The season of Lent begins this Wednesday March 1. Lent is a penitential season and the Church has set down particular regulations for fast and abstinence as the bare minimum when it comes to doing penance. However, we are called to do more, not less, so as to experience transformation in our lives and deepen our relationship with the Lord.
The Fridays of Lent are days of abstinence which means that no meat can be eaten. All Catholics from the age of 14 till death are bound by the law of abstinence. Ash Wednesday and Good Friday are days of fast for all Catholics from the age of 18 until the beginning of their 60th year. On days of fast no in-between meal snacks are allowed and people should consume smaller portions of food at mealtimes.
The Season of Lent invites us to spend more time in prayer. I am hoping that all members of the parish will accept the 1% challenge and spend a minimum of 15 minutes per day in prayer. If you are willing to give 1% of your day to the Lord, think of the endless possibilities of what he will do with the other 99%. Remember, our God is a God of surprises who delights in lavishing gifts on his children.
Other than physical fast, I invite you to accept the challenge of the follow ways of fasting that lead to feasting: (Maybe you want to tape this on your bathroom mirror so as to see it each day of Lent).
- FAST from emphasis on differences, FEAST on the unity all life; FAST from words that pollute, FEAST on phrases that purify.
- FAST from discontent, FEAST on gratitude; FAST from anger, FEAST on patience.
- FAST from pessimism, FEAST on optimism; FAST from complaining, FEAST on appreciation.
- FAST from negatives, FEAST on affirmatives; FAST from hostility, FEAST on gentleness.
- FAST from bitterness, FEAST on forgiveness; FAST from self-concern, FEAST on compassion for others.
- FAST from discouragement, FEAST on hope; FAST from lethargy, FEAST on enthusiasm.
- FAST from suspicion, FEAST on truth; FAST from thoughts that weaken, FEAST on promises that inspire.
- FAST from sorrow, FEAST on serenity; FAST from idle gossip, FEAST on purposeful silence.
- FAST from problems that overwhelm, FEAST on prayers that sustain.
The third mainstay of Lent is almsgiving, a sharing of our treasure with those in need. This year we will focus on raising funds to assist our sister parish of St. Peter Claver in Belize with their needs. I invite you to be generous in this, keeping in mind that God will never be outdone in generosity. To reach out and tend to the needs of the poor, is to reach out and tend to the needs of Jesus himself.
May all of us have a powerful experience of the Season of Lent that will find us dying more each day to self so as to rise to new and more abundant life on Easter!
– Fr. Dennis, February 26, 2017