One of Fr. Michael Hammer’s favorite Lenten prayers comes from St. Alphonsus Liguori’s “The Way of the Cross,” where at the end of each Station, there is the prayer, “O my Jesus, with all my heart; I am sorry that I have offended You. May I never offend You again. Grant that I may love You always; and then do with me as You will.”
This prayer is an important component of his recent virtual presentation at the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist, “Where Do You Think the Way of the Cross Goes?”
As the assisting priest at the Cathedral, Fr. Hammer is accustomed to holding a live Lenten Reflection, but due to the pandemic, he opted to host it virtually this year.
“Our parish people have been used to this for 16 years, at least,” he said. “I always did one at the beginning of Advent and Lent, and it was nice to have everyone together. We would have a light supper and then the program.”
While he and his parishioners miss personal gatherings, he is happy he can share his Lenten message through the video platform and conveys his theme of “discipline and delight” in his presentation. Normally 80 to 100 attended, but with the video, his outreach is greater.
“The two words seem like it could be arguing, and I even say that,” Fr. Hammer said. “I begin with the history of Lent itself and go over the importance of prayer, fasting and almsgiving, and how not to become like the early Pharisees by looking for loopholes. We all have loopholes, but my idea is to choose things you can really do for Lent and not look for loopholes.”
While walking through various disciplines over the 40 days until Easter, Fr. Hammer said to also look for the delight in daily life.
“If you get to the end of the day and there isn’t something you can delight in, then it is your problem,” he said. “If you can see a fork and you can pick it up to eat food, you can find delight in that.”
Through humor, anecdotes and personal reflections, Fr. Hammer provides a solid and encouraging plan to make this Lent the best one possible. Whether it’s praying the rosary, meditating on the crucifix or other traditional practices, he draws the listener closer to Christ.
To listen, visit: SJCathedralMKE on Vimeo or www.StJohnCathedral.org.