The Lectionary readings from today (Tues., Apr. 16) form an ironic thread weaving itself through
yesterday's images from
Boston. The stoning of Stephen was a
horrifically brutal. His family and friends and the other followers of
"The Way" must have
wondered how could such a cruel act be done in the
name of religion. Where was the God of justice and of mercy in their lives
at that time?
asked questions...about their society, their faith, their religious
leaders, their God. What kind of answer did they receive?
And so we move
to Psalm 31:
Lord, YOU be my rock of refuge,
Lord, YOU be a stronghold to give me safety,
Lord, YOU be my fortress,
For YOUR NAME'S sake, lead me and guide me.
Let your face shine upon your servant,
Save me in your kindness.
(and sensing further and imminent danger)
Hide me in the shelter of your presence
from the plottings of men.
yet the emotions are still raw, the fear all to close and real. Where
do we go with this "'stuff?" What is the plan? What is the
Where is the checklist?
we come to the Gospel and see...there IS NO PLAN! There is nothing that
man (or woman) can do to explain or address
such evil. There is not
plan- there is only a person.
"I am the bread of life."
To which we respond...
"Into your hands, Lord, I commend my spirit."
...and let him do the rest.
Lenten Reflection Series: Live in Hope--Easter is Coming!
Fr. Dwight Longenecker was
brought up in an Evangelical home in Pennsylvania. He graduated from
the fundamentalist Bob
Jones University with a degree in Speech and
English, and then went to study Theology
at Oxford University. He was eventually ordained as an Anglican priest and served as a
curate, a school chaplain in Cambridge, and a country parson on the Isle of Wight.
Realizing that he and the Anglican Church were on divergent paths,
Fr. Dwight and his
family were received into the Catholic Church in
1995. Fr. Longenecker pens a
nationally known blog, “Standing On My Head.”
I was not surprised by the interest in the election of the new Holy
Father. We saw this in the death and funeral Mass of John
Paul II and
the election of Benedict XVI. You might not like the Catholic Church,
but you cannot ignore us. I was struck,
however, by the way the media
was simply “gushing” over the new Pope. Fr. Longenecker also wrote about
surrounding the election of our new Pope Francis and the interest in the Pope’s simplicity and the subject of poverty. He
expressed sentiments which I also share. A brief snippet of his thoughts:
There are vast crowds who profess to
love the Popes and St. Francis’ simplicity of life. Unfortunately, they
have a syrupy idea that the poor are wonderful just because they’re
poor. They have this warm-hearted feeling toward St Francis, who
preached to the birdies and hugged trees and kissed lepers. This
sentimental approach to poverty and ministry to the poor is shallow and
naive. It’s the stuff of St Francis statues in the backyard, a kind of
13th century hippie-flower-child as depicted in the 1960′s movie
“Brother Sun, Sister Moon” in which a beautiful young Francis dances and
tumbles through fields of flowers.
Anyone who works with the poor realizes that this is a very complicated apostolate. People are not noble and good simply because
they are poor. And Franciscans are tough, hard-headed and realistic in
their ministry. The latte-sipping crowd who think the Pope is “just
marvelous” because he doesn’t go in for the limousine or the trappings
of the office will become deaf when the Pope suggests that they follow
his example and personally change their own lives. They’re all quite
happy for the Pope to sell off ALL of the riches of the Catholic Church,
but they’re not about to have a garage sale at their homes.
Philadelphia's Archbishop Chaput also expressed his opinion concerning
the “talking points” expressed in the media during
the conclave. “Words
like ‘liberal’ and ‘conservative’ are hopelessly misleading when we
speak about Catholic belief. There’s
no way of separating love for the
poor from love for an unborn child. Defense of the oppressed and
marginalized and defense
of the family, the nature of marriage and the
unborn child spring from exactly the same Catholic commitment to human
dignity. There is nothing ‘progressive’ about killing an unborn human
child in the womb. And there is nothing redeemably
‘conservative’ about ignoring the cries of the poor.”
Archbishop Chaput has mentioned that he does not prefer to be in a
mode of “maintenance and management” the way he
currently finds himself
in Philadelphia. He would prefer to focus on “mission and ministry” but
for now, that is our situation,
and we have to carry this cross. He has
been bluntly honest candid with priests in Philadelphia who have
sentiment that “they were not ordained for this.” His
explanation: Oh yes you were! You were ordained to preach, to teach and
to govern. This falls under governance. You signed up for this the day
you went face down on the Cathedral floor.
