Read this week's message from Father Don
In our comfortable consumer society, I believe fasting/self-denial is the most important of the three traditional Lenten practices (fasting, prayer, almsgiving).
I must confess that I am not very good at fasting because, like most people, I have become
accustomed to an extremely comfortable lifestyle. I have a comfortable house, lots of clothes, and can choose to eat and drink whatever and whenever I want.
Changing this comfortable pattern seems to disrupt the easy flow of daily life, nonetheless, the words of Jesus offer us a good reminder “Man does not live on bread alone.” Here, Jesus is pointing out that if we live solely for food, clothes, shopping, and skiing, we are not really living.
Human beings are worth more than that. All of us find it hard to “give things up for Lent” but it is still a good practice. It helps restore a proper balance in our lives. It teaches us to say “no” to ourselves and this makes us stronger. Also, of course, self-denial is central to the life and teaching of Jesus who came “not to be served but to serve” and who invited his followers to take up their cross and follow him.
So, this year what you are going to give up for Lent? snacks, alcohol, TV, coffee?
In addition to your own personal self-denial, it is very beneficial for all parishioners to give up something together. A common act of self-denial reminds us that Lent is a shared experience and part of our community worship.
The Parish Leadership Team has selected the following shared act of self-denial for Lent 2023:
when you wake up in the morning, do not touch your phone, check your messages or post on social media for 15 minutes. Take a complete break from your cell phone, Apple Watch, computer, or any other electronics, and spend 3 of those 15 minutes praying for someone you know.
Limiting your use of electronics is a simple but beneficial form of self-denial. So many of us allow electronics to rule our lives. We spend hours every day sending and receiving messages, listening to podcasts, checking out Facebook and Youtube, or online gaming. Certainly, we enjoy our electronic devices, and they can be very useful, but we must learn how to discipline our usage of them.
Lent is a time for rebalancing our priorities and making helpful adjustments to our lifestyles. Taking a short break from social media, email, and the internet is a great Lenten penitential practice.
Have a good Lent,