The sun is shining here in Philadelphia! It is hard to believe that it is already Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent as well as Valentine’s Day. Wow, all of this in one day -- so grateful. Lent has so many stories and meaning to different people. Many of us have heard, “What are you giving up for Lent?” or “What are you going to do during Lent?”
I just came upon a few thoughts from Pope Francis that I will share with you, but first I would like you to take a deep breath and finish this sentence, “This Lent I am going to…” I ask you to stop and think about how you will finish the sentence. Sometimes we do the same thing each Lent and, although that isn’t bad, what if you take just a little more time to think about what the forty days of Lent mean to you? Why do you do what you do? I know that sometimes I can plan to do certain things during Lent but, like New Year’s Resolution, the good intentions fall by the wayside.
I think it is more in being than doing that calls us to a deeper, richer Lent. Going within and looking to see how I can best prepare myself for Easter can prove to be a challenge. At Mass this weekend, the priest offered us the opportunity to look inside and see what form of leprosy we need to rid ourselves of. The folks in the readings had the outward signs of leprosy. We perhaps hold it in our hearts and minds. And so I share with you Pope Francis’ thought on fasting and Lent. I am convinced that a deep hard look inward will be a great challenge but I think when we take up that challenge and work on changing ourselves the world will be a better place and our Easter will be even more joyful.
In the words of Pope Francis:
Fast from hurting words and say kind words.
Fast from sadness and be filled with gratitude.
Fast from anger and be filled with patience.
Fast from Pessimism and be filled with hope.
Fast from worries and have trust in God.
Fast from complaints and contemplate simplicity.
Fast from pressures and be prayerful.
Fast from bitterness and fill your heart with joy.
Fast from selfishness and be compassionate to others.
Fast from grudges and be reconciled.
Fast from words and be silent so you can listen.
Pick a challenge and make this your best Lent ever. God loves you and wants to celebrate the best YOU at Easter!
Till next week,