Two Weeks To Go

We are about two-thirds of the way through Lent. We use Lent as a time to remind ourselves we are sinners in need of a Savior; a Savior in Jesus Christ has come… and we are not the Savior, but certainly in need of one. It is good to remind ourselves of what Jesus says in the Gospel of Matthew that we hear every year in the Catholic Church on Ash Wednesday. He reminds us what to do when we pray, fast and give alms. I like to remind myself and others: he doesn’t doing these three things when we have time; he doesn’t invite us to consider starting these activities. He simply has the expectation that we pray, we fast and we give alms. Also, he has an expectation we are doing all three of these in our lives; we are not choosing either or, but is calling us to all three as a regular part of our lives.

So, as we are at the two-thirds point of Lent, how has my prayer life become better, more important and maybe added to over the past four weeks? Am I spending more time with the Bible praying over his word (this is a different exercise with the Bible than studying his word.) Do I spend a few minutes each day praying for those in need, what I am thankful for, asking for a heart of gratitude, praising the Lord and telling him what I am sorry I did to offend him (my sins?) Don’t get discouraged by reading this list and seeing what did not happen; the question is, am I more engaged in prayer and have I increased the importance of it? Yes? That’s great; keep going through Lent and keep it up. No? Fear not and don’t be discouraged; stop reading this article right now and pray for a few minutes and go to the Lord in prayer again tomorrow. Do it each day for Lent.

Fasting is a concrete way to keep the Lord first in our lives. When I fast I am using a tangible method to say, nothing else is more important than you, Lord. I don’t necessarily give up soda or sweets or social media because I struggle to not allow those particular items to become more important to me than God; I fast from those as a reminder that nothing is to be more important to me than my relationship with God; not my work, reputation, other relationships, leisure time, health.. nothing is more important. God, help me to keep you first and to surrender to you and rely more on you than my own abilities, skills and talents. You are first; you are most important. Have you fasted and has it been a tool to always keep God first? If so, great, keep going; if not, don’t despair nor give up. Pick something now and fast from it for the next two weeks and ask the Lord to become the Lord of all of your life; ask him to help you place him first.

Do I see everyone around me as my brother or sister in Christ; do I see everyone as a member of the same body of Christ? Am I thankful for what God has given me and believe he is calling me to use what I have for the betterment of others? This is what Jesus means by almsgiving. Through almsgiving, I know the Lord is Savior and I am not, so since he is not calling me to necessarily end some enormous social injustice (although be open to the possibility he is) he is calling me to do my part in contributing to being part of the solution through my gifts of time, talent and/or treasure. How am I giving of myself out of my time, my talent and my treasure? Keep going; if you have not started yet; don’t despair or be embittered. What are you passionate about that you know God wants to see different and He is calling you to step up and make a difference? Do something to make it better for the next two weeks. Sign up for a new ministry at the parish.

We have two weeks. We can still use these three practices of prayer, fasting and almsgiving to remind us Jesus is our Savior who came to free us from sin and give us new life. See you at the Parish Mission this coming week! Blessed Lent!