February 19, 2017 - The 7th Sunday in Ordinary Time
It’s never too early to start thinking and preparing for the Lenten season. Here are a couple of articles I thought might be of interest to you.
WHY DOES LENT SEEM SO NEGATIVE?
Starting with the somber symbol of ashes, Lent indeed has its negative side, in part because Lenten discipline aims to make us aware of our own weakness and sin and need for conversion and renewal. We won’t seek a doctor if we don’t know we’re sick. We won’t seek help unless we realize how much we need help. But the purpose of Lenten discipline isn’t negative. “Self-denial is necessary,” said St. Augustine, because unless we can give up what is good, many of us cannot avoid committing evil when tempted. Self-denial helps us empty ourselves so that we can be filled with God, helps us hunger and thirst for the food and drink our souls need. We freely give up good for the promise of something better. We should not undertake Lenten disciplines as if by themselves they heal us, make us holy or earn God’s favor. Rather, their purpose is to open our hearts so that the Holy Spirit can work in us.
BASIC LENTEN DISCIPLINES
FASTING: Expresses our desire to find happiness in God rather than in the satisfaction of our physical needs. The control we gain over our appetites helps us recognize more deeply that all true and lasting pleasure comes from God. Knowing this, we are freed to gratefully accept food and savor it, or to avoid or limit foods that we know are unhealthy for us. Through fasting, our relationship to ourselves is reoriented toward God.
ALMSGIVING: Provides assistance to the poor among us and helps us recognize God as the true source of our security. Property and wealth exercise less control over us when we give away or share our wealth out of love for God and for others. Almsgiving is a way of bringing our relationship to others into the orbit of Christ’s love.
PRAYER: Changes our relationship to God. Through prayer, we admit our need for a power that is greater than ourselves. We acknowledge our limitations and let go of the drive to control everything. In the process, we open ourselves to all that God has to offer us.
God’s Blessings, Fr. Dave
P.S. Lent begins March 1st