What will you “do” for Lent? That is a thoroughly Catholic question. Although other denominations do follow Lent and it seems to be more and more popular among other denominations, Catholics are well entrenched in the practices of the 40 days of Lent. Lent conjures up images of Stations of the Cross, ashes, the color purple, fish fries, special Lenten songs, and works of prayer, fasting, and charity.
On Ash Wednesday, Catholics throughout the world pray and fast. It is a powerful day as are the 40 days of the Lenten season. It’s an invitation from the Church to walk more closely with Christ on his journey to Jerusalem. It is an invitation from the Church to make a personal commitment to embrace the cross. Ultimately, it is an invitation to enter into the passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus: the Paschal Mystery. When looked at from that point of view, the 40 days of Lent can be life-changing. And any of the “traditional practices” of Lent hopefully lead us to a more profound understanding of sharing in the Paschal mystery.
What are some of the traditional Lenten practices? Well, Lent is a perfect time to experience the mercy of God through the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation. Many of our communities will have Penance services with area clergy. Attend these as a family. Some people try to attend daily Mass. I have a personal tradition of reading one of the passion accounts from the Gospels on Friday. Other practices include Stations of the Cross, fasting from social media and television, and I make time to read a good Catholic book, families can pray the family rosary. Remember the old phrase that I use often: “The family that prays together stays together!” Of course, whatever we “do” is not done to earn our salvation. We cannot earn our salvation. It is a free gift. Jesus saves us through his saving action, the Paschal Mystery. I hope that everyone has a plan of action for the 40 days of Lent.
SALVATION IN CHRIST
I recently read an article about Lent and one of the practices that were encouraged was to “Stop taking the salvation of the world on your shoulders.” The writer went on to say, “Jesus is the Savior of the world. We are just to help those with whom we have influence. And let us not forget, salvation starts with our own souls and family. Every time you get depressed about the Pope, bishops, priests, religious, and laity, get down on your knees and pray about it. Then, give it over to God, Mary, and the saints to take care of it. We are not God.”
It might be nice to invite someone to participate in one of your Lenten activities with you.
God is still in charge of the Church in the world. We are only his humble servants. These are good words to live by!
RCIA PROCESS IS AMPING UP
Lent is also the special time when final preparations are made for the reception of the men, women, and children into the Church during the Easter Vigil: those who will be baptized, receive holy Communion, and confirmation are called Catechumens, until after the Rite of Election, when they are then known as the Elect. Those already baptized, who will make a Profession of Faith to be received into full communion with the Church, receive the Eucharist and confirmation at the Easter Vigil, are known as Candidates. Lent is an especially “special” time for the almost 200 new members who seek to enter the Church in Southern Missouri. They enter into this intense time of preparation and become more visible in our communities through the Rite of Sending and Scrutinies in our parishes and missions. Let us remember them in our prayers and please greet them and welcome them in the local community.
ROSARY FOR PEACE
On a regular basis, I receive letters from people telling me what I should tell the priests or people to do. I often chuckle to myself: they must think I have a lot more influence than I actually do. But, will I encourage people to pray the rosary for peace in our world? Absolutely! Especially in this time of tension with Russia and Ukraine. We need to heed the message of Fatima all the more. I firmly believe in the power of prayer and intercession of Our Lady, so pray the Rosary—pray the rosary as a family. Pray in Adoration; be with our Lord with peace on your mind and in your heart”.
Another letter said I should tell everybody to bow their head at the name of Jesus during the consecration at Mass. I was taught that little practice in second grade at Our Lady of Perpetual Help School in north St. Louis by Sr. Adele Horning, SSND. I learned this along with the tradition of offering the little prayer at the elevation of the host, “My Lord and my God,” and the prayer at the elevation of the chalice, “My Jesus, Mercy.” I’ve been doing that since second grade and have passed that pious tradition on to many second-grade classes that I get to visit in the Diocese. So certainly, I will encourage people to bow their head at the name of Jesus in the consecration.
Have a great Lent!
What will you ‘do’ for Lent?
Lent is a time of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. We, as Catholics, are called to walk through the desert with Christ for 40 days and 40 nights. The season of Lent is one of the holiest times of the year as we experience the sorrow of the crucifixion on Good Friday, and then rejoice in the risen Lord on Easter Sunday.
This Lent, strive to grow in your faith and deepen your relationship with Christ. Here are several Lenten programs that can help guide you through your journey.
The Hallow App Hallow
Hallow is offering a 40-day prayer challenge during Lent. The #Pray40 Challenge will focus on the last seven words Christ spoke from the cross. Led by Jonathan Roumie, the actor who plays Jesus in “The Chosen,” and Jim Caviezel, who played Jesus in “The Passion of the Christ,” each week will offer meditations, prayers, and reflections centered on the last seven words of Christ. This Lent, consider joining the over 55,000 people who have already signed up for the #Pray40 Challenge to dive deeper into what Hallow calls “the greatest homily ever given.”
Ascension Press’ Lenten program focuses on Christ’s passion. Filmed in the Holy Land, “No Greater Love: A Biblical Walk Through Christ’s Passion” takes you through the last moments of Christ’s life. You will walk side-by-side with Jesus from the Garden of Gethsemane to Mount Calvary. Edward Sri guides you through as you gain a deeper understanding of God’s unconditional love for humanity.
Join Good Catholic, a digital content platform, in their online series “A Holy Lent.” Through videos, prompts, prayers, examens, written reflections, practical actions items, Father Joseph Kirby leads the faithful from Ash Wednesday to the Easter Vigil with the hope to fill you with all the graces Lent has to offer.
Join Abiding Together this Lent as they journey through “Restore: A Guided Lent Journal for Prayer and Meditation” by Sister Miriam James Heidland. This guided journal for prayer and meditation will help you encounter God’s mercy and healing. There are four phases of healing that focus on the traditional Lenten practices of prayer, fasting, almsgiving, and sacrifices.
• Sign up for Bishop Robert Barron’s free daily Lenten Gospel reflections sent directly to your inbox.
• Do a Lenten book study from Abiding Together. • Read the “Memento Mori Lenten Devotional” by Sister Theresa Aletheia Nobel.
• Watch a Lenten series on Formed. You can find parish-wide studies, individual studies, studies for the whole family, and studies for kids.
• Download the Amen app for Lenten prayers, meditations, audiobooks and more.