How to Last Forever
The homily today contrasts the fleeting aspects of life we put a lot of energy into succeeding at, with our faith which often does not elicit as much effort or discipline from us. In Going Behind the Word, we offer a quick refresher on the meaning of the Season of Lent.
Going Behind the Word
And so another season of Lent has begun. Even though we have been focusing on getting ready for it, it might be a good idea to review what the season is all about. First, the season stands on three pillars, prayer, fasting and almsgiving. Put another way, Lent is about deepening our relationship with God, understanding everything we want is not at all what we need, and recognizing that faith should move our hearts to generosity.
Specifically for today, Ash Wednesday, we focus on receiving ashes on our heads, as a sign of our sinfulness and brokenness. We abstain from eating meat, and we only eat one large meal and two small meals (that do not add up to a regular meal).
These are small signs of what is hopefully a bigger desire to change. We are all broken, we are all impacted by the negative impacts of sin. But God does not leave us unnoticed in our brokenness and sin. Rather, God reaches out to us with love we do not deserve, to give us mercy, which we do not deserve, and to receive forgiveness we do not deserve.
It is for this reason that many choose to make some additional sacrifice, either by giving up something they really, really like, or by taking on something extra for their own good and growth, like, perhaps, attending Mass on days other than Sundays.
As we have mentioned in our Preparing for Lent Novena, Lent is not intended to be an exercise in willpower. Rather, it is designed to discover and act on ways we can become closer to Jesus. That is the point. We are, during the season of Lent, participating in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus.
For if we feel broken, we know that often it is not that we are looking for advice or a solution as much as we are looking to be comforted by the presence of another. In the story of Job, when his friends first encountered him that simply sat with him for seven days in silence.
There are other devotions that can become a part of your Lenten observance. Many parishes have Stations of the Cross, often on Fridays. Some people take extra time to pray the rosary, often focusing on the sorrowful mysteries. It would be appropriate to stop by a Church, or make a visit in the Church for Adoration.
This is also a good time to think about going to Confession. Even if it has been a very long time since you have been, this is the perfect time to reflect on the ways in which God wants you to receive his loving mercy and forgiveness.
You can find podcasts, homilies and more on this website. High School reflections are provided by students at Christian Brothers College High School. The readings of the day can be found on the website of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. In addition to the Confessions of Saint Augustine, the Friar Book Club is reading the Meditations for the Time of Retreat by Saint John Baptist de la Salle. If you have intentions you wish to have prayed for, you can do so on this website.