Lent begins in 11 days (Ash Wednesday, February 26). Check the front of the bulletin for the Masses and Ash distribution on that day. Interesting note: even though Ash Wednesday is not a “Holy Day” it is one of the best attended Liturgies.
Lent is a ‘season’ lasting 40 days (Noah and the flood, Israelites wandering in the desert/Exodus, Jesus in the desert). Historically, Lent has gone through several revisions: sometimes very penitential and sometimes establishing different traditions. What works for one person (fasting, prayer and almsgiving)— may not work for another. But the underlying ‘purpose’ is to examine our relationship with Jesus Christ. How can I be more like Christ in response to the people around me?
SUGGESTION: Challenge yourself during this Lenten season— and go beyond the usual practice of “giving up” something. Now is a great time to take stock of your spiritual life and put those virtues into action.
1. Make a commitment to read the Sunday scriptures before you go to Mass. (Join a once a week Small Faith Group to discuss the Lenten Readings)
2. When you turn on your computer (or before you turn it off) try a 10- minute guided prayer from Sacred Space.com
3. If you don’t have a cross/crucifix in your home—buy a simple one and hang it where you will see it.
4. Read the entire Gospel of Mark in one sitting. As the shortest Gospel, it is the most concise story of Jesus’ life.
5. Subscribe to a book of daily reflections and keep it by your bed. Try the ‘Magnificat’—‘Give Us This Day’—‘Living with Christ ‘(delivered monthly)
6. Make a commitment to ‘fast’ from insensitive, cruel comments about others. So, no gossiping …
7. As a part of your Lenten almsgiving, make a point to learn more about a particular social issue (immigration, human trafficking, racism, the environment, public education, child poverty…). Send an offering to an organization related to your chosen issue that supports the dignity of the human person. (Catholic Relief Services, Campaign for Human Development….)
8. As you’re walking, driving, or riding—pray for someone you see.
9. Introduce yourself to your neighbor.
10. Celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Can’t remember how? Tell the priest it’s been a while, and ask him to guide you through it.
11. And be positive! Christ brings us the ‘Good News’ of our Creator’s continuing love.