Tuesday, February 21, 2012

How to spend Lent

Well, tomorrow, is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the special liturgical season of Lent. I just threw away the last of the poinsettias so I can't believe it's here. I have been trying to get my heart ready to enter the season from the start rather than straggling into it gradually. I recently read an article on Catholic Online written by Deacon Keith Fournier entitled "Preparing for Lent: Learning to Pray, Love and Live Our Lives in Communion with God". Deacon Fournier tells us that Lent calls us to learn the way of prayer. When asked recently what is the greatest need in the Church today, he said his answer was simple: The greatest need in the Church today is more people who pray. Here are some thoughts from the article: (you can check Catholic Online to a search for the full article).
  • Jesus was a man of prayer. We often think that He prayed the way He did only because He was Divine. However, in his sacred humanity he reveals the fullness of our own humanity as redeemed and recreated in him. In Jesus we find a new way of being human, beginning right now. Jesus can teach us how to pray.
  • The prayer of Jesus opened the heavens, brought provision to the hungry, gave Him clarity for making decisions and brought the glory of heaven to earth and earth to heaven. Prayer still does all of this, and more, for all who will learn how to live their lives immersed in God as He did.
  • Through prayer we recover the capacity for a communion of love with the living God. Through prayer we participate in the inner life of God.
  • This is prayer - not so much about doing or getting but rather about being, receiving, giving and loving.
  • Through prayer we receive new glasses through which we see the true landscape of life and find the way to walk.
  • Through prayer darkness is dispelled and the path of true progress is illuminated.
  • Prayer expands our capacity to comprehend truth and equips us to change through conversion.
  • Through prayer we are drawn into a deepening relationship with Jesus.
  • Christian prayer does not always bring consolation, at least at the affective or emotional level; hoever, it does always bring an increase in this communion.
  • In prayer we learn to crawl into the wounded side of the Savior and find our home next to His Sacred Heart.
  • Prayer is the most concrete way to make our home in God.

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