Pastor's Corner

 

FR. MICHAEL says…………..

Welcome (in a few days, at least) to the great season of Lent!

Though it may feel, as one parishioner told me, like we’ve been in Lent since last March - especially since we didn’t get to celebrate Easter together - this season is an amazing opportunity to let God work in our lives.

Every year, we make choices about how we will personally practice Lent: what to give up, what to take on, how to pray, how to spend our time. All these choices should have the goal of helping us put the Lord first in our lives by repenting of our sins. Look at the opening prayer for mass on Ash Wednesday: “Grant, O Lord, that we may begin with holy fasting this campaign of Christian service, so that, as we take up battle against spiritual evils, we may be armed with weapons of self-restraint.”

During Lent, we do battle with our weakness but we never do it alone. I think that is something to focus on this Lent relying on God. At the Last Supper, Jesus told His apostles, “without me you can do nothing.” That is just as true for us. We need the Lord to make us holy, to free us from our sins, and to draw us to Himself.



 

So, let’s not treat Lent like a program of self-improvement or a diet or a personal challenge. While there are aspects of discipline and self-control, what we do should really be about being open to the graces God has for us. The three pillars of lent are fasting, almsgiving, and prayer. The first two are fairly concrete: we know when we’ve given something up or when we’ve given to the poor; but prayer is a slower, quieter process. It requires patience and perseverance. I encourage you to take time over these next couple days to pray about what God is calling you to do this Lent. You may have some ideas, but be open to His plans. His are always better! And then, as Lent starts, don’t worry about perfection. If you stumble in anything that you’ve chosen to do, just start again. Lent is not about using your own willpower to transform yourself - it’s all about God. Let Him do what only He can do.
For some helpful tips and resources, go to the website of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (usccb.org) and click on Lent on the front page.

 STATIONS OF THE CROSS:  Stations of the Cross are prayed every Friday of Lent (except Good Friday) at 7:00pm, at Our Lady of Lourdes Church.  This is a devotion in which I sincerely encourage you to participate.  Parents, please bring your children.  It is never too early for them to learn about the traditions of the Church.  I hope that all of you will participate in this Lenten practice.