Pastor’s Reflection for February 7, 2016
This Wednesday is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of our Lenten season. Our Mass schedule can be found on page 5 of this weekend’s bulletin and on our website. For those who begin their Lenten journey by having ashes placed on their foreheads, it is a sign of repentance and a desire to turn away from sin and to be faithful to walking in the ways of the Lord. Ash Wednesday and Good Friday are obligatory days of fasting and abstinence. In addition, Fridays during Lent are obligatory days of abstinence. Fasting is obligatory from age 18 until 59. When fasting, a person is permitted to eat one full meal. Two smaller meals may also be taken but not to equal a full meal. Abstinence from meat on Fridays is from age 14 onwards. This is a discipline that is a tradition in the Church. It is not a real hardship especially if you enjoy pasta or fish. What is more important in Lent is changing one’s heart and not one’s diet. What areas of my life are keeping me from an intimate relationship with Jesus? What activities can I do to help grow in that relationship such as a faithful prayer time, Scripture reading, more frequent attendance at Mass. This may be a good time to consider attending daily Mass. We have a daily dose of Scripture and receive the Holy Communion as a daily nourishment for our souls. What habits or activities do I need to address that are not helping me to be a loving person? What are areas of my life that are sinful? This may be a good time to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation, to have my soul cleansed from all my sins. Yes, Lent is a good spiritual cleansing and redirecting my life to care for my spirit.
Let me share a thought from Fr. James Martin. This fits the teaching of love from last week’s Scripture.
This Lent, rather than giving up chocolate, why not do this: Be kind. Kindness is an underappreciated way to lead a Christian life. Let me suggest two ways to be kind.
First, don’t be a jerk. You may be sick, tired, or upset about some minor catastrophe that happened at work or at home. That doesn’t mean that you have to pass along your anger or frustration to others. Once I said to a friend, with mock seriousness, “My life is such a cross.” “Really?” he said. “For you or for others?” While it’s important to share your struggles with friends, you don’t need to make others miserable.
Second, honor the absent. Stop talking about people behind their backs. Few things are as damaging to our spiritual lives as denigrating other people. It’s a serious lack of charity, and needless to say, it makes the other person feel terrible if they discover what you said – which they usually do.
Being kind may be harder to do than giving up chocolate, but it’s a lot more helpful for your spiritual life – and for everyone else’s.
This Lent, there will be two programs offered. There will be a two week DVD seminar by Ralph Martin entitled, “The Fulfillment of All Desire.” We are all called to be saints but many of us haven’t the foggiest idea how to make that happen. Drawing on the wisdom of the saints and other Catholic sources, he provides a guide for the growth in the spiritual life. We will begin this series on Tuesday, February 16, at 7 p.m. It will conclude on Tuesday, February 23.
We will have a three day mission by John Michael Talbot on March 7 – 9. It is a DVD.
I will be available for confessions on Tuesday, February 9, from 2:30 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
May Jesus continue to shepherd you in all of your needs.
God love you,