Forget the flowers - Forget the dinner & movie - and dare I say it...Forget the box of chocolates! If you really love someone, this St. Valentine Day why not give them some ASHES?! That’s right...Lent begins this Wednesday and it truly is the day for lovers! Ok, so you don’t have to forget about flowers or dinner/movie or even the chocolates, but don’t let all those things that won’t last take you away from the greatest gift of love...get all “romantical” and lead someone you say you love to Heaven by going to Mass together this February 14th (7:30a, 9:00a Mass with School, 6:30p). Lent is a yearly retreat that the entire Church goes on together. Our Catholic identity comes out most clearly and collectively at this time, as we fast from food on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. Fasting means we eat two small meals, one large meal, and we eat nothing in between meals. Together, we also abstain from eating meat on Fridays. We do this with the mindset that we journey together so we are mindful of the work of sacrificial love. (With those who have become more health conscious and have committed to a vegetarian or vegan diet, this is the opportunity to work on another source of sacrifice in order to find your connection with the action of what the whole Church is doing at this time.) Why give something up? Well, why not. When we do this, it moves us out of “I want.” When we give something up, it helps to internally foster something in our life that reminds us not everyone has their needs, much less their wants, met. Our sacrifice puts us in community and in solidarity with those whose needs are not met. Our sacrifice could motivate us even, to reach outside of ourselves in order to help/serve others. Even liturgically, we give up something. During Mass we give up singing the “Gloria” and the “Alleluia.” We put these acclamations of praise away for this time period so that we can foster more silence and stillness into our lives. This sacrifice may just help us to become more silent/still so that we can truly listen with the heart and be more present to people around us.
Now is the time to start preparing for this season of the greatest Love...so, how are you going to observe it and make it meaningful this year? You can certainly do the “same old, same old” or we could venture out of our comfort zone and do something differently this year. In thanksgiving of our 70th Anniversary, I am asking you to pray about committing to a time of Eucharistic Adoration sometime during Lent. We are increasing our available times just for Lent...EVERY WEEKDAY you can be with the One who IS Love in His Blessed Sacrament. Signup sheets are in the Church narthex by the statue. Stations of the Cross are back on Friday evenings at 7:00 p.m., and so is Lenten Compline/Night Prayer on Sundays at 9-9:15 p.m. Check this bulletin for more ways to love.
Pax, Fr. Bline