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Reflections: Lent 2019

What will you do this Lent? Or why do anything special this Lent? These are very important questions to ask ourselves.

Many Christians have traditionally seen Lent as a sacred season of 40 days of spiritually uniting ourselves with Jesus who spent 40 days in the desert wilderness preparing himself for his public ministry. Marti gras is a French title for the day before Ash Wednesday and it means “Fat Tuesday” because on that day people would consume any remaining meat or meat products from their food supplies to prepare to engage in a 40-day season of penance. To a great degree our culture has lost Lent and its purpose. But Lent certainly has much to offer anyone who wants to grow closer to God during this special time.

So what can one do? The three practices that come from Jesus own words (Mt 6:1-18) and have been used throughout history are: Prayer, fasting and almsgiving. These are ancient but proven means useful for any serious follower of Jesus. So what can I do besides give up chocolate?

Here are a few options:

Fasting: Take some quiet time daily. Turn off the noise and distractions. Some of us are virtually addicted to distractions from internet, cell phones, TV or even work. We need to fast from all this noise and activity at least for some time daily if God is going to be able to break through to us. God wants to communicate with each of us His beloved sons and daughters. Are you ready to quiet yourself so you can hear what he wants to say?

Prayer: By clearing some space within our busy lives through fasting (as above) there is the chance of our experiencing God’s presence and love. There are many meditation booklets but of course the Bible is always #1 for inspiration since it is God’s Holy Word.

Almsgiving: Scripture teaches that charity covers a multitude of sins. Our charity pushes us outside of ourselves to show true compassion for others. There are countless ways to share our resources with others. Almsgiving could be donating to a relief organization of which there are many from local to international. Almsgiving can also include personally reaching out to others in need in a variety of spontaneous or organizational ways. Time and attention (that is our full and undivided attention) is one of the greatest gifts we can give and is so needed in our society today. If you are willing to sit and patiently listen to someone who is lonely you will be doing a great act of charity.

It is always important to check to see where our heart is at in whatever we do in order that our efforts be not for our own glorification but for the glory of God.

Krebs is the pastor at Our Lady of Grace Catholic Church in Minot.

Reflections, a mini-sermon written by Minot and area clergy, will appear each Saturday in The Minot Daily News. Clergy interested in writing a mini-sermon should contact Andrea Johnson at 857-1945 or ajohnson@minotdailynews.com

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