“The Anchoress” Elizabeth Scalia is ALSO getting a little tired of
the hypocrisy, misunderstanding and vincible ignorance
Francis’ “simplicity.” She recently posted her thoughts along the same
lines. Read what she thinks here:
We’re all in for a rough ride and, as baptized Catholics, we signed up for this. But guess what? So did Jesus. Look at
the readings for Palm Sunday:
- Herod had heard about him and had been hoping to see him perform
some sign (and was angry at him when he didn’t do what he wanted him
- Herod questioned him – at length.
- The chief priests and scribes stood by accusing him harshly.
- The soldiers treated him contemptuously and mocked him.
Jesus does not cooperate with the powers that be in order to
accomplish his will. He lets the power of politics play out and the
Father even uses that to accomplish his will (notice the reconciliation
between Herod and Pilot). The situation is not beyond
events are not beyond hope. People in power are not beyond redemption “Father forgive them for they know not
what they do.”
2 Closing Points:
Simon of Cyrene might have though that he was at the wrong place – at
the wrong time. You might feel the same way when, in
fact, you might be
at the RIGHT place at the RIGHT time. Simon’s two sons (Rufes and Alexander) are also mentioned by
name in the Scriptures
– specific information which is highly unusual in the Bible unless the
scripture writer had a specific
purpose for providing such details. Is
it possible that Simon (and his “relationship” with Jesus and later the
made such an impression on the boys that they, too,
become such prominent disciples that the Scripture writer felt it was
important to mention them by name?
Mary witnessed two great miracles: at the wedding Feast of Cana and
at the Cross. “Stabat mater,” she refused to cower,
bend, kneel or be
crushed by circumstances. With almost defiant faith and confidence in
her son, she STOOD as if to say, “I
am simply going to just stand here
and wait and believe let YOU save the situation.” Does she not personify her uncle
Zechariah who said, “In the tender compassion of our God the dawn from on high
shall break upon us, to shine on those who
dwell in darkness and the
shadow of death, and to guide our feet into the way of peace”?
Stand tall! Believe. Live in hope. Easter is coming.
Lenten Reflection Series: Part 4
Concerning this Gospel, there is perhaps a temptation to say, “Yeah,
I’ve heard it all before. It’s a long Gospel.” We might tend
shoot it down and tune it out right when he starts reading.
And yet the Scriptures say, “They ate of the produce of the land in
the form of unleavened cakes and parched grain,” (Joshua)
and “Today I
have removed the reproach of Egypt from you.” (II Corinthians) Do these
readings not indicate that the old things
have passed away; behold, new
things have come, and that, and all this is from God? Is it possible
that we are being
challenged in this “Year of Faith” to look at all
things with new eyes – even old, familiar Scripture passages?
In a recent Gospel reflection group which I attend, EVERYBODY had
horror stories of
people who had hurt them. One man spoke about his mean
brother and how he
watched him mistreat or ignore their sick parents.
Another told the story about his
daughter who was married to a wonderful
man, husband, and father. She was a wife
and mother who decided to
simply leave the home to “find herself” and was
squandering her life
away with dissipate living. There was a story of a son and a dad who
died before they were reconciled,
and men who had been hurt at work. A
brother was angry with his needy siblings who were “squandering mom’s
money because their lives are messed up and mom is “enabling”
their behavior and lifestyle.
One guy shared his difficulty with forgiveness: “I do anger with the
best of them. Not even FedEx can do ‘postal’ like I do.” But
shared an insight that there is a connection between “spiritual growth”
and “spiritual readiness;” between
“forgiveness” (our human act of the
will) and “reconciliation” (God’s grace when all of the emotion has been
Forgiveness is a sign of spiritual readiness, and it isn’t
instantaneous. God has to till the soil of your heart first and plant
seed and water and fertilize the ground before it bears the fruit of
There is no time limit. God can take his time, letting me go through
spiritual growth until he gets me to where I need to be
spiritual readiness. Meanwhile, He will place certain people in my
pathway and put me in certain situations to
move me along. One man
shared a story about a nun he knew. He was sharing with her about a
situation he was facing at
work. The Sister told him: “Look, go to
Adoration, write a letter to Jesus and say, ‘This is how I feel, this is
why I feel that way.’”
In prayer Jesus said to him “Yeah, I felt the
same way 2,000 years ago! Look, offer it to me, give me the burden.
Forgive – then
walk away from it. There are SO many factors about this
situation that you’re not aware of. There are SO many factors about
situation that are not in your control. Give me the burden. Forgive
then walk away from it.”
