New Beginnings

Posted by Sharon Krause on Mar 27, 2023 6:00:00 AM

Over the past few days we have been reminded by the scripture readings at Mass about new beginnings: the beginning of motherhood for the faithful Blessed Virgin Mary, the second beginning of Lazarus’ life after Jesus called him forth from the tomb, and the chance at a new and better life for the rescued adulterous woman at whom no one would cast a stone.

We all have new beginnings every day during this season of Lent. Each new start comes with challenges. It is up to us to surrender to the will of God, all the while knowing that God loves each of us as only God can love.

Let’s stop and think. We know we can trust that nothing is impossible for God. It is true that our Savior Jesus can untie any bonds that hold us captive. Each one of us is a sinner, but Jesus is ready to forgive even our most persistent sinfulness when we are ready to repent and to keep trying to sin no more. These recent readings give us such joyful hope!

Lent is full of possibilities for new holiness. Here is a prayer/poem about hopeful striving and surrender to the Lord.

                               Song of Prayer

I can almost taste the sweetness, I can almost see the glow,

I can almost hear the whisper of God who loves me so.

This time, the words are very simple. This time, prayer is, oh, so still.

This time, I grasp in the quiet the message of his will.

What has made now such a difference? What has opened up my heart?

What has brought my God so close now, when I scarce know where to start?

Could it be my meek surrender? Could it be my letting go?

Could it be my leap of trusting in God who loves me so?

I can almost smell the fragrance; I can almost feel the touch.

I can almost sense a oneness with the God I love so much!


May we be open to the Holy Spirit’s inspirations. May we have a new focus on prayerfulness and gratitude to God because we know that in less than two weeks, we all will be rejoicing!


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Topics: Lent, Lenten season, new beginnings, Sharon Krause


Posted by Sharon Krause on Mar 20, 2023 6:00:00 AM

We have all heard that question about whether a glass is half full or half empty, that is, how we see things in life: optimistically or pessimistically. We are about halfway through our 2023 Lenten journey, so we can stop and ask ourselves: Is my Lent half full or half empty so far?

Over the past few weeks, we have read in Scripture about challenges being accepted, thirsts being quenched, blindness being cured, Jesus being transfigured, God’s promises being kept and Jesus being lauded as our Good Shepherd. With such positive experiences, how could we be anything but optimistic? Certainly, fears, doubts, sins, and temptations can get in the way.

It may be a good idea to call upon St. Joseph, whose feast we celebrate today, to be our coach for the rest of Lent. He is truly a model of strength and holiness.

Dear St. Joseph, we ask you to pray for us. You were obedient to the angel of the Lord. You sheltered Mary, protected her, and kept her safe as you traveled to Bethlehem and, later, to Egypt. Teach us to treasure our relationships with Mary, your spouse, and with your foster child, Jesus. Pray for us, that we may be strong against temptations to distractions and despair.

Dear St. Joseph, steady craftsman, faithful worker, you are called “a righteous man” in Sacred Scripture. Pray for us that we may be righteous and persistent as we work at becoming holier and closer to our Lord. Teach us to be courageous on our faith journey.

Dear St. Joseph, as you provided for the earthly, daily needs of your family, pray for us as we work through our daily, mundane tasks. You know the joy of heaven. Pray for us for an increase in the desire to be close to you and your holy family. Help us to follow your example: to be humble and grateful for our opportunities to love and serve God, our Creator.

 Dear St. Joseph, as you watched the boy, Jesus, grow into manhood, pray for us that we might grow into more mature followers of Jesus Christ. Help us to realize our potential as Christians who can encounter Our Savior every day. St. Joseph, you must have been a great comfort to Mary. Pray for us that we may learn to lovingly comfort and encourage others as we prepare for the holy season of Easter. Amen.


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Topics: Lent, Lenten season, St. Joseph, Sharon Krause

At the Well

Posted by Sharon Krause on Mar 13, 2023 6:00:00 AM

What do you say? Let’s go sit at Jacob’s well with Jesus and the woman of Samaria. Let’s say it is hot outside, around the noon hour, as the gospel passage described it in yesterday’s Mass. We might be thirsty as Jesus was. We hear some birds singing. The sun is shining on our shoulders.

We are now into the third week of Lent. We might need a cupful of water that will lead to a spring of water that wells up to eternal life. We can ask Jesus how to worship the Father in Spirit and truth in a way that is more faithful, more sincere and dynamic. As the Samaritan woman carried on a conversation with Jesus, maybe we could try a little more one-on-one with him during our busy day. No one was with Jesus and the woman; his disciples were off buying food. Can we find time to be alone with Jesus, even for a little while? It is so easy these days to get awfully busy!

