First Sunday of Lent – Fr. Dustin Collins
March 10, 2019 – 8:30 am
For a period of forty days and forty nights we join with Jesus in the desert. We call this period of time Lent and there we too will be tempted and lied to by Satan that it would be best for us to go back to our old way of life. It was Moses who led the Israelites out of their slavery. For forty years they toiled about lost in the desert and even rebelled against God that it would be better for them if they could go back to their former way of life. This sounds so much like us!
Some of you are at work with your resolve to turn towards the Lord during this Lenten season, some have been too slothful to give it any thought, and still there are others who have set the bar too high.
Saint Josemaria Escriva reminds: “We were reading -you and I- the heroically ordinary life of that man of God. And we saw him fight whole months and years (what ‘accounts’ he kept in his particular examination!) at breakfast time: today he won, tomorrow he was beaten… He noted: ‘Didn’t take sugar…; did take sugar!’ May you and I too live our ‘sugar tragedy’.”
We must remember that Lent is not here to make us miserable, but to assist us in growing closer to God. We don’t have to stop eating for forty days putting ourself into a hospital to accomplish this task. At the same time we must feel compelled to be moved towards the Lord. Saint Josemaria Escriva gave us the example of a man who was taking simple penances upon himself. To deny himself sugar in his coffee was a cross which helped him to grow in virtue.
I once encountered a woman who had not made prayer a habit of her life. One day she decided that she would set a timer to two hours and spend that time in prayer. Only a few days later she had enough and found that she couldn’t stick to her resolve. My question was why would you go from nothing to two hours? Why not fifteen minutes and increase the time accordingly?
Therefore, what simple tasks can you undergo in this Lenten season which will assist you in growing in virtue?
Here is a small list that I have come up with, but feel free to add to it yourself as needed:
-For those in our middle/high school ministry grow in gratitude by forcing yourself to sign the thank you card each week.
-Force yourself to stay until Mass is over instead of rushing out the door after communion.
-Sign up for Formed and use it to learn more about your Catholic faith.
-Get out of bed at the first ring of your alarm clock and don’t use the snooze button.
-Attempt to attend the Friday Stations of the Cross.
-Take up the practice of praying the rosary every day.
-If possible come to daily Mass. We do have Mass on Saturday morning.
-Save your change and give to a charity such as Operation Rice Bowl or somewhere else.
-Begin to practice making a monthly confession.
-And forgo sugar in your coffee as act of sacrifice.
Truly the Lord was led into the desert and there He fasted and prayed for a period of forty days. During Lent we have received the invitation to join with Him. Hopefully we will answer this invitation and rebuke the assaults of the devil which attempt to make us abandon this path.