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Pastor's Column

Having a Fruitful Lent

Pastor’s Column

1st Sunday of Lent-C

March 10, 2019

It seems that no sooner have we disposed of the poinsettias, then it is time for Lent to begin again. Lent is not meant to be an inconvenience, but rather an opportunity to grow in the spiritual life for 40 days. Lent is what we make of it. If we want a return on our investment this Lent, we have to actually invest something, and one of the key investments that Jesus recommends is fasting. What does fasting really mean?

Many people’s lives are so full that fitting God in can be a challenge. Jesus fasted for 40 days before he began his ministry. We, too, are called to fast, that is, to open up space for Jesus to enter into our lives in a fuller way. In order to have a fruitful Lent, we must be hungry for God. Do I really want a deeper relationship with Christ? Am I hungry for Christ? Is my life filled with things, but lacking in meaning? Now is the time to go seeking God.

Fasting some time for God. Why not try to go to daily Mass more often during Lent? Let the church help you on your spiritual path. If you can’t make it to daily Mass, look up the daily readings (they are in the bulletin). Fast by giving the scriptures more time. The Mass readings for Lent are a compendium of the spiritual life in 40 days!

Fasting from media. Is my life out of balance? Spending too much time with the computer or TV? Who or what in my life is being shortchanged by this misuse of my time?

Fasting from sin. Do I know myself? What are my fundamental weaknesses and strengths? Lent is a time to take aim at an area of my life that is sinful or out of balance. Begin by doing a good examination of conscience before Ash Wednesday, then decide what area of your life you and the Lord are going to work on together. Perhaps it will be your language, patience, or the way you treat others at home or work. Fasting helps us to do battle with our sins by giving us more fortitude – saying no voluntarily now helps me with my spiritual battles later!

Fasting from food. In the early church, Christians normally fasted on Wednesdays and Fridays – two days a week! Nowadays people fast for all sorts of health reasons, and before surgery and certain medical procedures, all for a body that will grow old and die eventually anyway. How much more ought we to fast for our spiritual life, which will last forever! Am I an unhealthy eater? Now is the time to correct this. Can I give up one meal and donate the money to the poor?

In order to be more filled with Jesus, we must allow him to clear some room in our hearts – and fasting is the key to this! Fasting is one of the key weapons in our spiritual arsenal. Lent is a time for us to renew our hunger for God after an overdose of things that fill us up without satisfying us.

Father Gary

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