LENT IS COMING SOON!!!
Even though it is a late start to the Lenten season, it can still sneak up on us. Ash Wednesday is February 26th, only 10 days away. Have you thought about your Lenten practices yet? It is normal for us to ignore these until Ash Wednesday is upon us, and then start thinking about them. Then after a week or so, we will tweek them; then after another week, we will put them into action. By this time, we are 1/3 of the way through Lent. It is a good practice to begin thinking about these things now. Then, when Ash Wednesday rolls around, we will be ready to begin our Lenten practices right away.
Another thing we can get caught up with is that lent is simply a time to give something up. This is true, and it is always good to offer these things up. However, if we are still trying to give up the same things we gave up last year, or 5 years ago, or 25 years ago, perhaps it is time we try adding something as well. The reason we give something up is to create an emptiness and a desire in our hearts; but if this emptiness is not filled with something virtuous, we will fill it with something else.
Take this to prayer: is God inviting me to something more this Lent? Adoration? Weekday Mass? More frequent confession? Serving others in Nursing Home or hospital? Reading Sacred Scripture on a daily basis? Take advantage of our parish mission to begin preparing your hearts to see where it is God is inviting you. He invites all to holiness, but the path is as individual as we are. Much like a trip, we begin in a particular location, and have a destination in mind. Now we need to decide; do I take an airplane? Drive a car? Could I ride a bike? Take a train? And once we decide the mode of transportation, we decide the route. The most direct; the most scenic; perhaps I want the fastest route. Lastly, the most important step, and that is to begin the journey. It is possible to plan and plan to death, and never make the journey or begin the climb. Our preparation has got to lead us to action, even if it means we wreck the car and have to start all over again, then that is what we do.
In all of this, keep an open heart to God’s inspirations. I have found that often after doing all the planning, and getting started, God has a totally different Lent for me, usually one I would never select for myself. Ask for the grace to see that, and to embrace it, even if it means that my plan might have to be put on hold for a year.
+ Praying for a blessed Lent for our entire parish family.