Pax et Bonum+Peace and All Good
Lent begins again!
This is a beautiful time of year and one that helps us to practice more consciously the devotions of Christian discipleship: Prayer, Fasting, and Almsgiving.
These three Lenten practices are not just for performing during Lent. They are the hallmarks of a disciple’s entire life. What good is it for a person to receive Ashes on Ash Wednesday if he or she does not come to Holy Mass on Sunday? Lent is a time to put extra effort in these devotions so that they become more natural in the rest of our life once Lent is over.
Prayer is not something we have to make room for in our day. Instead we should build our days around our prayer. It is essential, not optional. There can be no relationship if there is no communication.
During Lent, the Church will have special devotions and services to help us deepen our prayer this Holy season. Fasting is not just giving something up. Fasting is letting go! Anyone can give up candy, coffee, or TV and return to all of them after Easter. However, “letting go” of harmful and sinful habits, pleasures, and even people are an essential part of the Christian life.
Lent is the time to practice “letting go” in order that we hold on tighter to God. Almsgiving is charity from the heart. Almsgiving is a sacrifice. However, sacrifices are never without its blessings. As the bible says, God loves a cheerful giver. There is no shortage of ways we can give to the poor and needy during Lent. Your gifts to the parish are essential for its day-to-day operations. Contributions to annual collections of food, clothes, and toiletries go a long way to help the homeless and poor right here in our own neighborhoods and city.
So, Lent has begun once again, but the devotions we practice do not end with Easter Sunday. This is the time to deepen our prayer, let go of what keeps us from God, and cheerfully give ourselves for the good of God’s Kingdom on earth because Lent isn’t just for forty days, Lent is forever. Lent is Life.
Father Charles Ravert serves as pastor of St. Ambrose Parish in Philadelphia.
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