Wednesday, February 22, 2012


And so it begins. This period of prayer and penance before Easter is so often dreaded by some of my fellow Catholics. But this is a period of renewal. A chance to begin anew. It goes well beyond giving up chocolate, or beer. While those choice are not by themselves wrong, I feel that it may miss the point. Sure, sacrifice is the theme of the liturgical season, but sacrifice can be a means to joy. It's a path to a permanent improvement in our lives, not a change lasting merely 40 days.

I will sacrifice more of my time for prayer and spiritual reading. I will sacrifice my enjoyment of some pleasure for the sake of joining myself to the suffering of Jesus on the cross. Sure, on this Ash Wednesday I'll be hungry as I willingly meet my obligation of abstinence and fasting. But what a minor suffering that will be. These sacrifices are not meant to punish myself, they are intended to make me stronger.

Lent should be a time after which we find ourselves better than when we started. I pray that my additional time spent in prayer will continue. I pray those extra efforts to help others will inspire me to continue that charity year-round. I pray that you find the same renewal.

May you have a wonderful and growth-filled Lent.

Take heed that you do not your justice before men, to be seen by them: otherwise you shall not have a reward of your Father who is in heaven. Therefore when thou dost an almsdeed, sound not a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be honoured by men. Amen I say to you, they have received their reward. But when thou dost alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doth. That thy alms may be in secret, and thy Father who seeth in secret will repay thee. And when ye pray, you shall not be as the hypocrites, that love to stand and pray in the synagogues and corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men: Amen I say to you, they have received their reward. But thou when thou shalt pray, enter into thy chamber, and having shut the door, pray to thy Father in secret: and thy Father who seeth in secret will repay thee. -- Matthew 6; 1-6


  1. Yes. I actually prefer Lent to Advent. The craziness of prepping for Christmas drowns out the spiritual meaning so easily. But Lent gives me an opportunity to step back, be quiet, reflect. My parish will provide many opportunities for study and prayer, and I'll drag my "I hate going out in the dark cold" self out to them and be grateful.

    I will also crave a steak today...

    1. I agree PH. The craziness that coincides with Advent is why I like to remind folks that the Christmas season doesn't actually start until Dec 25. I'll be hitting those evening Parish Mission events as well, despite my preference for staying at home. Have a blessed Lent.


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