Forgiveness is something you can’t give until its been given to you;
can’t do it until you’ve experienced it. Read the first line of
Gospel, “Tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to listen to
Jesus.” They’d experienced it. (Like the father earlier
in his life
perhaps?) We read further…“But the Pharisees and scribes began to
complain.” They didn’t know what it felt like
(similar to the older
brother – maybe?).
We don’t want to be the older brother, or like the guy in Matthew’s Gospel (18:28-30) who owes the $50 million.
“Later, that same servant found another
servant that owed him a few dollars’ worth of silver. The servant
grabbed the other servant around the neck and said, ‘Pay me the money
you owe me!’ The other servant fell on his knees and begged him, ‘Be
patient with me. I will pay you everything I owe.’ But the first servant
refused to be patient and the other servant was thrown into prison.”
The master turned the tables on the ungrateful servant. God will turn
the tables on us, too. One guy shared a story about how
he came home
from work one day in a really grumpy mood, not dealing with his stuff in
a healthy way, but taking it out on his
wife and kids, which they
didn’t deserve. He was putting his little girl to bed that night and she
says, “Daddy, I’m sorry if I did
something to make you unhappy today.”
Richard Rohr is a Franciscan friar, an internationally-known
inspirational speaker, and has published numerous recorded
books. He asks the question “What do you do with your stuff now?” and
says “If you don’t transcend it, you will
transmit it.” And – you can’t
do this. No retreat, no therapy, no self-help book can do this. It can
help. Grace builds on nature.
God works through the hands of the
physician but ultimately – only the Lord can do this.
And this brings us to the most important point. It’s not about us, or
our sin. It’s about God and HIS forgiveness. You can’t do
you’ve experienced God’s love and forgiveness. Only those who have been
transformed can transform others. In
“12 Step Programs,” step 6 is to
“Ask God to remove ALL of your defects.” In our Gospel reflection group,
we do this by saying
the “Litany of Humility” each week. But more
importantly, ask God to pour out the grace upon you so that you can
– and experience – what His love really feels like …so
that you, and I, can give this to others.
Lenten Reflection Series: Part 3
The Scripture readings for the Third Sunday of Lent speak to us of
hope. Hope can be looked at from varied points of view
from which we
will examine three with an emphasis on the writings of Pope Emeritus
Benedict XVI and his encyclical on
HOPE AS COMMUNITY
Hope is an an encounter with the modern world. But Christian hope is
not a private
event, not something isolated to the individual.
When parents bring a child for Baptism, they don’t just do it for
social reasons, as an
empty ritual, to get gifts for the child or as an
occasion to have a party. Parents expect more: “They expect that faith,
includes the physical nature of the Church and her sacraments,
will give life to their child—eternal life. Faith is therefore, the
substance of hope.” They live, have and experience a faith, and hope,
that the child, like the fig tree, will bear fruit.
But this is not done alone nor is it something that simply involves
the parents and the child. On a spiritual/liturgical level, the
is celebrated within the context of a faith community. And even on a
human level, it is celebrated within the context of
a community family
and friends. These are the people in whom the parents have faith and
hope that they will assist in the
raising of the child.
Benedict XVI observes That “Hope is not merely a matter of getting
somewhere else. Christian hope is not the same as the
progress of scientific hope, which is a lesser, albeit good hope.
Christian hope, rather, is always about a life that
transfiguration, redemption, an entirely, whole new situation.
HOPE AS CHEMISTRY
1. One definition of “alchemy” is a medieval chemical science and
speculative philosophy aiming to achieve the transmutation
of the base
metals into gold, the discovery of a universal cure for disease, and the
discovery of a means of indefinitely
2. Another definition is a power or process of transforming something common into something special.
Hope is not just standing in the darkness wishing that the situation
will become better. Christian Hope is when we begin to
stand in the
dark, looking out into the light.
Hope also involves a decision about what you’re going to do with
yourself – and with the current situation. Richard Rohr is a
friar, an internationally known inspirational speaker and has published
numerous recorded talks and books. He
asks the question about “What you
will do with your pain now?” “If you don’t transcend it, you will
transmit it.” And so there is
an alchemy in sorrow. Like a bush that is
burning but not consumed, it can be transformed into wisdom which can
yet bring a
calm peace, contentment, happiness and perhaps even joy. But
this only occurs with people who are willing to pay the price.
those who have been transformed can transform others.
