First Week of Lent 2024: Two Meditations-the Bavarian Cross; the meaning Lent in Sign Magazine in 1924

First Week of Lent 2024: Two Meditations-the Bavarian Cross; the meaning Lent in Sign Magazine in 1924

Meditation One: Take a moment to meditate on this cross: this figure of Christ hangs above the altar in the public chapel of Immaculate Conception Monastery, Jamaica, New York. It is sculptured in linden wood. This precious work of art from Bavaria, Germany was created by Christopher Rodt (died in 1634). It is dated around 1610. It was a gift of the Bavarian Catholic hierarchy to Father Fabian Flynn, C.P. (1905-1973) for his work with Catholic Relief Services in post-World War II Europe after 1945.

May our meditation on this cross remind us to have compassion for international refugees and seek ways to find peaceful and just solutions for this it exists in 2024.

To read a short bio Passionist Fabian Flynn click on this link For a full understanding of Flynn’s life as a World War II military chaplain and a full appreciation of his work with refugees read his biography by Dr. Sean Brennan, Ph.D. The Priest Who Put Europe Back Together: The Life of Father Fabian Flynn, CP. (The Catholic University of America Press, 2018).

Meditation Two: The American Passionists began publishing Sign Magazine in 1921. This editorial from Volume 3 1924 was written by Father Harold Purcell, C.P. Now, 100 years later what is your perspective on this Catholic Lenten spirituality of this era? While there is an emphasis on fasting, prayer and mediation on Jesus suffering, Father Purcell also addresses the religious practices of Christ Scientists and Mormons. Looking back at the historical context is always helpful. It is important to remember that one of the reasons that Sign Magazine was founded to uphold and safeguard Catholic principles. And there was genuine competition and bias between Catholics and Protestants in the United States at that time.

What is your impression of Lent in 1924 as compared to your experience of Lent in 2024? Read the following one page essay below. I would suggest the value of reading it provides us a means to better appreciate how Catholic tradition and spirituality of Lent was experienced 100 years ago. Click below on this link to read the one page editorial entitled Lent: Some Suggestions