With Lent beginning in on March 1, it is a good time to think about the practices that will make this time once again a holy season of progress towards the love and the glory of the Christian life. It is customary to think of Lenten practices in three ways, prayer, penance, and charity, or as the Catechism puts it, prayer, fasting and almsgiving. See Catechism 1434. A good practice is to adopt a Lenten resolution or resolutions in each of these ways.
In particular, one can ask how one’s prayer life will be more extensive, perhaps with coming to the church more often, or praying a particular devotion, such as the rosary, Divine Mercy Chaplet or with Holy Scriptures. Or one can focus on deepening current prayers, perhaps by preparing for Mass more carefully, or thinking more about our patron saints, or the people whom we are praying for, and focusing on their goodness.
With regard to penances, the requirements of fasting on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, and abstinence from meat on Fridays during Lent are a beginning. But we should also add our own offerings, such as giving up or cutting back on a favorite food or drink, or perhaps more deeply, taking time from a favorite entertainment (music, internet or TV shows, for example) and spending that time on prayer, study or service of others.
And regarding charity, it is helpful to make some resolutions about making this world a better place, such as taking time every week reaching out to others who may appreciate the attention, or being generous with one’s possessions and talents with donations of time and wealth.
As part of the Lenten practices this year, every parish in the Arlington Diocese will sponsor The Light Is On devotion on Wednesday nights.
Here at this parish, we will have Eucharistic Adoration either from 6:30 – 8:00, or (when there is a Knights meeting) from 6:00 – 7:30.
During Eucharistic Adoration, there will be a talk, from 6:45 – 7:15, on different aspects of the path to heaven, in particular, the Commandments, the Beatitudes, the Cardinal Virtues, the Theological Virtues, the Beatitudes, the Gifts of the Holy Spirit, and the Fruits of the Holy Spirit.
Confessions will also be available during the rest of the Adoration.
The goal here, as with all of Lent, is to journey with Jesus, in the words of the ancient Latin adage, per aspera ad astra, through the struggles to the stars.