…..from your Pastor’s Desk:
This Wednesday we have a fascinating conflation of days. Wednesday is both Valentine’s Day, a special day of special recognition of our loved one[s] and Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the Holy Season of Lent – the time we change our lives for the better in preparation for the Most Holy of days – Easter Sunday. I can’t remember if these two celebrations ever before co-incited. But let us not have one preclude the other – for both celebrate love. One at a human level – the other at human and Divine. “What greater love can one have than to lay down one’s life for a friend?”
This raises a yearly question for each of us. And it’s not what to do for your Valentine – but, rather, what should I give up for Lent? Or, perhaps, what should I take on? Preferably – both! To make a more well-informed decision, I think it best to first address WHY we should do either – or both.
The goal is two-fold: That we realize there is value in denying ourselves every gratification, especially immediate ones, and, secondarily, to learn the spiritual value of sacrifice. In our world today of wanting everything – and wanting it NOW – this is a great lesson to learn, or re-learn as the case may be. Good things are both worth waiting for and worth working for.
It is up to each of you personally to determine how best to achieve this, but here are some ideas: Perhaps giving up or modifying something like the consumption of chocolate or sweets, or pizza, or the amount of time per day spent playing video games, or internet surfing, or excessive texting, tweeting or twittering, or just watching TV is a great sacrifice for you. Perhaps making daily Mass a few times a week, or the Stations of the Cross on Fridays, or saying a daily rosary, or reading some of the Bible daily – or attending the Holy
Hour on Thursdays – or being faithful to taking time to read the ‘Little Black Book of Lenten Mediations” – any of which would involve some of your ‘free-time’ – would be a great sacrifice.
Again, it is up to you. What will teach you best the virtue of sacrifice? Pick something, pick even ONE thing and go with it. If you are not sure – ask God in prayer these next three days. You’ll know – BELIEVE me – you’ll know!
Remember – we add sacrifice to our lives not for its own sake, but to help us be more attuned to God and to those whose daily lives involve much sacrifice and suffering – the
Body of Christ Crucified among us.
Regarding fasting – last week’s bulletin gave you the official Diocesan Regulations. If you follow these – regardless of age – you will find it most edifying. There are copies of the regulations on the table in the back if you need one.
From its earliest days the Church has urged the baptized to observe the three-fold discipline of fasting, almsgiving (charity), and prayer in preparation for the celebration of Easter. As you will hear there is something very special and specific that I want us together, as a parish to reach to. I strongly encourage your participation. During Lent the Church encourages attendance at daily Mass, self-imposed times of fasting, and giving generously to programs of sharing.
On the cover of this bulletin you will find the Mass and Service Schedule for Ash Wednesday and Lent.
With deepest sincerity – I wish you a Holy, meaningful, and productive, and yes, Happy Lent.
PS: My condolences to those who plan on giving up
chocolate for Lent. It’s such a great Valentine gift!