Lent 2018: A Unique Character
Michael Kamenski, St. Sebastian Pastoral Associate
The church’s liturgical year began with Advent, which helped us to make room in our lives for Christ incarnate. Christmas, the celebration of God made human for the salvation of all people, followed.
After a little break now with “ordinary time,” we look forward to Lent, Holy Week, Easter and Pentecost. Lent annually affords Catholics opportunities for deep spiritual reflection through extra prayer, extra fasting and almsgiving (extra giving of money to important causes).
- On the one hand, Lent helps us take inventory of the ways we need to grow spiritually – where we need the help of our God and our faith community.
- On the other hand, Lent helps us realize and be grateful for the mercy of a loving and generous God.
The season of Lent can look and feel the same each year. Yet, while many aspects of Lent repeat (necessarily, because we never can fully appreciate our need for God’s mercy nor the magnanimity of God’s mercy), our lives are never in the same place. Thus, each year Lent can take on a unique character.
Let’s look at some ways Lent might be unique this year for us. We can take a careful look at our lives – right here, right now:
- Our family has grown this past year; our work and our many life activities are a year older. These all bring challenges in our lives. How are we doing in our marriages, in our parenting, in our care of the elderly or neighbors?
- And we are a year older. How have we fed our minds and hearts this year?
- Our “restless hearts” (St. Augustine) seek Truth and Meaning and Fulfillment. What do we need to search better?
We can look for new tools to help in our spiritual journey this season.
- St. Sebastian gifted its members with a book on prayer, “Prayer, Our Deepest Longing,” by Father Ronald Rolheiser. Discussion groups are forming to discuss this book during Lent. If you need a copy, please stop by the Parish House.
- The scriptures used at mass will be from the gospel of Mark. Check out all readings on the US Bishops’ website: usccb.org (click on a date on the homepage calendar to produce the readings – choose Cycle B).
- Our three-parish cluster will offer Ash Wednesday services, Lenten Penance Services, and a prayerfully prepared Holy Week, beginning with a Cluster mass for Palm Sunday, Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday/Easter Sunday. Click here for information or see details on the yellow printed reminder card available at ushers’ tables.
May your inner spiritual life find Christ at its core this Lent, with promptings from the Spirit to share this Christ Light, incarnate in all of us, with a world in need of healing and hope.