Each year, God calls us to deepen our relationship with Him during the season of Lent. Over 40 days of "spiritual spring cleaning", we examine our lives as Catholic Christians. Through fasting, prayer, and almsgiving, we strip away the external temptations and distractions to refocus on God in gratitude.
Enrich your Lenten experience!
Sign up for daily reflections with Rediscovering Catholicism author,
Matthew Kelly (below).
Attend the Lenten Bible Study (below).
Feast on a new "Meatless Recipe" for meatless Fridays (at left).
Consider almsgiving in a NEW way. (below)
Fasting is more than giving up something sweet to lose weight! Most often we give up foods like chocolate or coffee, but spiritual fasting asks us to give up something that is in the way of our relationship with God. Fasting from alcohol, cigarrettes, pornography, or gossipping - these are more serious addictions that cause distance between us, our loved ones, and our God. The same could be said for those who overfocus on working, a.k.a. "workaholics", or maybe those of us who cannot put down the cell phone at the dinner table!
This Lent, think about giving up the things that steal your time, sap your energy, make you crazy, rob your peace, or hurt your spirit. Often, these are the areas in your life that keep you from feeling God's presence. By giving up or limiting one thing and opening your heart, you will find God waiting for you.
If your prayer life needs a tune up, be patient with yourself. When you learned to read, you began with the basic alphabet and learned to form words, phrases, sentences. With regular practice, you soon realized that you could read books!
Prayer is communicating with God. You can cry, yell, wonder out loud, plead, and speak aloud your concerns or worries. But, sometimes, it is hard to find the words to express our emotions.
At these times, reciting formal prayers like the "Our Father", the "Hail Mary", or praying the rosary can help calm our busy minds and find our own words. Often, reading Scripture passages - especially the Psalms - can help us express our innermost thoughts.
If you are on the run, listen to a podcast or Catholic app while working, driving, jogging, walking or biking. Free Apps like Laudate or Catholic One include podcasts of the daily readings and simple meditations. Our parish has offered free daily reflection booklets for Lent called, "Let Jesus Lead the Way", which include daily scriptures and reflections to help with your prayer life.
If you find yourself struggling with prayer, contact the parish office. Make an appointment with one of our priests for spiritual direction. They are very willing to help you!
Almsgiving is giving funds to care for the poor and marginalized. Almsgiving is a natural outpouring of spiritual fasting because the money we save from fasting is what we then give to God for the benefit of our brothers and sisters. Redirecting the money formerly spent on frappachinos, super-sized meals, alcohol, cigarrettes, gossip rags, porn magazines, cell phone minutes or data charges, music downloads, excessive shopping, etc, for the benefit of others - that's the heart of almsgiving.
Where do you give alms? This is up to you. We offer these parish options for your consideration: