Thursday, February 17, 2011

The "L" Word


Yesterday I gave a homily to the Ritter students but I forgot my camera at the rectory so I thought I'd share the basic content of the homily with you here because I think it is important for all the faithful.

Despite all the things that people SAY the 2nd Vatican Council changed, one of the biggest things it changed was actually a reworking of the Church's calendar. The biggest change to the calendar was probably the dropping of the 30 days known as "Septuagesima" - translated as 70 days, as in 70 days till Easter. During the 30 days leading up to Lent, the Alleluia is dropped and the priest wears purple, although the fasting and abstinence and so forth don't kick in until Lent.

The 30 day run up to Lent, then, was kind of a chance to stretch out and get ready for Lent; an opportunity to think about what one might be giving up AND what holy practices one might be ADDING to their lives as well.

In the West, we often START to think about what we're going to do for Lent on Fat Tuesday, but there seems to be a lot of wisdom in not letting Lent sneak up on us.

A part of me dreads Lent, and so a part of me wants to not think about it until the last possible moment. However, I also know it is precisely because Lent is so intimidating that it is such a good thing for me. If I fast for a day or carry out some other penance for a day, I can usually tell myself that "tomorrow will be better when I am no longer hungry." However, the massive chunk of the calendar that is Lent forces me to realize that I can't run from God.

Here at Ritter during homeroom in Lent we're offering a weekly Rosary, weekly adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, and a Bible study as well. I encourage all Catholics to use Lent as an opportunity to do something POSITIVE - a Rosary daily, perhaps going to Mass on a day besides Sunday each week at your parish, an hour of adoration a week, 2 chapters from the Bible each day...the list could go on forever. Spend some time NOW praying and thinking about what God might be calling you to pick up during Lent this year.