Lent is once again here! Our annual season of penance and conversion arrives every year, after the Thanksgiving-Christmas-New Year holiday season, inviting us to rethink our behaviors and activities that we might more fully align with Our Lord. Every year the Season of Lent invites us to walk with the women and men who are entering their final stages of entering into the Catholic Church at the great Easter Vigil Mass on Holy Saturday. Originally created to help those candidates and catechumens in their final preparations, it soon became clear a season of penance and conversion was a very worthwhile gift for all members of the faith community.
The Church has always embraced three “strategies” to help us in this season of repentance and conversion: Prayer, Fasting, and Almsgiving. We might think of them as a three-legged stool. Each one has a certain value in itself, but collectively they provide us with the solid foundation we require to move forward.
Prayer always comes first because it focuses on our primary relationship to God.
Secondly comes the discipline of fasting.
Almsgiving is the ancient practice in which we share from our necessity with those who are in greater need.
Week One Feb 18, 2018
The Spirit drove Jesus out into the desert, and he remained in the desert for forty days tempted by Satan.” ~ Opening sentence of today’s Gospel passage from St. Mark
As we begin this new season of Lent, we are invited to be led by the same Spirit into our own desert, our own quiet space, that we might come face to face with whatever leads us away from God. Once we know what those lures are, only then do we have the freedom to decide what we are going to do. Only then can we ask for God’s help to turn away from sin that we might be faithful to the Gospel.
Week Two Feb 25, 2018
“Jesus was transfigured before them….from the cloud came a voice, “This is my beloved Son. Listen to him.” ~ from today’s Gospel passage from St. Mark’s Gospel
It is as if the Church, knowing how easy it is for us to slide into some shadowy darkness, especially when we are focusing on our failings and need for repentance, makes sure we are given this startling reminder of who Jesus is and just what it is he has done for us.
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