Saturdays 4:00 pm
Sundays 8:30 am and 10:30 am
Tuesdays and Thursdays 6:30 am
Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays 9:00 am
Back in high school, trying out for one of the varsity sports there was this thing called "two a days". Generally it consisted of four hours of grueling practice, two hours in the morning and two in the afternoon. It was meant to see who really wanted to play. Faint- er hearts would soon find other interests. We hated "two a days."
That can be how we look at Lent - - - six weeks of getting in spiritual shape. The same feelings get stirred. "No chocolate! No whiskey! No TV! No whining! Oh dear. "This is a good thing," we tell ourselves.
This is not a very helpful way to begin! It puts us at the center of things. It makes MY effort, MY sacrifice to be the meaning of MY Lent. Rather, we need to see this as a time of God's Grace given to us.
What is Grace? Simply put, it is God's love acting in our lives. It reminds us of who we are (His child); it opens our eyes to see His presence in the world. God's grace moves us to "get beyond ourselves", to see others (God and my neighbor) as gifts to be loved and cherished.
So the key to the season of Lent is to ask for the grace to let go of what may keep us locked on ourselves. We've all developed habits in life that keep ourselves comfortable and self-contained (MY time, MY space, My schedule, etc.)
This Lent, is there one thing (not 2 or 3), that we might surrender to God in love that would make us "available" to be lifted out of ourselves? This surrender frees us up to be for others. MY time, once so precious TO ME, becomes a gift we can give to our children, our spouse, to God (prayer). Jesus nailed this when he said, "Whoever loses their life for my sake, will find it." MT. 10:39.
Even this little "giving up" will hurt a bit at first. The bond of selfishness and habit is strong! This too requires God's grace. To fail and to start again. To not become discouraged. Every day is a new day of grace which brings a new invitation from Christ to "Follow me".
Now the good news is it eventually becomes a joyful discipline. We rediscover some wonderful things we had forgotten, things like: a clean conscience, a clearer sense of purpose to our work and why we do it, a renewed appreciation for the people in our lives we are given to live and work with, a better under- standing of how to use the things of this world properly, without excess or hoarding.
So what is this joyful thing that happens? Freedom! Freedom from always having to satisfy your own wants and a clear space to feel what God intended you to be. . . Christ in your skin, with your voice. How wonderful you are when you get out of your own way!
So let's start slow. Say goodbye to one small thing that you know needs to go (at least for a while). Make a conscious offering of it to God in prayer. (eg. "Lord help me to smile more even when I don't feel it." Or "Lord, I'm really good at finding fault. Help me to see the good and be thankful." Or "Lord, this money was going to get me some new shoes. I don't need them. Someone else does." Or "Lord, I want to really love you more. Here's my time spent watching TV; show me how to pray."
"But Lord, I'm gonna need your Grace." Lent. Let's roll!!
We are a Catholic faith community blessed with the joy of God’s love. Together we share this love with all who hunger for God’s presence in their lives. We follow Christ who taught us to find God by giving our lives in service to others and gathering to celebrate a Eucharist that welcomes everyone. Join us on this journey!