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Preparing For Lent

Feb 19

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Sunday, February 19, 2012  RssIcon

                         Preparing for Lent

Pastor’s Column

7th Sunday in Ordinary Time

February 19, 2012

 

They came bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men.

                              (from Mark 2:4-12)

 

                    One of the great benefits of going to the sacrament of Reconciliation on a regular basis is that it really does help us to know our weaknesses.  Lent is a time when rigorous honesty is required between the soul and God.  Many of us find that we are fighting the same battles with sin and bad habits throughout our lives.  The reason for this often lies in that we are not at war with our sinful choices!

 

          Is there a spiritual paralysis in my life?  With Lent nearly upon us, now is the time to begin to ask the question, “What project are the Lord and I going to do together for the six weeks of Lent?”  It is imperative in the spiritual life to follow the Lord’s advice to seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, so that all these other things will be added to you as well.  In other words, if my relationship with God has areas of sin and paralysis in them, everything else is going to be out of whack.

 

          Here is the way we often tend to handle problems in our lives: Lord, first let me handle my financial difficulties, and then I’ll have more time for you; first, let me finish my “to-do” list; first, let me get a handle on my illness or my family problems; first, let me watch this TV program!  Meanwhile, the spiritual paralysis within us continues because Christ’s priorities are not our own.

 

          It is amazing how powerfully God can work to reorder our lives when our first priority is pleasing the Lord.  Lent is a time to make spiritual battle plans.  Lent is an opportunity, presented by the Holy Spirit, to allow for a radical re-orienting of the priorities in my life.  The first priority is prayer.  If I don’t make some time to speak with God on a daily basis, my life will be deeply out of balance.  The second priority is confession.  If I have sins that need to be forgiven, now is the time to be cleansed and start again.  The third priority is the Mass.  If my attendance is on again-off again, what does this say about the priority of the Lord in my week?  How can he bless me if I don’t place him first?  Another priority is the reading of scripture.  In prayer, I speak to God; in the scriptures, God speaks to me.  Another essential element of the spiritual life is fasting.  Can I take the risk by fasting from foods I should not be eating, excessive alcohol or drugs, an imbalance of computer or TV in my life?  Most importantly, can I fast from sin?   When I put God’s concerns first, I shouldn’t be surprised when he straightens out the paralysis in the rest of my life.  Perhaps he is waiting until he is given the first place on my priority list.

                                                                                          Father Gary

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