Let's Prepare to Prepare!
Ash Wednesday is approaching quickly (next week - March 6th!)
Here is an excerpt of a homily given by Friar Nick Wolfla with some ideas on how we might decide on Lenten sacrifices that move beyond giving "something up" and instead try something new.
• Read through one or two of the Gospels, pray with it and discuss it as a family. What does it mean, what does God want out of us because of it?
• Come to bible study somewhere to expand your faith. (Mondays at the Mount are open to everyone. There are two sessions - 10:30 to 11:30am and 7:00 to 8:00pm. For more information visit mountsaintfrancis.org)
• Find someplace to volunteer to help people and don’t stop after lent.
• Ask someone of faith to recommend a good spiritual book to read. Read it slowly, take it in, and pray with it.
• Really examine your life. Take time to face those demons that we carry around, those things we are afraid to admit sometimes even to ourselves. Then go to the sacrament of reconciliation.
• Fast from hurting words and say kind words.
• Fast from pessimism. Be prayerful and hopeful in the Spirit.
• Fast from worries. Trust in God. You can’t trust in God unless you have a relationship with him, PRAY!
• Fast from complaints. Contemplate simplicity. Realize what you have - family, health, job, healthcare, sanity, friends, and many other gifts from God. Thank God for these gifts and don't complain about what you don’t have.
• Fast from pressures. Pray and be peaceful. Turn to prayer to settle the mind and soul. Even Jesus took time out when things got too busy to pray to his Father. If it is good enough for God, it's good enough for us.
• Fast from bitterness and fill your hearts with joy. Holding grudges, not forgiving others, believing that someone doesn’t deserve something because we don’t believe they worked for it hurts us, not them. Find the compassion in our hearts to move forward and eliminate anger in our lives.
• Fast from selfishness and be compassionate to others. Sometimes we slap the hand in need because we believe they don’t deserve what we have. We should always stretch out our hands to give to those who need to receive. It’s not ours to judge if they deserve it. There but for the grace of God go I. We need to grow in compassion in this world more than anything.
• Fast from grudges and be reconciled. Forgiveness relieves the soul and not only frees the other person, but frees us in the process. Release both the person and ourselves from the chains of hate or “holding a grudge.”
• Fast from words so we can listen. How can we understand each other if we don’t listen. We often hear to respond, not listen to the heart and needs of others. Open our ears so we can open our hearts. This is how we come through the darkness into the light.