Are You Ready for Lent?

We are less than three weeks away from Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the Lenten Season. This year Ash Wednesday is on Feb 14, so Lent begins early for us. (The earliest date Ash Wednesday can occur is February 4.)

The schedule of our SMT Lenten activities is listed to the right, along with the suggested list of “Ten Things to do during Lent.”

The 2018 Lunar New Year is on February 16. Because this occurs on a Friday during Lent, you are not required to abstain from meat on this day. It is recommended, however, that you replace it with an appropriate penance on another day.

We have a new speaker, Fr Ronald J. Hoye, C.M. leading the annual Parish Mission, which begins on March 5th through March 7th at 7pm in the Church. Please plan to join us! It promises to be a spiritually engaging and energizing mission!

We introduced the CRS Rice Bowl project last year for Lent, which was very successful! We will continue it again this year. The Rice Bowls will be distributed on Sunday, February 11. More information will be included in the bulletin and website on these Lenten activities. Thank you for your participation.

Jesus’ first preached message as he began his public ministry was, “The Kingdom of God is at hand. Repent and believe in the Gospel/Good News.” (We heard this in last week’s Gospel.) Repentance is something we must continually do throughout the year, not just during Lent. Lent gives us the opportunity to focus our efforts on bettering aspects of our life that will grow our relationship with God and will continue to strengthen that relationship throughout the year.

It is good to practice some form of penance during Lent (giving something up), i.e. a restriction, a discipline, a sacrifice, but this practice is not required.

Three Traditional Pillars of Lent are prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. The ultimate purpose of prayer is to “connect” with God. The image that comes to mind is Michelangelo’s Creation of Adam on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. Because we become so busy and preoccupied with worldly things, it becomes easy to neglect God, thinking that God will understand, and we will get to him when we have time.

The problem is we will never have enough time. So, make time for God now!!! Start with one minute a day alone with God. This is how we connect with him. Listen, share yourself with Him…the relationship will grow if you spend time alone with Him. This is one practice we can begin during Lent that we can practice throughout the year. - Fr. Ben

Rhiannon Jensen