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From the Pastor's Pen

Yes We're Here —at least we might as well be. Wednesday is Ash Wednesday, the

traditional start of Lent. The rest of the week is actually preparation for the start of the

Lenten Sundays, the journey of Jesus to the Cross and Resurrection. So, many people

come to Ash Wednesday to receive ashes, and some actually feel that they’ve “done

Lent.” The ashes are a sign of willingness to die, to be reduced to ashes, on the rest of

the 40 day Lenten journey.

In the last week I sent a letter to each parish household on several important and deep opportunities for Lent. Starting the first full week, Wed. March 4, we’ll get teaching and training on an ancient, and cotemporary, approach to prayer from a dynamic young Catholic, continuing to Wed. March 11. After a week for now that’s a pause, we’ll have our Ecumenical Evening Prayer and preaching for two weeks starting March 25.

And we’re resuming the Word On Fire faith sharing groups (some haven’t stopped), this time on the Mass. I urge you to be part of a group to view these videos on the central mystery of our Catholic prayer life, a mystery so profound we haven’t scratched the surface of its meaning yet.

Next week the core Lenten readings begin with Jesus’ temptations in the deserts. BECAUSE of his fasting and prayer, he was able to overcome Satan’s enticements, with the use of Scripture and his prayer. In fact, what I want to share here next week is the essence of Jesus’ 40 days in the desert: His complete identification with his Father. I want to share how I found a piece of this in my retreat time in the desert in November.

So Lent is not about a 40-day test period to see if we can temporarily give something up. It’s about growing in this union with the Father, and giving up—permanently—whatever may interfere with that lifegiving union. As we come to Ash Wednesday and beyond, see what you may need to let go of—or to embrace and take up—what will leave you more confident in the Lord.


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