Skip to comments.Getting Serious About Lent
Posted on 02/23/2009 6:22:52 AM PST by NYer
Every car or truck carries in the glove compartment a maintenance schedule. Having your oil changed, your tires rotated and balanced, and the rest of the engine checked keeps your vehicle in excellent shape.
This Wednesday, we begin one of the most practical times of the Catholic liturgical year. Lent provides us an opportunity to open our personal maintenance schedule and take a close look at ourselves as we journey towards eternal life.
The spiritual life is not an easy endeavor because of our wounded human nature. True, Baptism washes away original sin, but we do not have complete control over ourselves. St. Paul brilliantly describes this continual battle. He portrays this conflict as an inward struggle (Romans 7: 14-25), a treasure in a vessel of clay (2 Corinthians 4: 7-18), and a thorn in the flesh (2 Corinthians 12: 7-10).
Because of original sin, an inner force will always move us in the wrong direction. Continual effort is necessary to control the inner movement of our ego, and allow the presence of grace to take control of our thoughts, desires and actions. The battle of the spiritual life is like walking in a river against the current. If we do not continue to walk or grab on to a rock, the current will carry us in the opposite direction. Lent provides us with an excellent opportunity to strengthen ourselves so that we can keep walking against the current.
A successful Lent requires us to develop a serious plan of action. Our program should consist of both the general practices that the Catholic Church requires of everyone, and our own particular Lenten program.
As a general practice for all Catholics, the Church requires that we fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. We are also asked to abstain from meat on Ash Wednesday and all Fridays of Lent.
Aside from what the Church law of fast and abstinence requires of us, we should come up with a personal program for spiritual growth. This is our personal maintenance program. I have always recommended that we come up with something negative and something positive.
By something negative, I mean that each person should commit themselves to giving up something or a number of things. This sacrifice should be serious and demanding. The self-control that we exercise in giving up a legitimate pleasure strengthens our will and curbs the inclinations of our passions.
By something positive, I mean that each one should also do some kind of act that we would not normally do on a regular basis. Attending daily Mass, visiting the sick, volunteering time at the parish or praying a Sunday evening Rosary with the entire family are positive acts of virtue that have helped many people progress in their relationship with God.
Lenten practices of penance have great benefits for our spiritual lives. A serious Lent will be like a spring cleaning which will purify the clutter that has accumulated in our souls. A serious commitment to penance will also help us to conquer addictions, obsessions and compulsive behavior. A serious Lent will purify our soul and allow us to experience a deeper interior freedom.
As we approach the beginning of another Lent, we should carefully examine our lives. Usually we focus on carefully examining our sins, but do we ever consider the sins of omission? Do we honestly consider what we are not doing?
One way to break the cycle of apathy is to bring into your Lent an apostolic dimension. This can be done by making two firm commitments: pray the Rosary at your local abortion clinic and target one person that does not have a church home. Invite that person to your parish.
Moreover, it would be very powerful if we would offer up our fast, abstinence, Lenten sacrifices and our weekly Stations of the Cross to the Lord as of way of ending abortion and bringing souls back to the Church.
Do not wait until Ash Wednesday to come up with your Lenten program. Decide today what you are going to do. Parents should sit down with their children and make sure that they too have come up with a serious plan of action. Have a family meeting tonight and decide together to make this Lent the best Lent ever. Meet as a family every Sunday during Lent and review your program. Be accountable to each other. If you make this a great Lent you will notice the difference on Easter Sunday.
Today is Ash Monday - the beginning of Great Lent in the Maronite Catholic Church
The Maronite Lenten Regulations
Ash Monday (February 23, 2009) and Good Friday (April 10, 2009) are days of abstinence
for all Maronites over the age of 14. On these two days, fast as well as abstinence is also obligatory
for those from the ages of 18-59. Abstinence means abstinence from meat. Fast means no food
from midnight to noon. No Maronite will lightly excuse himself or herself from this obligation.
All other Fridays of Lent are days of abstinence from meat for everyone 14 years of age.
Here again Maronites will not hold themselves lightly excused, but if there is a serious health problem,
this obligation would not apply.
Fasting from midnight to noon daily is optional.
We strive to make all days of Lent a time of prayer and penance.
Hi. Can you define for me (or send me a link where I can learn) about Maronite Catholocism?
