Fourth Sunday in Lent, March 11, 2018, 2018
Ash Wednesday was about one month ago (At right, Lenten ashes at Holy Family Church in Concord, Massachusetts). We were signed with ashes and called to turn from sin and look to the Gospels. Let’s take stock of our Lenten disciplines so far: Has the fervor of Ash Wednesday worn off or has it deepened?
The word Lent comes from the Old English word “lencten,” which means spring. Thinking about Lent as Spring Training, this season can be a period of rebirth and renewal, a time of getting our spiritual life back on track, like warming up our spiritual muscles to become more proficient and more deeply committed to spiritual growth during the season and, importantly, AFTER the 40 days of Lent.
Like most humans, we often fail and fall off the tracks of Lenten intentions. We need reminders! It’s time to revisit the three-pronged “Swiss Army Knife” of Lenten practices: Prayer, Almsgiving, and Fasting. Each practice can give us new tools; and each discipline provides new ways to be renewed one day at a time. Pope Francis’ Lent 2018 message penetrates the essence of these practices.
Devoting more time to prayer during Lent, we enable our hearts to “root out secret lies and forms of self-deception and then to find the consolation God offers.” A modest goal of committing 10 minutes each day to prayer during this season can help us be faithful to the presence of God in our lives.
Almsgiving “sets us free from greed and helps us to regard our neighbor as brother and sister.” Remembering that our possessions are never ours alone, we practice this discipline of giving of ourselves to others so that it may become a genuine style of life.
Fasting disarms us of feeling satisfied and wakes us up to be more attentive to God and neighbor. This practice can be an expression of our own spiritual hunger and thirst for life in God. The discipline of fasting “revives our desire to obey God, who alone is capable of satisfying our hunger.”
Pope Francis reminds us that the entire Church experiences this time of grace in preparation for Easter. God in his providence offers each of us Lent as a “sacramental sign of our conversion. Lent summons us and enables us to come back to the Lord wholeheartedly and in every aspect of our lives.”
We’ve been given the gift of Lent and the disciplines of the season; how shall those disciplines become more engrained in our daily life?
Take some time this week to explore the many ways God has begun to refashion you this Lent.
Click the links below to view the Liturgical Readings for each day of the week.
- Readings for Sunday, March 11, 2018, Year A
- Readings for Sunday, March 11, 2018, Year B
- Readings for Monday, March 12, 2018
- Readings for Tuesday, March 13, 2018
- Readings Wednesday, March 14, 2018
- Readings for Thursday, March 15, 2018
- Readings for Friday, March 16, 2018
- Readings for Saturday, March 17, 2018