Penitence is really about conversion. We are turning towards the Lord and away from what is harmful and sinful. The three disciplines of Lent - fasting, almsgiving, and prayer - are to help us leave behind what separates us from God.
"What now, Lent? Penance?”, some might think. “After all we’ve been through with COVID, haven’t we given up enough?"
The gift is that in turning away from what separates us from God, we are effectively turning toward God, with our hearts more open to Him.
We can change our recent challenges into kindling wood of a Lenten fire that will purify and warm our hearts in the Holy Spirit.
How do we do that?
During Lent we are to choose life, to choose Christ, with a new intensity.
We are to pick up our daily crosses in preparation for Holy Week and to stand at the foot of the Cross with Mary as Christ suffers, dies and rises again. To celebrate the great Paschal Mystery – how God works through suffering to bring new life.
The cross is our hope, a hope that at this time in our history, we need to share.
To begin this Lent I suggest that you take stock of where you are now. What about those COVID challenges?
Gather them up, let yourself feel them - and then give them to the Lord. Nail them to the cross. Abandon them and yourself to Jesus.
First do this in quiet solitude, and then I hope you can to this with your spouse and your family. Talk with your children, let them share what they’ve been going through.
Hold your rosary, say some Hail Mary's slowly, and Our Lady can help you go inside to meet Jesus.
More and deeper prayer is the core practice of Lent.
If you do what I am suggesting you’ll begin to embrace what you have already been giving up during COVID and maybe you’ll see what God wants you to give up for Lent, to stop doing in your life to come closer to Him.
We at Family Rosary are here to help you and your family through Lent! Go to our webpage FamilyRosary.org for help each day for living Lent together. Accompany us on our Lenten Family Journey, "At the Foot of the Cross."
Lent is about renewing faith, deepening hope, and intensifying our love. Even in these strange times, believe it or not, this could be your best Lent ever.
To view Rosary prayer and Mass streaming live,please visit our Facebook pageat 11:30 am EST, Monday – Friday. Please invite your loved ones to join us too! (You don't need a Facebook account to view.)
About Father Jim Phalan, C.S.C.
Father James Phalan, C.S.C., is a Catholic priest, member of the Congregation of Holy Cross and the National Director of Family Rosary. He served as a missionary for many years travelling the globe to help people come to Jesus through Mary as part of the Family Rosary team. Now he is happy to be serving back at home in the USA!