Lord, who throughout these forty days
for us did fast and pray
Teach us to overcome our sins and close by you to stay.
As you did hunger, bear, and thirst,
so teach us, gracious Lord,
to die to self and so to live
by your most Holy Word.
As Catholic Christians, how should our lives be different during the Season of Lent? What is God expecting of us? What are we expecting of ourselves?
From the words of Pope Francis, “During the season of Lent, the Church issues two important invitations: to have a greater awareness of the redemptive work of Christ; and to live out one’s Baptism with deeper commitment.”
Do we ever stop to think about all that Jesus did for us out of His love for the family of God? Can we step away from our busy lives, simplify, and focus on Jesus who gave His life for us?
God calls on us to think about our faith, our Baptismal promises, and to live our lives the way He created us to be. He asks us to pray, fast, and almsgiving as we love and take care of others in need. What does all of this mean? We must take a retreat from our busy world and be with Jesus, following Him and His ways!
Prayer is simply talking with God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirt and sharing our thoughts not only about ourselves, but also other people in our world that we see each day or some we may not even know. It might be a prayer of forgiveness for our bad choices, leading to sin, an asking prayer, or a prayer of thankfulness. The important part is that we are sharing our time with God, remembering that He is always there for us if we but turn to Him.
Do we wake up in the morning thanking God for the gift of a new day? Do we pray each time we are going to eat? Do we pray for others? As a family, do we pray together as we gather at the table for dinner? At the end of the day, do we thank God for all the good of the day and talk to Him about how we could have done a better job at certain times, needing to say an Act of Contrition before falling asleep for any sins we may have commited. And what about Reconciliation? Do we go often enough to talk to God about our sins?
When we are in Church, we pray throughout the Mass with all those who come to Mass, and we can also go to Adoration each Friday from 1:00 to 4:00 PM, a perfect time to pray with Jesus! Can we attend Mass more than on Sunday? A weekday or a Saturday morning? Do we take the time to pray the Stations of the Cross either in Church as a part of a group or on our own? God gives us so many opportunities to pray!
At school, of course, we pray as a family each day at both the beginning and end of the day. We gather once a week in the gym as the family of God and pray all together from PreK-3 through Grade 8, and we also pray with our teachers before we eat or even before lessons. We also attend Mass every Friday and have the opportunity to go each week to Adoration. We also pray the Stations of the Cross in Church each week during Lent.
Most of us fast from favorite foods during Lent, and of course we do not eat meat on Ash Wednesday and all Fridays during Lent, but what about fasting from bad habits, the need to complain or finding fault with others. What about our unhappy faces and unkindness to others? We all need to work on being more positive in what we do in our world, especially when we relate to others. Again, we need to follow in the ways of Jesus!
Can we fast from using too much of the media, such as TV, living on our cell phones, iPads, or computers? Can we turn off our outside world, spending more time in a quiet environment ? Can we spend some time reading the Gospels and try to understand what God is saying to us? Can we be more holy and prayerful people? Let’s simplify our lives so that we grow closer to Jesus!
Do we think about the needs of others? The poor? The lonely? The forgotten?
Those who do not have friends? Do we ever think about the Corporal Works of Mercy? Do we help those in need?
Our Church has given us a clear roadmap to fulfill the Corporal Works of Mercy each week which we bring to Church and place on the Altar which helps us to focus on the needs of others. “Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will repay him indeed.” (Proverbs 19:17)
At Mass, we sing the hymn, “Whatsoever You Do,” which truly tells about all of the Corporal Works of Mercy. When I was hungry you gave me to eat. When I was thirsty, you gave me to drink. Now enter into the home of my Father. Whatsoever you do to the least of my people, that you do unto me.
Let us walk with Jesus this Lent by reaching out to our brothers and sisters in this world who need our helping hands.
May we all make this Lent a meaningful one as we pray, fast, and almsgiving for all those around us, and answer the call to walk with Jesus. Only then will we celebrate with great joy the Resurrection of Jesus at Easter!
May all of you and your families look on the Cross of Jesus and feel His eternal love.
Mrs. Judith Rowinski