Fans of Heath Ledger will recognize this phrase from one of my favorite films, A Knight’s Tale. In the film, Jocelyn, one of the main characters, comments that she comes to cathedrals for two reasons: Confession and the glass. The glass, as she so eloquently puts it, is “a riot of color in a dreary gray world.”
I have always loved this line. How accurate, insightful and Catholic! Stained glass has always had a multitude of purposes. Practically speaking, it’s a window, meant to let in light and keep out the wind. The glass often tells a story. The earliest stained glass were designed as instructional tools to help a mostly illiterate population learn the stories of the Bible and saints. As history and architecture advanced, the word “multipurpose” hardly does justice to all these windows were capable of.
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I know, Lent is still a little more than a month away. Don’t get me wrong, Ordinary Time is definitely important and usually anything but ordinary, but I’m considering a new approach to Lent this year that I wanted to share. A few weeks ago, I posted on my own blog about choosing a word or theme for the new year, rather than making resolutions. I am taking that same concept and want to offer it as a new way to approach Lent.
We all know Lent is coming. We usually remember that means a time for fasting, almsgiving, and prayer. How many of us take dedicated time to discern what we are going to “give up” or “do more of?” I’ll be completely honest here: Usually I finalize my Lenten plans on or slightly before Ash Wednesday. And typically, they are things that I know are going to be good for me, but I haven’t given them a whole lot of thought. It’s the low-hanging fruit — say a Rosary a day, give up snacks between meals, read a Psalm every day, give $5 extra at Mass, and so on. All good things, but maybe not the most challenging or even the most personal for my spiritual life….
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A few months ago I started doing something new. Well, it’s really something routine done in a new way. I’ve changed how I fold towels. I know, it doesn’t sound all that astronomical, and perhaps in the grand, grand scheme it isn’t. But it has affected positive change worth reflecting on.
It occurred to me, on a rather frustrating day, “Why am I folding towels and putting them away, only to re-fold them so that they fit on the towel racks?” You see, for space saving purposes, I had been folding towels hamburger style: twice, and then in thirds. It was so satisfying to see the stacks looking neat and tidy on the shelf. But, in order for them to hang on our towel racks, they had to be completely unfolded and then re-folded in half, hot-dog style. On this day, I was trying to juggle the dirty towels in one arm while re-folding the clean towels in the other and attempting not to trip over children. It was a mess!
Finally, the thought came to me that I had a choice in this matter.
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