Season of Lent

Dear Friends in Christ,

This coming Wednesday is Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent. With Ash Wednesday, we begin our forty days of fasting, prayer, and almsgiving. This season of penance helps us prepare to celebrate the resurrection of the Lord more joyfully and enthusiastically. Lent is a time to purify our lives of sin and to refocus on God. Given all that we have been through over the last few years, this Lent is an excellent opportunity to review and renew our
priorities.

Fasting
For God to have primacy in our hearts and in our lives, a little spiritual housekeeping is helpful. Just as we need to declutter our homes and offices, so too we need to spiritually declutter sin and bad habits from our lives. Fasting is an excellent means to do this. Yet fasting is more than going meatless on Fridays or giving up sweets. This Lent, in order to de-clutter,
consider fasting from your iPhone or social media. Try fasting from idle talk and gossip. Use Lent to begin a spiritual make-over to increase patience, understanding, compassion. Replace negativity and criticism with words of affirmation, kindness, and encouragement.

Prayer
Prayer is the oxygen to our souls. Whenever you ever feel far from God, guess who moved? (Hint – it wasn’t God!) Lent is a time to reconnect to God in prayer. St. Francis de Sales, the great apostle of the spiritual life, recommended that everyone should spend at least 30 minutes a day in prayer. For those who are busy with many responsibilities and demands on
their time, he recommends an hour! Lent is a time for greater commitment to personal prayer and communal prayer. Consider coming to daily mass, Stations of the Cross or Eucharistic Adoration. Confessions and Lent go together. Experience the Lord’s mercy in the sacrament of mercy and forgiveness! A beautiful way to grow in prayer is the reading of
Sacred Scripture. If you pick up your bible on Ash Wednesday and start with St. Matthew’s gospel, reading just a couple of short chapters each day, you can complete all four gospels by Easter! You did that last year? Try reading the Psalms. Read and pray a psalm in the morning, during the day, at evening and another at bedtime and you will cover the entire Psalter.
Sometimes we are not sure what to prayer for. Make a list or two or three. Pray in thanksgiving of your blessings. Write them down and keep them with you. Make a list of people you are grateful for in your life. Pray for them by name. Think of those who are having troubles or challenges. Put them on your list and pray for them.

Almsgiving
Don’t forget, taxes are due April 15. As we prepare our taxes, it is important to realize how blessed we are. Everything we have is a blessing from God. Paying taxes to the government, means we were blessed with income this year! Does our charity and stewardship accurately reflect our gratitude for the blessings we have received? One of the best ways to fight pride
and greed is humility and generosity. Sacrificing helps us appreciate what we have. The practice of giving alms helps us grow in gratitude and love. When we practice almsgiving, it is more than giving to a need, it is recognizing our need to give.
Happy Mardi Gras and a Holy Lent!

In pace Christi,

Fr. Troy