Rejoice! It is Laetare Sunday...

Mar 9, 2018

My dear parish family,

Rejoice!  It is Laetare Sunday, which means that Lent is just a little

 more than halfway over.  It won’t be long before we will be rejoicing

 with the Universal Church at the liturgical celebration of our Lord’s

 Resurrection.  Yet, there is still much work for us to do.  We still have

 a few weeks of increased prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. (”Increased”

 because they should be a constant part of our Christian life.)

 A family friend recently shared her insight into the fact that Lent is

 about more than “Just giving up one thing.”  She said it struck her

 that it is a time to reform one’s whole life and develop habits which

 will last.  It is a time of purification of all in our lives that is not of God

 and not just a time to perform one act of penance.  She explained

 that ever since she was a child in the 1950’s the question has always

 been “What are you giving up for Lent this year?”  In her mind, and I

 imagine most of ours, it’s “What one thing?”

 And yet it is about so much more than just one thing.  The word

 “conversion” means a turning of one’s whole person to the Lord.  That

 is our thoughts, words, and deeds - which is all that we are.  It is a

 total change and more than giving up “just one thing.”

 I remember in the 1980’s the idea spreading that we ought not “give

 anything up but do something.”  It put the emphasis on the prayer and

 almsgiving (corporal works of mercy) rather than fasting.  However,

 Our Lord made it clear on Ash Wednesday in the Gospel at Mass, that

 He expects all three from us.  In Matthew’s sixth chapter he says

 “When you pray…” “When you fast…” When you give alms…”  Notice

 that He never says “If you…” but “When you…”  So, my prayer for you

 this Lent is to see how all three can bring you to a transformation in


 Before you continue in earnest with your acts of penance, rejoice

 today because even in the midst of our mortification and self-denial

 we may find joy knowing that we have been chosen by God to share

 with Him in His Easter victory.  By dying to ourselves and living for

 Him, heaven may be ours!  Rejoice!


In Jesus, Mary, and Joseph,

 Father Peter Idler


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