The Annals of Saint Anne Summary
March-April 2018 by Lucie Ricard
Ahhh ... Lent! When I was young, the period before Easter was a time of sacrifice. We had to choose something that we were going to deprive ourselves of, and we had to live with "lean" Fridays as well. I remember that I always dreaded Lenten weeks because I was going to have to deprive myself of things that I really loved ... And I truly hated that time.
As I got older, my relationship with Lent has changed. Beyond the sacrifice aspect, I found a reason to put myself in a more intimate relationship with God. Instead of seeing only what I was depriving myself of, I began to see it as an opportunity to think more and more often about Jesus, his life on earth, his life with us. If my fingers went to the bowl of chocolate, my head reminded me that it was Lent and, instead of saddening myself with the sacrifice and feeling sorry for my poor lot, my thoughts went to the sacrifice that God did it to save us, I became more aware of it. My thoughts were not so selfish and I began to think of our brothers and sisters of the world who do not even have the fortune to choose what to deprive ... I would say that today, my Lent is a true time of preparation for the death and resurrection of Christ. A time where I give myself the happiness of being closer to God in everyday life, where I get closer to my brothers and sisters in him, where I realize that the world exists out of my little comfortable bubble and that I am part of a great family whose roots go back to the dawn of time. I admit that holy days and Easter Sunday take on a really more intense flavor than just looking forward to having the right to start eating again what I've been deprived of for a few weeks! And to be honest, the "deprivation" aspect is no longer part of my "obligations". I choose to deprive myself, yes, more out of habit I think, but I choose above all to put myself in relation to my reality, my inheritance, my Christian family. I choose to sacrifice some of my usual life swirls to allow me to be in close relationship with God and ... I saw that it was very good!
This edition of the Annals will accompany you on your way to Easter. I can only hope that your readings will be useful and will allow you to discover one or more aspects of Lent that will bring joy and light to your period of sacrifice and that you'll truly feel the benevolent presence of our Lord, our Father.
Happy Lent! ... and Happy Easter!
March-April 2018 by Charles Duval, C.S.s.R.
The sacrifice of Lent
Several years ago, a fellow Haitian redemptorist came to study in Canada. He had never lived a complete autumn-winter-spring cycle in our country. With his poet's heart and being very expressive, he willingly shared his reactions and thoughts at meal time.
When, in the fall, the trees lost their leaves, he could not believe that all this would grow back in the spring. When the snow settled in, he had lost all hope: not only was there no more leaves, but what was left alive would certainly be killed by frost and cold. And how could all this snow melt in time for spring anyway?
Winter was difficult for him in many ways and when spring came, people in the house marveled at seeing him run outside to exclaim at the buds that were swelling on the branches, and falling on his knees in front of the small green stems, growing here and there, even through the snow.
There is this void, created by winter, that makes us appreciate even more the arrival of spring. This is one of the things commonly shared by the saints: they seem to understand that the joy of victory after the sacrifice is worth more than any other reward. I have not yet understood this since the easy reward still attracts me more than the sacrifice, but I am attracted by this passion that allows so many men and women to give themselves completely for love and to arrive at Easter, victorious.
Prayer to Saint Anne
March-April 2018 by François-Marie Héraud
Good St. Anne,
I think of Jesus. At Christmas, when he was born, there was a star, then the joy of the shepherds and kings who came to adore this tiny child swaddled and surrounded by his humble parents. Peaceful years followed in discrete anonymity. In the last days of his life, a huge crowd gathers around him, but he is alone. People look at him, whisper, ignore him, draw up a cross and put him to death.
Lord Jesus, all your life reveals to me the mystery of mine. You show me a hidden essential. You accept death so that I can live. You invite me to go forward, to go elsewhere, to change, to follow you. Yet you do not force me, you love me too much for that and you prefer my freedom.
My eyes are often full of illusions. Give me to know how to close them to see better. You do not ask for privations or sacrifices, you rather desire for my hands and my heart to go to meet you in the unfortunate ones.
Saint Anne, help me to discern, to believe and to love. In the whirlwind and noise of my days, give me the opportunity to discover the silence and presence of God. Thank you, Grandma Saint Anne, for accompanying me in what really matters.