The Pastor’s Corner
I guess we all can’t wait for spring to arrive in about a week and a half. As Gerard Manley Hopkins wrote, “Nothing is so beautiful as Spring – When weeds, in wheels, shoot long and lovely and lush.” Last Wednesday, we entered a different kind of springtime – the springtime of the spirit.
The word “Lent” comes from an old English word that means springtime. Maybe we all look forward to Lent as a time to renew ourselves spiritually and experience a closer connection with the Church as we all observe Lent together.
Each of us will decide what we want to do, what we need to do, for Lent. The key is not to let the enthusiasm about the start of Lent fizzle halfway through Lent. Each Sunday of Lent (and each Mass during the rest of the week, if possible) is a chance to renew our Lenten promises.
There are three classic paths for Lent.
The first is fast and abstinence – staying away from certain foods. When we try to do that, we realize how addicted we have become to fast foods, alcohol, nicotine and other things that chain us. Fast and abstinence are ways of regaining control of our appetites. They are “declarations of independence” from the artificial needs imposted on us by a consumer culture.
The second path in Lent is prayer – not necessarily more prayer but better prayer. There are many ways of raising our hearts and minds to God. If our prayer has become routine, Lent is a time for exploration, a time to journey through the vast treasury of the Church’s different kinds of prayer.
The third path is almsgiving, helping those in need through the Church or other organized charities. Giving to charity as we are able is a liberation from accumulation and happiness. Almsgiving gives all of us a chance to experience the truth that “in giving, we receive.”
Independence, exploration, liberation – the benefits of fasting, prayer and almsgiving.
May we all have a productive and invigorating Lent. May it be for all of us a “springtime of the spirit.”
A REMINDER: On Wednesday of Lent, all parishes in our diocese will be open from 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm for Confessions as part of our diocese’s “The Light Is On For You” program. Therefore, both Sacred Heart and St. Bridget’s will also be open on the Wednesday evenings of Lent for Confessions.
In Our Lord
Father Stan Krempa