It feels as if I just put all of the Christmas decorations away. I blinked and St. Valentine’s Day flew by. Now I see store shelves filled with Easter candy and we haven’t yet celebrated St. Patrick’s Day. Time has flown by yet again.
I took a look at my oldest child this morning and noticed that his school uniform pants are about an inch or so too short. Didn't I just have the hem taken out over Christmas break? My middle child also hit a major growth spurt and I had to immediately replace all of her school jumpers with the next size up. Little Andrew, our youngest, is growing at an alarming rate and will take his first step any day now. How is it that we can figure out how to put a man on the moon or code a new app that will go viral, yet we can't figure out how to slow down time?
Ash Wednesday is tomorrow, with it, brings the first of the 40 days of Lent. Scott Hahn says, "We love Lent because it's distinctive. It sets us apart as a Christian people. Fasting and abstinence are always countercultural, but especially in a land where marketers harvest desire from our emails and urge us hourly on social media to indulge ourselves. By observing Lent we opt out of that. We take up our cross daily ,as Our Lord told us to do, and we carry it forward over the course of weeks. At the end we have a sense of satisfaction. We fell we've accomplished something through God's grace. For forty days we've conspired, cooperated, and collaborated closely with God - intentionally and intensely. And we like that feeling. We love Lent."
It's true, Catholics truly do love Lent. Go to church tomorrow for Ash Wednesday and marvel at the turnout. However, don't let these 40 days get so busy in the daily grind that you miss out on delving into a deeper relationship with Christ. Have a plan. Implement the plan. During Lent, we participate self-denial through fasting and abstinence in order to develop a sweet and loving relationship with our Almighty Creator. I challenge you to make this year's Lenten season purposeful.
Will you add a daily Rosary to your abstinence and fasting? Or, will you say the Chaplet of Divine Mercy at 3 p.m. each day in order to commemorate the time that is recognized as Jesus' death on the Cross? Will you do more spiritual reading and partake in Sacred Scripture? Perhaps you will volunteer to help your parish by washing and ironing all of the altar server robes? Or, as a family, you can volunteer to clean the Holy Water founts. These are all just suggestions. The point is this: don't be so busy that you forget to add Jesus and your Lenten practices into your daily routine. The more purposeful you make Lent, the sweeter the satisfaction will be on Easter Sunday.
I pray that all of you will have a very purposeful Lenten season that will end in a more purposeful relationship between you and Jesus Christ.