Dear Friends of Saint Ann’s Shrine,
The 40 days of the season of Lent in the Church’s liturgical cycle is the time when we are asked to participate in the life of Christ in a special way. We too often consider it just a time to give up something that we like. We make a choice of what we give up, too often, of what is easy.
I (Father Mike) think that I will give up coffee and alcoholic drinks. Well, I am a tea drinker and drink very little alcohol. I should give up desserts such a cake and cookies. That may help me lose some weight, not much because I don’t like most cake and cookies (unless they are the homemade chocolate and oatmeal raisin cookies made by our cook…wonderful cookies and difficult to resist). Too hard.
Wait a minute. Would any of this help me to become more like Christ and to live His life more closely? That is the whole purpose of liturgical seasons. We want to come closer and closer to joining Saint Paul when he wrote “I live now, not I, but Christ lives in me.”
Lent ends with the suffering, crucifixion, and death of our Lord…and then His resurrection. It is to be able to share in these events more deeply that we celebrate this season. The result of our sacrifices should deepen our knowing that we don’t live for this life alone. We are a people who know that God has made us to share His life for all eternity and need to live the life of His Son now so as to enter into His resurrection.
What sacrifices are we to make? That is a personal choice for each of us to make. Fortunately, we will not have to stand before others, be rejected, be beaten and crowned with thorns, carry a cross and be mailed to it. We are grateful that God has spared us this. But we do have inevitable difficulties and sorrow to bear which we can do without anger or bitterness.
One way to share the life of Our Lord is to share who we are, what we do, and what we have for the good of others. Thus, they will come to meet the reality of Our Lord and come to share His life also. Our expressions and work of love for someone may be the only time they can know His love for them.
In our nation and communities, we have a super abundance of material things. Sharing these with the poor, the suffering, the lonely, the oppressed, the homeless, and the refugee is one way to extend Christ’s love in us with those who need it most.
Another recommended practice is to share in prayer and in the sacraments, especially the Eucharist where we increase Christ’s presence in ourselves to give us the strength to extend it to others in whatever way we find possible in our daily life. We must also remember that our faith practices must be put into effect.
Here at Saint Ann’s Shrine and within the Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament, we are also striving to bring people to Our Lord and ultimately share in His resurrection. We also have programs extending the love of Christ given through the Eucharist throughout our country. We need your help to be able to do this. Please make a part of your sharing in and extending Christ’s life by making a donation to Saint Ann’s Shrine. Make this a part of your Lenten sacrifice, confident that it will be an extension of your faith, love, and sharing of Christ’s life.