Laudetur Jesus Christus! Gelobt sei Jesus Christus! Sia lodato Gesù Cristo! Praised be Jesus Christ!
As we prepare to begin Lent this upcoming Wednesday, March 2, may we prepare ourselves to enter this holy season with humility and temperance. Please remember that Ash Wednesday is a day of Fast and Abstinence. Please see page 5 for the norms.
In addition to preparing ourselves to participate in the passion of Christ and celebrate His resurrection on Easter Sunday, the Church, in her wisdom, gives us this season because we grow too comfortable with the world at times. We grow too comfortable with ourselves and the mediocrity we find ourselves. This is very harmful to us spiritually because ultimately, as St. Philip Neri reminds us, our citizenship is in Heaven.
So we enter into this holy season with a sense of humility and temperance because we must learn and teach ourselves to live not for and in the world but to live for and with God. This is why our fasting and penances are so necessary. It is a preparation for eternity.
Most of the things we have in the world we simply don’t need. They are certainly convenient, they make life easier, they are enjoyable, but do we truly need them? Especially the things we become so attached to. The dangers in our material world, especially with our possessions, are very real. We begin to determine human value and worth based upon belongings. Our worth to the corporate world is based on what and how much we buy from them. Our worth to the government is based on how much we pay taxes. However, we are much more than that, and Christ purchased us at a great price. His own blood!
So strive this Lent, as I remind you every year, not to just give up superficial things for Lent. While I don’t dispute the value of those penances either, I simply encourage everyone also to give up something meaningful, challenging, something that you make hurt a bit. Look also for a particular vice you may have, and seek to give up the corresponding sin and grow in the opposite virtue. Ensure you pray more often, get to daily Mass regularly, and do some spiritual reading. And certainly seek to care for those less fortunate than ourselves, those impoverished materially, physically, mentally, spiritually. This will fulfill the command of the Lord, to pray, to fast, and to give alms.
We may stumble a bit this Lent but pick back up strong if you do, and don’t think that Lent was for nothing. The Lord is ever patient with us, and if we are willing to keep trying, God will send us His help.
I pray we all have a fruitful Lent, grow in virtue, and carry the cross with the Lord. And may Our Lady ever keep us close!