Ecclesiastes 3:12

Brothers and Sisters,

It is finally upon us, it has at long last arrived.  Every Christian’s favorite season of the year!  It’s the season of parties before Lent starts!

I love the tradition of having parties with rich foods right before Lent.  The tradition is about getting rid of all the fancy and rich foods before Ash Wednesday happens – and, please do get rid of the them.  Let’s not limit Lent to Ash Wednesday and the couple of Fridays that follow it this Spring.

Lent is every day for the next many weeks.  Be sure that we give ourselves penance for the weeks to come.

Here are some of the main things to remember:

  • Ash Wednesday and every Friday of Lent:
    • no meat (abstinence)
    • eating a smaller amount of food than normal (fasting)
  • Everyday, though less-so on Sundays:
    • more prayer (way more than normal)
    • more fasting (give up lots of stuff)
    • more almsgiving (give away money)
  • Example par excellance
    • show others how to be the best possible Christian by your example
    • teach yourself to be a better Christian by catching yourself when you fail

All of these, brothers and sisters, are essentials of Lent.

Now, Spring will be busy for most of us:  sports will turn over, there’s planting and planning, parties around Easter, family events as the days get warmer and the snow (please, God) will go away.  So, don’t be relaxed during Lent.  To be successful during Lent, you will need to be actively working toward success.

For example, by now we should have narrowed down our plans for prayer, fasting, and almsgiving; finish your decisions today if you have not already done so.  Even further though, plan ahead for what you will do when you’re tempted to fail.  What will you do when you’re tempted to have that soda/chocolate/snack/dessert or whatever that you gave up?  What’s the plan for when you don’t want to say those extra prayers?  What’s the plan for when you wake up on Tuesday and realize that you didn’t say your Monday prayers?  Make plans now.

My best advice generally speaking is to make all of your penances tough.  Here’s a good way to measure it:  if you didn’t break your penance halfway though Lent, it probably wasn’t a difficult enough penance.

God be near,

Father Jeremy