The different seasons of the Church year present us with opportunities to express our faith in a variety of ways according to our human nature. For example, this season of Lent is an occasion for disciplining our bodies and our spirits. Just as every athlete needs training to sharpen his skills and tone his muscles, so the Christian’s spiritual life needs training to tone his soul. Since God made us with a body and soul, it is natural and good that we discipline our bodies along with our souls. This is the benefit of ascetical practices (the “giving up” of certain good things which we enjoy, like sweets, television, etc.) Fasting, along with almsgiving and prayer, is the means to spiritual growth (as we heard in the Gospel on Ash Wednesday).
As always, it takes a special and intentional effort to embrace this holy season. The special devotions during Lent help us to appreciate its penitential character. Please note that we have Stations of the Cross each Wednesday at 6:30pm and Sorrowful Mother Novena each Friday at 5:00pm. Most of the parishes in the deanery are hosting a Lenten Penance Service. Along with our parish schedule of private confessions, this provides ample opportunities for the chance to receive the graces of this Sacrament. Each Sunday of Lent we will have a Holy Hour of Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament beginning at 4:00pm, with Solemn Vespers beginning at 4:30pm, and conclude with Benediction. Our Lord spent 40 days in the desert fasting and praying (as we read in today’s Gospel). Let us endeavor to be more like Him by the fervent embrace of our Lenten disciplines.
Since the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass remains for us the “Source and summit” of our Faith, it seems opportune to deepen our understanding of the Mass during Lent. I will give four talks on the Mass on the first 4 Tuesdays of Lent (March 3, 10, 17, and 24) at 6:30pm in the SSPP school seminar room. Each talk will discuss a distinct aspect of the Mass and stands alone. Come and explore with me more deeply the great Mystery of our Faith.
May God bless you!