that I try and get clarity on during my sessions) with my director some things. So, what to do? What should I do? How should I focus my works on mercy? What should I fast (and fasting means MUCH MORE than merely not eating-it is an act of forgoing something)? How can I better prepare myself to walk a better life with Christ and come to better know God?

Then BINGO, or PRESTO, it came to mind. Non aver paura, devi solo credere! It made complete sense to me…. Be Not Afraid, simply believe…. These two phrases came together from Nola Eastwick (author of “The Big Secret to Unlocking the Power of God’s Word… Simply believe It!”) and my hero the Blessed St. Pope John Paul II “be Not Afraid.” As we enter any act of devotion or sacrifice; we should always do so without fear, or worry, or reservation. We should still begin it with a sense of love and honor for God. Thus, the comforting words of e Not Afraid and Simply Believe made perfect sense. I should not worry, but instead, believe that whatever I came to do would be of GREAT homage to our Lord and Savior.

As just as that sounds, I am still left with a great deal of confusion, or cloudiness, of what it is that I can do, or should do. There are the staples of sacrificing time to be spent in service to others, forgoing something that you are fond of doing to spend it in a time of reflection of what God has given us, or even to sacrifice parts of your time, talent, or treasure to benefit others (Don’t forget you Rice Bowls!!!). Everything sounds great, and each one of those is equally deserving of Lenten Sacrifices. But this year I think I have decided to do something that is a sacrifice for ME. Something that will, in the end, make me a better person in the long run to many people—I am going to being to spend time each even in the reflection of my day (which I do) but take it a step further and begin to journal about what is happening in me spiritually. How I feel when my day goes GREAT, and how I think when it is not so great.

See what is important to understand that fasting for Lent is not always about giving up your favorite food, or desserts, or a second helping, or fast food, or sodas… ALL OF THOSE ARE GREAT THINGS TO GIVE UP! But ultimately Lent is a time of fasting to better yourself for preparation with God and your eventual encounter with Christ. Being able to give up the time to reflect, meditate and write about what God has done for you that day; as well as ultimately how you feel because of it, is one of the GREATEST fasting events that you can make! So, I will not be afraid, I will simply believe that God has called upon me to do many great things and that through his will and recognizing the gifts that he has given to me; I will ultimately become a servant fully devoted to the mission of God and an active Disciple of Christ—There is no better sacrifice!

What will you do for Lent? I love hearing how others are preparing themselves for the season of sacrifice. But in the end let us all remember to “BE NOT AFRAID, SIMPLY BELIEVE.”


Lawrence V. McCrobie


ps…enjoy these pictures of St. Meinrad Archabbey on this 16th Day of January 2018!

Make no Mistake EPIPHANY is the same thing as IMMIGRATION

So, what is Epiphany (also called Three Kings Day, or the Twelfth Night)? In its simplistic form, Epiphany is the immigration of individuals to see a native place. Around about the 4th century, the celebration of Epiphany  was the association of three visiting Magi (what we call the Three Kings) traveling to visit the newborn Jesus in the manger nestled in Bethlehem. With them, as we all know, they bring gifts;  gifts of Gold, Frankincense, and Myrrh.  [The gifts have meanings Gold=Royal Standing; Frankincense=Divine Birth; Myrrh=Mortality.] But even better is the fact that the word EPIPHANY itself is Greek [not Hebrew] meaning “manifestation’.  Already full of irony– the word is not native, but rather a term that was in a sense “immigrated in.”

So where does this lead us to? Well the fact that as the region of Bethlehem was becoming a “sanctuary” for the Magi and even Jesus, the nation itself was in the middle of welcoming refugee and others into their lands. United by their belief that the King of Kings had been born; we see in Christianity’s first moments, the beginnings of what has become Human Days of Dignity–where one group (or one nation) was called upon to welcome others from the outside who bear gifts and have a great gift to bring to this new “nation” united by Christ.

It is fitting that today in the Archdiocese of Louisville we celebrated a Migration Day of Prayer—presided over by Archbishop Joseph Kurtz; and the fact that we also begin to usher in the celebration of Epiphany. As part of those 5 days of Human Dignity (which are scattered thorough this liturgical season) we are called to become more inclusive, to welcome those who come seeking a place of sanctuary as an opportunity to potentially have an encounter with Christ; for it is known through Catholic teaching that we should meet everyone as if they were Christ himself, for we never know if it might be him coming to visit us.

So what should we do? We should welcome all of those into our “nation” that wish to enter. We should find ourselves full of love and embrace for those seeking nothing more than what you or I have. We should realize that it was Mary and Joseph (along with Jesus) that opened up and accepted visitors from all over to live united under the Messiah. We should not be greedy, but instead should offer to share what has been so generously given to us by God, through his one and only Son-born of the Virgin Mary. It is through the acceptance of those who wish to come into the house of the Lord (into our communities) that we may find ourselves close to walking hand-in-hand with Jesus.

So in the end, Epiphany is nothing more than (not minimizing the significance of the event) a remembrance of our call to accept all those that have been called to the feast table by God; and to treat others as we would want to be treated!

So not only Happy Epiphany but HAPPY IMMIGRATION DAY!

Lawrence V. McCrobie


My New Year’s Resolution

So, year after year I can get online and see how this WILL BE the year that a person will change their life forever. Starting the beginning of this New Year, they will make changes that will permanently alter how they live their life. The new year will be the year for weight loss, saving money, finishing education, buying the new home, being more helpful to people; the list goes on. SO, what is wrong with this? NOTHING! But at the same time, everything is wrong with it.

We, as humans, can do many beautiful things. We are free (as Americans) to make many choices that will, in fact, alter every one of those things listed above. But can we do it ALONE? NOPE! So, my answer is to entirely ditch the notion of creating a New Year’s resolution. Forget it, will not work, and cannot work.

It is the strength that Christ gives us that we can complete any and everything. With that in mind if you wait until January 1 to create your New Year Resolution then you are about 28 days too late (give or take a few days). Why is this? The New Year started for us on December 2, 2017! Talk about being a day late and a dollar short! Think of it this way, to make something happen we have to have faith that Christ will walk the road with us, and that the strength of our Lord God will be with us at every turn to help us through those resolutions we wish to make. Without the help of God, we cannot complete the tasks.

So disclaimer, I did not make a “solid” resolution this year, but instead my goal was to continue doing what I have been doing this past year which is to continue to shape and mold the better me! To do it through living the life Christ has called me to live and to look forward—knowing that none of it is possible without the love and strength given to me by Christ.

So what are your Advent Goals? (even though it has passed you can still have them—its better late than never RIGHT?) Happy 2018 to ALL!


In Christ,

Lawrence V. McCrobie