How often do we ask someone or are asked, “What are you giving up for Lent?” We get tuned to the long tradition of giving up chocolates, potato chips, alcohol – you name it. Every time that desire pops into our head we must fight it, repress it and avoid it because we have "given it up" for Lent. It’s a constant battle to resist the temptations. We remind ourselves that we are a sinner and how many more times those moments must be experienced to even come close to understanding suffering.
That seems to be what most think Lent is about, not forgetting and re-remembering ever year the why, the what, how and who of the cross. It is about reconnecting with the dynamic of not deserving something, and yet, receiving the best gift of all time – the promise of the Resurrection.
While the giving up is good for spiritual discipline and grounding, there also is a way to connect to Christ gift of life by doing something for Lent – adding something.
Pope Francis regularly reminds us that we are to be followers of Christ who engage the world. In other words, do Christianity! As followers of Christ we go out into the world and make a difference. We may “give up” indifference and “do” by tending to the needs of the poor and marginalized. Maybe a charitable act each day? Maybe a prayer for the poor and marginalized? Maybe a daily Mass or volunteer an hour someplace?
Around here there is much to be done to bring Christ. Pray and discern how you – and I –can be closer followers of Christ. Each of us doing that will make all the difference in the world.
By the way, you likely notice we are delaying House of Charity this year. The House of Charity Committee requested the diocese allow us to return to the summer collection. We have a large goal and everyone is needed to make it successful. Our efforts will begin in April and the main drive will take place just before Memorial Day. Please pray about your pledge, and if possible, consider an increase. The average pledge of a parishioner around the diocese is about $340. I plan to make my pledge this week!
God bless, and may this Lent truly bring a deeper conversion for all of us!
Fr. Michael Field