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Scripture Reflection - March 17, 2024

Fifth Sunday of Lent

Jeremiah 31:31-34 - Hebrews 5:7-9    - John 12:20-33

Sisters of Saint Dominic of Blauvelt, New York Scripture Reflection

"Whoever loves her life loses it,

and whoever hates her life in this world will preserve it for eternal life." 

-John 12:25


In 1963, the young film star Dolores Hart became a Benedictine nun, surprising most people who knew her or followed her career. She had shared the screen with some of the biggest stars of her day, she is famous for kissing Elvis Presley. Her decision to be a nun did not please everyone. Her agent told her that she had just “swallowed a razor blade.”


Mother Dolores now has been a nun for more than fifty years and became the prioress of her monastery in Connecticut. She recalls that when she entered religious life at twenty-four years old, she struggled to let go of all her belongings—fur coats, jewels, and dresses. It was a kind of dying. She says that although she loved her acting career, she found deeper meaning and purpose as a Benedictine sister. “I didn’t run away from something, but I ran toward something new life in Christ.”

Those who didn’t understand why Dolores would give up “everything” had not grasped the lesson that Jesus teaches in today’s gospel: Our faith is about dying so that new life can arise. It is about Jesus dying so that he could overcome both death and sin by emerging from the tomb, and it is about the many deaths each of us must die so that, through our deaths, might come new life. That is the meaning of the sacrifices of Lent—not losing weight or giving up smoking, beneficial as those outcomes might be, but dying to preoccupation with material things so that we might better discern and act on greater things.

You don’t have to give up your career like Mother Dolores, but God invites us to surrender all that keeps us from fully loving God and following God’s will and way. Lent is an opportunity to de-clutter, simplify and focus on what is important in life—serving God by forgetting self and loving others.

Sr. Theresa Rickard, OP


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