The Maronite liturgy is older than that of the Latin Church. Following the Ascension of our Lord, the Apostles set out to bring the good news to the world. St. Peter went to Antioch where he served as bishop. The Antiochene-Syriac Maronite liturgy dates back to that time. Of all the Catholic Churches, the Maronite Church retains the jewish heritage more than the others, as evidenced by the use of Syriac Aramaic, the everyday language of Jesus, in its liturgy.
A Roman rite Catholic may attend any Eastern Catholic Liturgy and fulfill his or her obligations at any Eastern Catholic Parish. A Roman rite Catholic may join any Eastern Catholic Parish and receive any sacrament from an Eastern Catholic priest, since all belong to the Catholic Church as a whole. I am a Roman Catholic practicing my faith at a Maronite Catholic Church. Like the Chaldeans, the Maronites retain Aramaic for the Consecration. It is as close as one comes to being at the Last Supper.
Please freepmail me if you would like more information on the Eastern Catholic Churches.
That huge pot of beans was made at the appropriate time. : )
Father is coming to bring us Holy Communion (infirmed) today and we plan to include our yearly Prayer to reconfirm our membership to the Militia Immaculata.
Seems Lenten season came too fast I am still in the Joy of Christmas.
We are also asked to abstain from meat on Ash Wednesday and all Fridays of Lent.
I abstain from meat on Ash Wed and Fridays but if I fast, I’ll pass out from low blood sugar...
I’m thinking of doing something a little extra this year in terms of sacrifice
There was a Marionite Church in San Antonio. We always wanted to attend Mass there, but somehow never did.
KV use to give up tv for Lent.
Now that we are more homebound that is not an option he chooses.
More positive would be more Prayer time.
And if you can find fresh Halibut.UHG we Live on the Coast and this is getting harder to come by but here is a recipe I enjoy.
Mediterranean Halibut with Couscous
Prep/Cook Time: Prep Time: 15 min. Cook Time: 15 min.
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 tbsp. olive oil
1 cup Swanson(R) Chicken Stock
2 tsp. dried oregano leaves, crushed
1 can (about 14 1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes, drained 1/2 cup kalamata olives, pitted and sliced
Coat the fish with the flour.
Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add the fish and cook for 5 minutes or until it’s well browned on both sides and cooked through. Remove the fish from the skillet and keep warm. Heat the remaining oil in the skillet. Add the shallots and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the stock, oregano, tomatoes and olives and heat to a boil. Cook for 5 minutes or until the sauce is slightly thickened. Season to taste. Serve the sauce with the fish and couscous.
* For the couscous: prepare 1 package (10 ounces) couscous according to the package directions, substituting Swanson(R) Chicken Broth for the water. Serves 4.
Chef Lee’s Tip:
Poach fish fillets in Swanson(R) stock instead of water. Remove fish from skillet and thicken stock slightly by reducing; stir a pat of butter into stock until melted, season to taste, and serve the sauce over the fish.
Simply Special Seafood Chowder
Fresh shrimp, mussels and white fish are quickly poached in vegetable broth and flavored with fennel, carrots and onion to make this hearty and delicious seafood chowder. View This Recipe
Swanson(R) Broth Tip:
How about a salad with your fish? Top your favorite salad with our Swanson vinaigrette. Simply replace half of the oil in your recipe with Swanson broth for a light and flavorful dressing.
A bookmark for later. Thank you for the post.
I used to be a news junkie, switching between MSNBC, CNN, FOX, etc. The mainstream media is liberal for the most part. Watching these news commentators would often raise my blood pressure. Several years ago, I gave up watching the news for Lent. Withdrawal was not easy but, within a week, peace had entered the house, and I have kept it that way ever since.
You may want to consider praying the Daily Office. This too will bring you great comfort and solace. It's a healthy regimen for your soul. You can find these books at most religious goods stores. Here ia web link, in case you wish to explore the prayers: Daily Office.
Good news ... there still is a Maronite Church in San Antonio - St. Georges!
The Eastern Catholic Churches are most welcoming of visitors as you can see from St. George's web site.
The Vatican II Council declared that "all should realize it is of supreme importance to understand, venerate, preserve, and foster the exceedingly rich liturgical and spiritual heritage of the Eastern churches, in order faithfully to preserve the fullness of Christian tradition" (Unitatis Redintegrato, 15).
You should consider visiting this parish. You will not be disappointed.
**Do not wait until Ash Wednesday to come up with your Lenten program. Decide today what you are going to do. Parents should sit down with their children and make sure that they too have come up with a serious plan of action.**
Our church starts this week to do a scripture study for the six weeks of Lent.
13 families and over 120 individuals will be taking part in it.