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Archive for February, 2012

10 Things to Remember for Lent

Lent, It’s time for CHANGE …

Yes, we have all heard this before, the call for change.  Being Roman Catholic is part of  who I am.  Today is

Ash Wednesday

and I am all about dedicating myself to change … in so many areas … thought, word, and deed!  I read an article this morning on the website of American Catholic bishops.   In the article, Bishop Ricken (chairman of the Committee on Evangelization and Catechesis of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops) presented some wonderful ideas on how to observe Lent well.

Being a CCD teacher, I synopsized the list for my 7th grade class; it follows.  If you want the full story, click on the link to Bishop Ricken’s article (http://www.usccb.org/news/2012/12-032.cfm).

10 Things to Remember for Lent

(based on an article by Bishop David L. Ricken of Green Bay, Wisconsin)

1.  Remember the Formula – PRAYER, FASTING, ALMSGIVING.

2.  It’s a time of prayer.   Spread out over 40 days, we go on a journey that brings us closer to Christ.

3.  It’s a time to fast.  With the fasts of Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, meatless Fridays, and our personal disciplines interspersed, Lent is the only time many Catholics these days actually fast.

4.  It’s a time to work on discipline. The 40 days of Lent are also a good, set time to work on personal discipline in general. Instead of giving something up, it can be doing something positive such as exercise more or intentionally setting aside time to go to Confession regularly.

5.  It’s about dying to yourself.   The suffering and death of Christ are foremost on our minds during Lent.  So more than simple self-control, Lent is about finding aspects of yourself that are less than Christ-like and letting them “die”.  (Again the Sacrament of Penance is a big help.)

6.  Don’t do too much.  Don’t be tempted to try to “re-invent” yourself this Lent.  Focus on a couple of simple ways to grow closer to God.

7.  Lent reminds us of our weakness.  We have trouble keeping even our simple goals – when we fast, we are one meal away satisfying our hunger.  Seeing our helplessness makes us seek God’s help more urgently.

8.  Be patient with yourself.   When confronted with our own weakness during Lent, the temptation is to get angry and frustrated.  Instead, receive God’s grace to be patient with ourselves and others.

9.  Reach out in charity.  Experiencing our own weakness and suffering renews our compassion for those who are hungry, suffering, and in need.  The third part of the formula – almsgiving – means throwing more in the collection basket and helping others with God’s unconditional love.

10. Learn to love like Christ.  Giving of ourselves in the midst of our suffering and self-denial brings us closer to loving like Christ.  Let us ask His help, join His suffering, and learn to love like He does.

 

Let’s all draw closer to God this Lent.  Cheers!

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