Tobit 12:8

Brothers and Sisters,

This week holds a very special day and a day that I enjoy celebrating.  Every year on 02 February, the Church celebrates the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord.  This is the day when Blessed Mother and Saint Joseph brought the baby Christ to the temple to be consecrated to the Lord – something done by all Hebrews at the time.  This is an important day in salvation history; in fact, the Prophet Simeon and Prophetess Anna recognized in baby Christ that the Lord had finally returned to the Temple.

Traditionally, 02 February is the last day of the Christmas season.  The Church had used this day to end the Season of Christmas because in the Gospels this is the final event of the infancy narrative of Christ.  Since the early 1970s, the Church changed the end  of the Christmas season to be the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord.

The timing of the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord will have a special impact on us this year.  Since Lent will not be starting until March this year, the Presentation of the Lord is right halfway between the start of the new calendar year and the beginning of the Season of Lent.

Many of us tend to think of Lent as a second chance at out New Year’s resolutions.  In giving something up for Lent we often merely adapt our resolutions into a second try.  Lent, however, is something far bigger than giving something up as we may have done for the new year.

Here’s what I recommend we start considering in advance of Lent so we can all hit the ground running:

PRAYER:  the most important part of Lent is additional time given to prayer.  I love when people come to daily Mass during Advent and Lent.  Additionally, making sure that we re-learn the Rosary and Divine Mercy Chaplet are essentials for the Christian life.  Further, committing time to being silent and without a computer, phone, or even a book in front of our faces – just praying to Almighty God in silence.  All of these are a great start.

FASTING:  this is the famous “giving something up” for Lent.  Most often, people will fast from movies or candy, desserts or recreational use of the internet.  The key is to give something up that you really will miss and then use that “missing it” to recognize that we need to be longing for God far more than that thing we gave up.

ALMSGIVING:  this is giving more to Church and charity.  It is important to remember that the Church always expects us to find more ways of being more generous.  In fact, the Church says that we should give money to Church and charity event to the point where it creates a hardship for us to maintain our own standards.  Don’t be meek in your trying to be generous with Church and charity.  Give until it hurts, as they say.  Be more than generous.

God be near,

Father Jeremy