Last year's Lent for me, consisted of a number of grand pronouncements, followed by false starts and rationalizations. I did facilitate a prayer group for my parish, but admittedly, that was more to convince myself of the promising parish leader I was becoming. I did not embrace the spirit of fasting and abstinence, was sporadic in my prayer, more sporadic in Mass attendance, did a lot of loafing in front of the computer and TV, and I certainly didn't do anything for the poor.
So...how am I going to be?
I was thinking of trying to be an example this year, the example I'm always touting. If I am not embracing in my life what I profess to believe in, what's the point, really? There's a lot in my life that needs changing; my laziness around the house. My wasting of time on the TV and the Internet. Not engaging in personal prayer unless it is late at night and I'm alone, as if I am embarrassed by it. Not making Sunday Mass an absolute priority. Not spending quality time with my wife and my children. In other words, if I am not living my faith where it counts the most - in my own home, with my own family - what's the point, really? If I am not giving what I receive at Mass with my Church community, with the Franciscans, with the Hibernians, with the Knights, what the heck am I doing, really.
So here's how I am going to be this Lent, with the help of God's grace:
- Be faithful to the standard fasting and abstinence requirements. GO FURTHER...try fasting, not just abstention, each Lenten Friday
- Severely curtail TV and Facebook time. Fill that time with housework, quality time with my family, reading, writing, and prayer
- Join the Lenten Mission at my parish...as a participant instead of a facilitator to keep my considerable ego in check.
- Create a Lenten "sacred space" to use for daily prayer
- Make time for the following: Daily Lauds and Vespers, daily Rosary, at least one Stations of the Cross meditation, and at least one additional Mass per week.
- Attend Holy Triduum services
- Remember the poor in prayer and action.
We need to go beyond the idea of simply "giving something up" for Lent. This penitential season is an invitation to grow in our understanding of God's love for us and our solidarity with the poor, with the rich, and everyone in between. Certainly, giving up something or things that we don't need is a good start. However, if we are not proactive in its stead, if we are not filling that "hole" with something good and worthwhile, we are left with nothing but a hole, ripe for us to grumble about.
Peace & All Good,
Daily Mass Readings