HOPE AS TRINITY
What’s the tie in between a fallen tower and a fig tree? Do we not
sometimes feel like those who were crushed by the fallen
Siloam? Yet God never gives up on us. He will not let us get cut down.
He provides us what we need at a particular
time in a particular
situation. In some cases he provides fertilizer – personalized
nourishment of kind words, of shared meals,
of cups of coffee, of
conversations of hope, counsel, Confession, prayer.
In some cases he allows us to be cultivated – to break up and
breakaway those things that are not providing nourishment in
whether they are physical items or relationships or habits that we have
developed. In some cases it involves
education, new skills, new
insights, preparing us for a task that he has called us to fulfill in
“Leave it for THIS year” say the gardener. In God’s eyes, its ALWAYS
“this year.” We never get to the point where the tree will
be cut down.
Lenten Reflection Series: Part 2
I received an email from a former student of mine. They were lamenting on life and Lent:
“I was at the shore over the weekend and I’m still playing catch up on everything.
I have not yet come up with a Lenten sacrifice. First I was going
to stop any “no mindless web surfing– only go
on the internet if I
specifically needed to, like for work, or to pay your bills, etc, and
then get away from it.” That
hasn’t been working out so well.
Then I was going to give up soda but I’m already kind of been
doing that since last year because I’m on
Weight Watchers. For two
consecutive Lents, I tried to give up coffee. I think we can all agree
(and the state of
Pennsylvania office for misdemeanor will back me up)
that was a mistake that should not be repeated, and
that God, all of his
children and the citizens of the Commonwealth, especially those who
travel on roads and
interstates, REALLY want me to have that sweet,
delicious, life-affirming beverage.
I cannot give up swearing for Lent AND continue riding SEPTA to work every day. The two are just mutually
I don’t drink much. I don’t smoke at all. I haven’t been dating
because I’m going to just die alone anyway – as
a spinster – surrounded
by cats and my Amazon purchases. I WANT to give up going to work but
tells me I haven’t thought that plan through.
I am the worst Catholic ever.”
I wrote to them and actually said that I felt there were the BEST
Catholic ever. Engaging Lent is hard; it is not for
the faint of heart.
Engaging ourselves, our weaknesses, our shortcomings, deciding to
something to improve ourselves & then actually doing something is a
many find difficult (thus they don’t do it).
During Lent, many people go on retreats. Even in the midst of the
challenges of Lent,
retreats can be spiritually, emotionally, and
physically like “going to the mountaintop.”
When we encounter a
positive retreat experience, we want to “build a tent there,” – we want
to stay – much like Peter, James,
and John in the Gospel of the Second
Sunday of Lent.
And yet, if you read further in today’s Gospel (from Luke 9:28-36),
after all four men come down the mountain, they run into a
man whose son
is possessed by a demon and who asks Jesus to deliver his son.
Isn’t this just like the retreat experience? We can’t stay on the
mountain – we need to go back, and often when we do – Just
like Jesus in
the Gospel – the FIRST thing we have to do once we return, is deal with
“people who are possessed” (like
family, people we encounter on the
highways or people at work, for example). We immediately have to deal
with Lent or – as
in the case of my friend – Lent immediately begins to
deal with us.
Lent is a time when the Lord can do something profound in your life;
He can bring you up to the mountaintop. But the
mountaintop does not
always afford us wide vistas and clear views. Sometimes there are thick
clouds at the mountaintop,
where the sight-lines are limited. Even in
the midst of the mountaintop experience, we might not always see things
seems unreal; it seems like we’re in the midst of a trance,
a cloud where everything seems unclear and uncertain.
But we’re not alone. At this year’s “Man Up Philly” conference (March
2, 2013 at Archbishop Ryan High School and, yes, that is
plug), the theme is “Strengthen One Another.” Notice who was on the
mountain top? Peter. AND James. AND
John. All later experienced the
Passion of Christ and Jesus after the Resurrection.
It’s been a tough decade in the Catholic Church. But there also seems
to be a sense of urgency. Its not a sense of gloom and
doom, it’s a
sense of “boom!” There’s a sense that something good is happening.
There’s a sense that the Lord seems to
be gathering the troops,
providing courage and persistence. It’s about showing up, and staying
around, and sticking with it.