Did you notice that the woman remarked that Jesus did not even have a bucket to use to obtain the water? However, after speaking with him, she left her bucket behind and went onto the town to spread the news about Jesus. She had a new priority. How about our priorities? Are they in right order? Can we make some adjustments? Do we share Jesus with others, even in small life matters, when we get a chance?

Jesus knew that the woman did not have a sixth husband, that the partner she had currently was not her spouse. Jesus knows all about us as well: our gifts, our talents, our shortcomings, our sins. He will help us deal with the various aspects of our lives when we ask him. Review your inventory together!

 Jesus revealed to the woman that he is the Christ. He reveals himself to us in a very special way when we receive Holy Communion. Is it possible to receive him more than once during the weeks of Lent? Perhaps we remember that little prayer for when we cannot receive Him physically in the Eucharist, but want to receive a spiritual communion:

    As I cannot now receive You, dear Jesus, in Holy Communion, come spiritually into  

   my heart and make it Thine own forever. Amen.

 By spending more time in prayer with our Savior, we might be able to find a new serenity in the days leading up to Easter. Our gratitude to God can increase. Our Easter joy could be more intense!


Paint my portrait, Jesus, I’ll endeavor to sit still;

Capture, Lord, my best side, if it’s your loving will.

Paint my eyes to find you in everyone I see.

Don’t catch my nose turned upward; I need humility.

Render my lips smiling; a few laugh lines are fine:

They help to show the Spirit, the inner joy that’s mine.

Blush my cheeks, dear Jesus, a vibrant, scarlet red.

Help me to remember the saving blood you shed.

Paint my portrait, Jesus; use forgiving hues.

Create a ready likeness: make me look like you.


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Topics: Lent, Lenten season, Sharon Krause, spend time with Jesus

Good Company

Posted by Sharon Krause on Mar 6, 2023 6:00:00 AM

Yesterday’s gospel reading told us about some of the people with whom Jesus was keeping company. Peter, James, and John were with Jesus on that high mountain when He was transfigured, and then Moses and Elijah made an appearance. Good company, indeed!

 Just think about it! During Lent 2023, we know we are in good company in our journey toward Easter. God, the Father, is with us, and that means we have access to his holiness, power, faithfulness, righteousness, and kindness. God, the Father, is the kind of company that comes to dinner and brings the foodand even prepares the meal!

 We certainly know about Jesus from the gospels. He is the gift from God, the Living Bread come down from heaven, the life-giving, Living Water through whom we are thirsty no more. Because Jesus is fully human, he knows from experience about emotions, challenges, and temptations. He relates to us with fullness of understanding. He gets up with us in the mornings and is with us throughout our days. He saves us over and over again, picks us up and helps us to respond to God’s love. His shoulder is always right next to us if we need to lean or to cry. His approving smile is always waiting when we do His Father’s bidding. Jesus’ name is our password to salvation.

 The Holy Spirit is a motivating and consoling companion, especially during this time as we anticipate Easter. It is the Holy Spirit who gives us those little nudges to pray, repent, or do a kind act. It is the Holy Spirit who can energize us and give us courage to overcome temptations. The Third Person of the Blessed Trinity prays with us, through us, and for us in words that are beyond words, when we cannot find the words. If we let the Spirit work, we can seize our lives’ moments and make them shine. Through the waters of baptism and our confirmation, the Spirit offers us make-overs that no Lenten visit to a health spa can rival. We can have a perpetual newness about us.

 At all Masses, we call upon the Communion of Saints, that is, Linus, Sixtus, Cornelius, Agnes, Agatha, and the holy Apostles, those saints we have heard about and read about, all the faithful in the Church like our families, friends, teachers, acquaintances, the people with whom we live, work, play, and pray. We ask that great company to help us. And, of course, our loving Blessed Mother prays for us generously. Even our guardian angels are keeping company with us. We might forget or ignore them, but they pray for us, too.

 We might want to customize or adapt our prayers today. We could pray the “Glory Be” or “The Sign of the Cross” to help us be more aware of the company we keep:

Glory be to the Father, who is Abba, and to the Son, who saves me, and to the Holy Spirit, who fires me up. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be. World without end. Amen.

