My Dear Parish Family,
Life-giving activities are from the Spirit of God. What are my life-giving activities? What are those things that make me the person God intended me to be? In today’s gospel from Mark, Jesus was in the company of adversaries and angels. It occurs to me that we have to have both. We cannot have a choice of one. If there is only one thing before us, we don’t choose one or the … same one; there is no choice there. Everyday all of us are surrounded by adversaries and angels, bad and good, and we do choose, sometimes
consciously, sometimes not.
Life has become so busy, so full, even in “down” time we are missing ourselves, and maybe even others close to us, in the daily buzz. In thinking about Lenten practices 2018, what to give up … what to add … Let’s search for what will help us keep Jesus at the center of our life.
Enter Lent … another genius of the Church. Somehow, those early church leaders knew we all would need an annual retreat. They knew it would take about 40 days. They knew we would need to hear, again, the stories of Jesus’ own struggles and encounters with human beings just like us.
Lent is a time for spring-cleaning, for getting our house in order, for inspection. Clear out the clutter – remove distractions. Clean the house – fast from dirt and disorderliness. Purge duplicates – give to people who need the things we store in our cupboards and closets. Make room for sacred space, prayer, time and space for relationship with Jesus and the people in our lives. Give something up as a spiritual practice of self-discipline, a small suffering aligned with Jesus’ incredible suffering. Care for the poor, especially the cold and the hungry.
Lent is a time to clean up our house, the one we live in and the one inside of us, the dwelling place. A suggestion: Write down all your daily activities. Discern those that are responsibilities and do your best with them. Discern those activities that do not give life and discontinue or severely curtail them, get help if needed, and finally, identify and embrace those activities that do give you life. Unleash what God had in mind for you. Embrace the angels.
What adversaries will we defeat? Let’s go for a 40-day cleanse and revisit Fr. Patrick's suggestions to fast (choose 1 or more) from: worry, judging others and negativity, pessimism and complaining, anger about things and hostility towards people, anxiety and bitterness, self-righteousness and grudges, greed and deceit, envy and arrogance.
Parish Life Minister