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Thoughts About Lent

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Key Scripture for Lent- Genesis 2:7-9; 3:1-7 & Psalm 51 & Romans 5:12-19 & Matthew 4:1-11

Each one of us has been given a path to follow in our life; one that only is known to God. This Lent allow God to lead you in the direction God has planned for you.

This Lent our special theme at Sacred Heart Academy is Let God Be Your Guiding Compass!  Each one of us has been given a path to follow in our life; one that only is known to God.  With God’s Word as our map and God’s Holy Spirit as our compass, we’re sure to stay on course.  This Lent, let us allow God to lead us in the direction God has planned for each of us from before time began.

Each of us had the opportunity to make a written “Covenant with God of Lenten Prayer, Fasting and Almsgiving.”  Those papers are displayed in our small school chapel as a reminder for us.  Ask yourself prayerfully every day, ‘How am I doing with my covenant or sacred promise to God of transforming into God’s loving design for my life?’  Let your compass charm that you received remind you each day of Lent of your efforts to keep your Covenant and to allow God to direct you, like a compass, towards truly becoming a person in whom and through whom God’s Son, Jesus, is fully alive in loving Prayer, Fasting and Almsgiving/Service.

On Ash Wednesday, we were signed with ashes, in the form of a cross, and given one of two exhortations:  “Remember, that you are dust and to dust you shall return.” is a sober reminder of who and what we are and where all physical and material life is going or “Repent, and believe in the Gospel!” (My personal preference) which focuses us on what Jesus wants us to do with this life God has so lovingly given us.  When we accepted that sign and those words, we entered into Lent, a season that, since the time of the Apostles, has been a time of renewal.  For some, it is a preparation for making a commitment to Christ in the sacrament of Baptism.  For most of us, it is a call to a renewal of our baptismal promises to reject sin and to put on Christ’s life and live the “Good News” –Jesus’ Gospel- in light of the reality that we do not know when the Lord will call us home.

How do we turn away from sin and live the Gospel”?  Our Church, again since the time of the Apostles, has always encouraged us to do this through three traditional disciplines: Prayer, Fasting and Almsgiving/Service.  Each flows into the other: Prayer, a means of both speaking and listening to God in our hearts and entering into a personal relationship with God.  That personal relationship then flows into Fasting.  By Fasting, we turn away from what is sinful in our lives and then make needed sacrifices for the love of Jesus.  Both the relationship with God that grows through Prayer and the hunger for righteousness that real Fasting brings us then leads us to Almsgiving/Service.  Almsgiving/Service is the giving over to God, in the face of others, the gift of oneself in donations of one’s time, talents and treasure.

In the scripture readings listed above (which are always an excellent spring board for Prayer) we hear the story of the first “giving in” to temptation in the Book of Genesis.  We also hear in the Gospel the story of Jesus’ refusal to “give in” to temptations offered Him by Satan.  Between these two readings is a profound selection from St. Paul’s letter to the Romans.  As you study this reading, which puts the entire set of these readings into perspective, pay particular attention to the final sentence, “For just as through the disobedience of the one man (Adam) many were made sinners, so through the obedience of the one (Jesus), many will be made righteous.”  This is what the Prayer, Fasting and Almsgiving/Service we practice during Lent [and the Gospel calls us to practice at all times] is all really leading for: Conversion of Heart or the “turning away from sin” so we can actually live the life of Christ in the Gospel.  We are all sinners who often give into temptations.  Yet, as baptized believers who have “put on Christ”, we are also given the strength to avoid sin through the blood of Jesus outpoured on the cross for us and in the sacraments He gives us today in His/our Church.

The Lenten season highlights the fact that truly it is “not by bread (all material life) alone, (that we live) but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”  That’s our need for that Prayer relationship with God again, which flows into the action of meaningful Fasting and selfless Almsgiving for and to our brothers and sisters “in Christ.”  If we take it seriously this year, this holy season of Lent can help us allow the Jesus within us to say to the temptation that comes so often, “Be gone, Satan.”  Then with, through, and in Christ we can also live the reality that it must be “the Lord, our God, that we worship” (and not the many false gods of our modern culture we adore) “and God alone.”

            God bless us and guide us during this holy season of our salvation- Sister Lany Jo Smith, ASCJ.

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Thoughts About Lent