 In the name of the Father who is so faithful, and of the Son who shepherds me, and of the Holy Spirit who consoles and inspires me, I pray I remain aware of such holy company today. Amen.


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Topics: Lent, Lenten season, God is with us, Sharon Krause

Thinking it Through

Posted by Sharon Krause on Feb 27, 2023 6:00:00 AM

A news report on the TV this morning told of some extra security a convenience store had to employ to discourage the constant increase of fearless, repetitive shoplifting incidents. Obviously, the store owner had thought through the problem and had come to a decision about how to prevent some losses. Potential thieves were probably surprised at the development. The question is, did any thieves think about the possible consequences of the frequent thefts. Did they anticipate this outcome, or did their thoughts only revolve around potential from their illegal activities? In their haste, did they think about repercussions?

In this fast-paced society, it is likely that all of us take speed for granted and sometimes neglect reflective thought. Spontaneity is often applauded as a burst of creativity, and sometimes it is, but there is value in careful thought. We think about things, but do we take time to think enough—especially when it comes to spiritual matters?

In yesterday’s Mass, the passage read from Matthew’s Gospel described Satan tempting Jesus in the desert. Satan might have expected a hungry Jesus to jump at the chance of bread to eat and not think it through to the declaration about the living word from God that offers the best kind of life.

Satan might have hoped that Jesus would throw himself from the temple parapet to reinforce his claim of sonship with God and protection from angels. However Jesus saw through the deception and temptation and took time to recall,

Again it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord, your God, to the test.” (Matthew 4:7)

A third time, weary, thoughtful Jesus took the time to defy Satan’s logic and reached the conclusion that God is the only one that should be worshiped, despite Satan’s offer of a ton of magnificent kingdoms.

We are often tempted to do uncharitable things, ideas can come quickly in certain circumstances, and we might rush into saying or doing something harmful. If we were to slow down a tad and consider many of the possibilities or outcomes, we might refrain. Better to spend time thinking before we act than spend time afterwards wishing we had not spoken or acted.

Maybe Lent can be a time of slowing down in this fast society. Maybe we can take time to look for the Lord in a special way and use the time to savor that relationship as we try to be more attentive to His presence.

                           Aha, God!

Aha, God, I see you, I know you are here.

You are near when I pray, when I doubt, when I fear.

You are found in small blessings, and in big ones too.

You surprise me, advise me, because you are you.

You are my teacher, my Savior, my shepherd, my guide;

You know all about me: what I show, what I hide.

I know that you love me, but I do get distracted.

Yet you seek me out, find me, give me friends to connect with.

You’re like gold I uncover, like oil in the ground.

You are more than all that, and your promise is sound.

When young, I kept laws out of fear and as duty.

As I’ve grown, I see you, I see truth, I see beauty.

Aha, God! You call me. May I be quite attentive!

Eternal life with you—heaven. What better incentive?


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Topics: Lent, Lenten season, Sharon Krause, thinking

Matters of Self

Posted by Sharon Krause on Feb 20, 2023 6:00:00 AM

As we age, we become more and more aware of who we are. While not wanting to be too self-conscious, or selfish, or self-serving, we do need to be self-aware and self-assured. We learn that we are created in the image and likeness of God, so each of us has the responsibility to be the self who lives and loves optimally. That is not always easy.

Self-control and self-discipline are skills we try to pursue. With the arrival of Lent, it may be a good idea to focus on little ways of improving such skills. Fasting, for example, does not have to be not eating a certain food. We might fast from watching a favorite television show. We can fast from using our cell phone for a certain hour or more during the day. Maybe we refrain from playing a favorite video game during Lent. How about that favorite sweater that brings you compliments from others every time you wear it? How about not wearing that sweater during Lent? 

Fasting from anything should be partnered with a positive substitution, perhaps a substitution of a spiritual nature. We might attend an extra weekday Mass, or pray some different prayers, or start a spiritual journal. Maybe we could phone a far-away friend and pray a rosary together once or twice a week. God gives us the gift of creativity, so why not use that gift during Lent?

I noticed that “discipline” and “disciple” have the same root; the internet tells me that the words come from Latin and have to do with “instruction” or “being a pupil.” Maybe this Lent can be a time of seeking wisdom and learning to be holy. We hear in today’s first reading at Mass that God gifts us with wisdom—"her” in the quote:

It is the LORD; he created her through the Holy Spirit,

has seen her and taken note of her.

