Lenten Essentials

Dear Friends,

Our Lenten journey to Easter has begun. Having received the ashes, a sign of our need to repent, we cling to the Cross of Jesus Christ by which we are redeemed, forgiven, healed and set free. While the length of this holy season may seem daunting, I suggest that we break it down into more manageable segments. Perhaps we take a different focus for each of the weeks of Lent, engaging in different aspects of fasting, abstinence, almsgiving.

There is a plethora of aids both digital and in print that can help us on this journey. Whichever one appeals to us is the one we should engage. They can offer an insight, a meditation, a thought for the day that inspires and even help transform us.

But we also should engage in active change ~ perhaps each week think about taking on a different fast or abstinence for that particular week. (You could even choose something different for each day, if you are so inclined.) It might be giving up chocolate, of course, but perhaps one week try no internet, or no television, or no Facebook, or no radio in the car, or no gaming, or no sweetener in the morning coffee, or something else. The list could be endless. Such sacrifices engage us more intentionally and help us to focus on what Lent is all about. Changing it from week to week keeps it interesting and thought provoking. Such efforts get us out of our ordinary patterns of life, and can help us strengthen our relationship with the dear Lord because our minds are lifted up towards Him.

At the same time, do not overlook the essentials, the opportunities to come to daily Mass, at least occasionally, and to go to confession regularly in preparation for the celebration of Easter. Our Adoration Chapel is also a valuable place to grow closer to our Lord who has made Himself a prisoner of love for our sakes.

Whatever, we undertake and whatever we engage in during this Lenten climb to Easter, let us do so in the joy of the Risen Lord who loves us beyond all human imagination and who leads us to His Father’s throne of Mercy and healing.

One final thought, during this holy season, why not spend some time pondering Jesus upon the Cross. Be sure you have a crucifix in a prominent place in your home. And perhaps keep a beautiful picture of Jesus on the Cross, near your favorite chair, on the refrigerator, or on your nightstand and reflect on it with love.

God bless you, God love you,

Monsignor McCulken

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