"For to me life is Christ and death is gain" (Phil 1:21)

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Prepare for Lent, A Joyful Season!

This Wednesday is already Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent! We must anticipate the beginning with thoughts of what to give up or what to begin to do to become holier/saintly. Often we begin these thoughts, thinking, “what are my plans for Lent. However, this Lent, let’s ask, “Lord, what are your plans for me this Lent?” Even if what we hear from our Lord may challenge us, by the end of Lent I am quite sure that we will not regret making the decision to cooperate with Him. This means perhaps one of the following:

Spend ten minutes praying before the Blessed Sacrament

Pray and offer some sacrifice for Pope Francis or our Bishop Sirba.

Give away some of your belongings.

Go to Confession.

Point out another’s virtue to them.

Clean up someone else’s mess without making any comments about it.

Fast from Television, Netflix, YouTube, or some other amusement.

Offer your day for someone who has fallen away from the faith.

Pray the Rosary with the intention to renew your Marian devotion.

Pray the Stations of the Cross every week.

The practices that we adopt must be structured by the season, which is understood in our Catholic tradition as a spiritual retreat. Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI describes this saying that it is, …a Lenten journey animated by a more intense spirit of prayer, of reflection, of penance, and of fasting. We enter into a strong liturgical season, which . . . prepares us for the celebration of Easter, the heart and center of the liturgical year and of our entire existence . . . The invitation of Jesus to take up one’s cross and follow him at first glance can seem to be harsh and contrary to much of what we want, something that puts to death our desire for personal fulfillment. But as we take a closer look at it, we can discover that it is not true. The testimony of the saints shows that in the Cross of Christ, in self-giving love, in the renunciation of the possession of one’s self, one finds that profound peace that is the source of generous dedication to one’s brothers and sisters, especially to the poor and needy. This gives us joy. (Pope Benedict XVI, Ash Wednesday, 2008). To prepare for this upcoming Lent, let us ask Jesus in our prayer what we can do for our family and personal practices, which will renew and refocus our hearts upon the one who is Love.

God bless your families this Lent!

In Christ,

Fr. Anthony