February 22, 2017
Today we begin the 40 Days of Lent. These 40 days will lead us to the great Paschal Triduum of the Lord as we enter into His dying and rising.
The Church has three traditional Lenten practices: Prayer, Fasting and Almsgiving. These three things allow us to enter into the true spirit of Lent as we journey together toward the great Paschal Triduum of the Lord. As we celebrate Ash Wednesday with its reminder to “Repent and Believe in the Gospel,” we are challenged to make this Lent a different time for us so that hopefully we will arrive at an Easter of rebirth.
Some suggestions on how to use these 40 days well, based on the three ancient Lenten practices:
Consider coming to Morning Prayer at 7:00am each weekday of Lent as the Liturgy of the Hours is prayed. Pick one or two days a week to come to Daily Mass at 12:15pm or 5:15pm. Find five or ten minutes a day for quiet, personal prayer. On March 22, we will be hosting the Piedmont Deanery Faith Development Day on the topic of “Finding Jesus Through Prayer.” You can read more about this day and sign up for it by following this link:
In Lent, there are two specific days to fast: Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. On these days, we are asked to eat just one meal. But why fast? It is about self-denial. In Matthew 16:24, Jesus says: “If anyone would be a follower of mine let him deny himself, take up his cross and follow me.” The Catechism says that fasting and abstinence “help us to acquire mastery over our instincts and freedom of heart. (CCC 2043)”. Fasting frees us. It shows us that we do have power to deny ourselves of something, and it puts us in touch with the spirit of this holy season. Perhaps you might consider fasting one day a week in Lent.
It is important that we do not become caught up in the things we have. Sacrificial Giving provides us the opportunity to move beyond ourselves and focus on the needs of others. During Lent, we are asked to sacrifice some of our financial wealth for those in need. Seek out an organization that serves the poor and needy and make a contribution. Here at the parish, you could support our Charity Fund, which assists those in urgent need of help with things like rent and utilities. On Holy Thursday, our collection will go to support the work of Fr. Paul Kapochina in Ghana. You might consider making a contribution to this cause. Think about how you have been blessed and how you can give of your resources for the good of others this Lent.
One final note on a good way to observe Lent this year. Hopefully you know about our Parish Lenten Mission with Roy Petitfils March 12-15. Visit our Mission page
or the article in this edition of More News and Links to learn more about how Roy will help us to discover God in our daily life this Lent.