He has poured her forth upon all his works,

upon every living thing according to his bounty;

he has lavished her upon his friends. (Sirach 1:7-8)

It may be a good idea to start each day of Lent by reading and trying to follow St. Paul’s recommendations in Romans 12:1-2:

I urge you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God, your spiritual worship. Do not conform yourself to this age, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect.

Let us endeavor to make this Lent a time of spiritual self-help which will, in turn, lead us to help those we know and love to grow closer to the human and divine Self-Sacrificer, Jesus Christ.


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Topics: Lent, Lenten season, self-sacrifice, Sharon Krause

Closed for Renovations

Posted by Sharon Krause on Mar 7, 2022 6:00:00 AM

With the arrival of the Lenten season, it might be time to consider what about ourselves we can renew, remodel, or somehow improve upon in our preparation for Easter. The first requirement for such a task is honesty. Just as Jesus tells us in Matthew 25:31-46 that the Son of Man will separate the sheep from the goatsthose who follow the way of love versus those who do notwe need to take an honest look at what in our lives needs to be discarded.

Rationalization and bouts of laziness can cause us to be content with easy selfish responses to the gospel challenge to love God and one another. “Let someone else, with more time and resources, take care of the needy.” “Why should I forgive him; he will just do it again?” “He should get a job and not be so dependent.” “I’m too sleepy tonight to say any prayers; I will say extra ones tomorrow.” Really?

Spring is a good time for renovations. A reasonable amount of detachment from worldly cares can help us focus on our quest of a holier spiritual life. We can carefully select which doors that lead to distractions we can close, or at least shut partially. It is true that we live in a material world, with responsibilities and expectations. It is also true that the Lord guides us. The psalm verses in today’s liturgy tell us,

   (T)he precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart;

   the commandment of the Lord is clear,

   enlightening the eyes;

   the fear of the Lord is pure,

   enduring forever;

   the ordinances of the Lord are true

   and righteous altogether. (Psalm 19:8-9)


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Topics: Lent, Lenten season, Sharon Krause

Thinking about Threes

Posted by Sharon Krause on Feb 19, 2021 6:00:00 AM

Have you ever thought about how many things are in groups of three? In children’s stories, for example, there are three bears, three little mittenless kittens, three blind mice, and “sugar and spice and everything nice” which are three ingredients of little girls. We also have expressions that focus on triplets, as in the Declaration of Independence: “Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.” We might “eat, drink, and be merry” or fall for something “hook, line, and sinker,” “morning, noon and night.” Three seems to be satisfying, almost rhythmical in nature.

If we think about the Blessed Trinity, we know there are three Persons. There are also the three theological virtues of faith, hope, and charity. That reminds me that I have a little book of everyday prayers that contains Acts of Faith, Hope, and Love. Hmm! Maybe I should look them up and use those prayers at the start of each day during Lent? How about you?

And how about instances of threes in the gospel stories? In Chapter 2 of Matthew’s Gospel, we read of the visit of the magi who brought the infant Jesus three gifts. In Chapter 4 of the same Gospel, we read of the devil tempting Jesus three times in the wilderness. In Chapter 22, we read about the greatest commandment that tells us to love God above all, and then our neighbor as ourselves: God, our neighbor, and ourselves.

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Topics: Lent, Lenten season, prayer life, RENEW International, Sharon Krause

Slow to Fast

Posted by Sharon Krause on Feb 15, 2021 6:00:00 AM

With Lent starting in the middle of February, my thoughts turn to memories of other Lenten seasons. I recall when, as a middle-schooler, I gave up, or fasted from, candy and other sweets. However, although I refrained from eating candy, I did buy some sugary cough drops to snack oneven though I did not have a cough or sore throat. Substitution was the name of that game! It was another example of the letter versus the spirit of the prohibition. I would proudly proclaim that I gave up candy for Lent.

Fasting can include abstaining from an activity as well as from a food group. There are spiritual benefits to derive from depriving oneself of certain pleasures. It is supposed to turn our minds away from worldly pleasures or freedoms so as to focus on the greater, spiritual concerns and endeavors.

 This past year, the pandemic has forced me to stop doing many activities I enjoy. It has been almost as if I were fasting from shopping, eating out, and getting together socially with friends and relatives. I certainly did not choose to fast from these activities as a spiritual practice. At first, I did not see a benefitother than health safetyfrom staying home so much. If nothing else, I have learned that there is a big difference between what I perceive as burden and as opportunity,

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Topics: Lent, Lenten season, fasting, prayer life, priorities, RENEW International, Sharon Krause

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