Prayer Reflections

The Award Goes to...

You know them! Listen to the names: Emmy, Oscar, Grammy… not persons but awards conferred by various segments of the entertainment community during these first months of 2012. And it is common to hear the emcee say something like, "Let's give up for the producers of ______." Of course, the meaning is "give a round of applause" in recognition of their good work.

Lenten symbol of cross, palms, eucharist and plate Holy Mother Church asks us something similar as we begin this season of the Liturgical Cycle: "What are you giving up for Lent?" Fasting, one full meal supplemented by two smaller meals, obliges us to reduce our intake of food on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. The fast is broken by eating between meals and by drinks which could be considered food (milk shakes, but not milk). Abstinence from meat (mammals and fowl) is a part of Church discipline not only on Ash Wednesday, Good Friday but also for all Fridays of Lent.

The faithful are encouraged to perform other acts of penance in union with the suffering of Christ. A custom has developed where some people make a sacrifice and "give up" something they enjoy for the duration of Lent: playing cards, chocolate, favorite TV shows, pre-dinner cocktails. Others do a positive act of penance: avoid complaining and criticizing, participate in daily Mass and/or the parish mission, do a random act of kindness for another ("…do not let your left hand know what your right is doing…") Matt. 6: 3

You know them! Listen to the names: prayer, fasting and almsgiving… each spiritual practice can draw us closer to Jesus and our personal call to holiness this season of Lent. And the award conferred… a life-time achievement that's out of this world!

Reflection: What are you doing this Lent to nourish your soul? Make certain that alone or in collaboration with other Associates or parishioners you make extra time for prayer or devotional reading. Ascertain the needs of a local shelter for the homeless and seek to meet them. Begin that laborious re-cycling program you have been putting off. What helpful hints inspire you in the corporal and spiritual works of mercy?

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