Catholic Activity: NOW Cross
An explanation of a practice that could be used during Lent as a reminder of the penitential themes.
The Epistle for Ash Wednesday gives us the call to action for Lent. In the Epistle, 2 Cor 5:20-6:2, St. Paul tells us that "Behold, now is the acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation!" Pope John Paul II echoes this cry, calling us to action, to changing our hearts. We should etch this cry in our hearts and minds—this is the time given by the Church to renew our lives and turn back to God. Our lives have become hectic with too many activities, too many work and family obligations, a constant barrage of noise and visual stimulation through the radio, TV, stereo, movies, computer, and games. We need to slow down and turn towards the spiritual world.
Remember the basic catechism question, "Why did God make you?" The answer is simple, "God made me to know Him, to love Him and serve Him in this world to be happy forever with Him in the next." Is that what we are living? Our primary purpose on earth is to glorify God. We are created chiefly for the life beyond the grave. This present life is merely a preparation for everlasting life. Are we living for that purpose, or for just the fleeting happiness the world and flesh can give?
Keeping this quote in mind will help us when we have been weak or forgetful in persevering in our Lenten resolutions (see the section Personal Program for some concrete suggestions). It doesn't matter what we did yesterday, or even a few minutes ago. The important time is NOW, and we need to make the best of NOW. Not the past, not the future, but the present. Lent is not the time for procrastinating!
A useful idea is to make crosses out of colored paper, maybe red or violet, and write the word "NOW" or even the whole verse of 2 Cor 6:2 on the cross: "Behold, now is the acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation!" These crosses can be placed as reminders around the house—one on the TV, the refrigerator, the radio—different areas of the house that will help remind you of your personal Lenten resolutions.
(NOW Cross idea adapted from pamphlet Holy Lent by Eileen O'Callaghan, 1975, The Liturgical Press, Collegeville, Minnesota)
Activity Source: Original Text (JGM) by Jennifer Gregory Miller, © Copyright 2003-2023 by Jennifer Gregory Miller