Lenten Journey

Feb 18, 2015

Dear Sisters & Brothers in Christ,

           Welcome to another Lenten journey. Once more we accept our Lord's invitation to spend some time in the wilderness. We take some time from our busy lives to refocus ourselves as disciples, to recommit ourselves to lives of prayer, fasting and good works. In recent years I have encouraged you to change the focus of your Lenten resolutions. Instead of giving up something that you like for 40 days, like chocolate or cigarettes, I have suggested giving up something that will make you a better disciple. For example, you could give up gossip, or you could commit to reading a few verses of Scripture each day. These things are great, but how often do we fail and get discouraged.

          I read an article in the NCR, by Heidi Schlumpf, that gave me a slightly different idea. She got the idea from the book "My One Word: Change Your Life With Just One Word." Well the idea is that you choose one word as opposed to a habit or behavior. A single word helps you focus on growth, something that happens over time, verses some action that we try to do or not do. A single word can't be broken.

          Some popular one-word resolutions -- "breathe," "savor," "connect," "gratitude," "patience," "balance" or "simplify" -- While these words can certainly be interpreted with a spiritual slant, Heidi recommended words that were more specifically religious. Words like "prayer," "service," "hope," "charity," or "faith." I am sure you can think of others that you would like to be used when someone disciples you. 

          Lent was never intended to be the Catholic version of marine boot camp, but sometimes that is how it has been presented. I like this idea of choosing just one word, because it places the emphasis, less on failing, and more on transforming our lives. Rather than simply toughing it out while we sacrifice something we enjoy, this approach gives us a goal to strive for. A goal that we want to achieve. And rather than just being a few pounds lighter after 40 days, maybe we will all be better Christians.

In the Redeemer,

Fr. Rick