How should we react as follows of Christ? “Remember this…Jesus says,
“ I am – who I say I am. It’s going to get ugly but
you are ‘my beloved
son. You are my beloved daughter – in whom I am well pleased!’ I need
you to be strong, I need you to
What’s been the latest transfiguration in YOUR life? Where did you
get a real clear signal from the Lord, in a moment of clarity
knew where you were supposed to go? Perhaps it was on a retreat at a
place like Malvern – where God showed
his cards and said, ” regardless
of the hard times, you are my beloved son, you are my beloved daughter –
in whom I am well
Lenten Reflection Series: Part 1
I meet with a men’s gospel reflection group every Friday at 7:30.
Besides the wonderful fellowship, they offer keen, in the world,
into the coming Sunday’s scripture readings. For the next
I’ll offer their insights as possible reflection points
during this Lenten
season. The thoughts will sometimes be random, simple
drawn from the Woedcas it intersects with the human
experiences of the
men in the reflection group.
The first thing you have to notice about the Gospel reading for the
First Sunday of Lent is “The audacity of the
devil.” I mean, here’s
Jesus Christ! And Satan STILL comes after the second person of the
trinity, and thinks
that he has a chance, that he might even succeed.
•Quotes Scripture, and Jesus is scripture to fight him. Having a few
Scripture quotes memorized place
spiritual arrows in your quiver.
Brothers and sisters: what does Scripture say? “The word is near you, in
mouth and in your heart. for, if you confess with your mouth that
Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that
God raised him from the
dead, you will be saved.”
•Tells blatant lies (The devil said to him, “I shall give to you all
this power and their glory; for it has been
handed over to me, and I may
give it to whomever I wish.”) NOT true and we need to call out the
others, who are not speaking the truth and pointing to those
who are speaking the truth.
The struggle of Lent, temptation and the consciousness of fighting
with yourself—even in the midst of the
struggle, you’re focusing on
Christ. So the battle is in some respects, already won. Not so much
something but doing something (or NOT doing something) out
of love for the other person.
Luke 11:21-22 When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own palace,
his goods are safe; but when one
stronger than he attacks him and
overcomes him, he takes away his armor in which he trusted and divides
Matthew 12:29 How can anyone enter a strong man’s house and steal his
property, unless he first ties up
the strong man? Then he can plunder
his house. In the “Litany of Humility,” we pray, “Lord Jesus FREE ME.” I
can’t do this alone, I need The Lord. Without you, Lord, the yoke is
too heavy to carry.
And remember, it’s not about you; it’s about Christ, a
transformational time walking WITH CHRIST, being in
the wilderness WITH
CHRIST, being simply in the world WITH CHRIST. He send them away two by
are never to be alone. WE, (not just I) are going to do this
Lenten Reflection 2/13/13
I received the following musings on Lent from Father Martin Connor, L.C. When I was working with Catholic
Leadership Institute on their "Good Leaders – Good Shepherds" program, We discussed how effective
people use “S.M.A.R.T. Goals” or something similar to help ensure success in their endeavors.
S – Specific
M – Measurable
A – Achievable
R – Relevant (to the overall goals of the person/organization)
T – Time bound (does it have a completion date attached)
This is very much in keeping with the tradition of Catholic traditions. St. Ignatius wrote the “Spiritual
Exercises.” Francis De Sales penned the “Introduction to the Devout Life.” The Benedictines read a portion
of the “Rule of Benedict” every day at lunch thus ensuring that they have worked through the Rule within the
course of one year.
What Father Connor says is thought provoking, concrete, biblically based and action-oriented. His idea to
“purify the negative – maximize the positive” also ties in nicely with our theme this year of “changing water into
wine.” Want to know what to do for Lent? He provides some ideas:
In less than one week we will begin the penitential season of Lent. It is the season the Church offers us every
year to seek a deeper conversion: purify the negative; maximize the positive—all in the hopes of attaining “the
full stature of Christ”. True penance can never go without ascetical practice, including physical. The whole
person, body and soul, must actively take part in this religious act by which a creature acknowledges the
holiness and majesty of God.
Like last year I would like to propose to you to be the spiritual leaders that you are called to be-- in your home
and work circles-- during this season of conversion. I invite all of us men and even challenge you to begin this
season of Lent well–asking for that grace of desire—for a deeper hope and trust in Almighty God during these
very unique times we are living in.
I open my suggestions to you with this quote from a new book from George Weigel Evangelical Catholicism:
Deep Reform in the 21st-Century Church:
"The Evangelical Catholicism of the future is a Catholicism of radical conversion, deep fidelity, joyful
discipleship, and courageous evangelism. Evangelical Catholics put friendship with the Lord Jesus at the
center of everything: personal identity, relationships, activity. Evangelical Catholics strive for fidelity despite the
wounds of sin, and do so through a daily encounter with the Word of God in the Bible and a regular embrace
of Christ through a frequent reception of the sacraments. Evangelical Catholics experience dry seasons and
dark nights, like everyone else; but they live through those experiences by finding their meaning in a deeper
conformity to the Cross of Christ—on the far side of which is the unmatchable joy of Easter, the experience of
which gives the people of the Church the courage to be Catholic.....Evangelical Catholics enter mission
territory every day, leading lives of integrity and charity that invite from others the question, “How can you
live this way?” That question, in turn, allows the evangelical Catholic to fulfill the Great Commission by offering
others the Gospel and the possibility of friendship with Jesus Christ."
May I suggest that you also offer your prayer and sacrifices during this holy season for:
- Your personal conversion: something worth more to God than any of the empty promises and excuses that tend to be on our lips
- Faith-filled leadership in your family and home, be the initiator (not your wife) of more spiritual activity for the family
- Holiness, wisdom and courage for our Church leaders
In a spirit of brotherhood and communion, I challenge all of you to choose two (or more) from each of the
three traditional Lenten categories below and stay faithful to it for the whole 6 weeks of Lent. As a way of
promoting accountability, I strongly suggest that the team leaders use this as their commitment review in your
weekly Encounter with Christ during Lent.
1.) No looking at your phones until your morning prayers are over.
2.) Begin your day on your knees with prayer and end on your knees with prayer (with your wife and family if
3.) One full rosary per week and one decade every day with your family and you as leader of the family pray it
on your knees.
4.) Read Benedict XVI’s Lenten letter and meditate on it. Send it to a friend. (attached)
5.) Never forget any of your prayer times during Lent, and to pray for the grace of desire: the desire for the
holiness of life that God wants for you.
6.) The faithful praying of the Way of the Cross each Friday of Lent (and if possible with your whole family). At
home or at Church.
7.) Preparation of the Sunday liturgy by doing a “pre-reading” and reflection of the Sunday mass reading with
the whole family.
8.) Weekly holy hour in reparation for your personal sins and sins of the world (if you’re already doing one,
prayerfully consider another).
“Besides the ordinary effect of fasting in raising the mind, subduing the flesh, confirming goodness, and
obtaining a heavenly reward, it is also a great matter to be able to control greediness, and to keep the
sensual appetites and the whole body subject to the law of the Spirit; and although we may be able to do but
little, the enemy nevertheless stands more in awe of those who he knows can fast.” — St. Francis de Sales
- Allow yourself NO TEXTING when at the table with your family and most definitely when you are alone with your wife after work hours.
- Turn off (TV, phone , computer, music) when you get home from work AND LEAVE IT OFF FOR THE NIGHT at least once a week IF NOT MORE.
- Put your work phone in a closet/drawer when you come home on Friday night and do not look at it until Monday morning.
- NO TV FOR THE WHOLE OF LENT. Such time will be used in trying to do more family related activities if possible.
- Turning off phone and television when with the family at all meal times.
- Scale back the meals outside of the home per week. Commit to more family meals together no matter how hectic the schedule is!
- Fast and abstain on all Fridays of Lent (like they were all Good Friday’s), fasting from one whole meal and consider abstaining from alcohol during lent.
- Fast from the excuses: a) not going to your weekly Encounter meeting, monthly evening of reflection, not asking for spiritual direction/guidance. Make it happen this Lent!
- Replace your “chill” moments with the offering of yourself to help your wife/family with something at home. Let her choose. (emptying the dish washer, folding laundry, bathing the kids....)
1.) No unnecessary work on Sunday: Spend it in family (games, prayer, study...). Start to say NO to things that
are unacceptable to Sunday rest.
2.) Real Tithing: Instead of saying “I think I know how much I give to God....”, commit to doing the numbers
and find out what the reality is. If it is short of the 10% then increase it by 2%. (As Mother Teresa said, “give
until it hurts and then give some more”.) Let God bless your trust in Him (Luke 6, 38).
3.) Commit to some practical alms giving (Commit to going on mission during Holy Week, go to parish
mission and participate, serve at some soup kitchen, etc...)
4.) Abstain from eating out during Lent and take the $ of all the meals that you would have outside the home
and give it to your parish community or to Catholic organization of your choosing.
The Gospel says “The Apostles gathered together with Jesus and reported all they had done and taught. He
said to them: Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while” (Mk 6, 30). I believe these
suggestions will help all of us put these words of scripture into good practice this Lent. Be sure of my prayers
Fr Martin Connor LC