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Lenten Times

By: John Dacey on March 16th, 2023

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Lenten Times

Celebrating family life

Our grandsons are fascinated by railroad trains and have collected several small model locomotives and freight cars. A model train hobby captures the imagination and teaches about history, physics, technology, and commerce. The kids have ridden on a real train and were delighted by the sights and sounds of the experience. 

cute-girl-and-grandfather-admiring-wheel-of-old-steam-locomotive.jpg_s=1024x1024&w=is&k=20&c=Patm_AQZnVLabjwkwNZI9E2pOc1k8kqGPFndwm4CEUg=I faintly remember riding on a local steam passenger train as a child. I recall the engine’s noise, the pluming smoke, the hiss of steam, the squeal of wheels, and the conductor’s call. I also remember my mother on the station platform paying close attention to the time and securely holding my hand. 

I grew up with stories of how my grandfather was a brakeman for a local railway company and how the family lived close to the train yard so he could easily walk to work. I learned that his job involved traveling across the region on the trains, and in the freight yards, he would walk the tops of the boxcars. The stories transported me into imaginary adventures, the rails leading to new places and people. 

My grandfather had a special pocket watch that had to be periodically certified for accuracy. Now treasured by the family as an antique, the timepiece also symbolizes a way of life of over a century ago, a moment in time, the character of hard work, and the faithful commitment to providing and caring for a family. 

My grandfather’s life’s work was a constant movement in time. 

Lent offers us a reflection on the movement of time and how God’s Spirit moves us through our lifetime. It is a perfect time to consider God’s gracious, merciful embrace of us all. 

The liturgical readings of Lent often depict Jesus on the move, on the road from town to town, teaching and healing – witnessing to the faithfulness of God, to the presence of His reign among His people. 

“Jesus went around to all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and curing every disease and illness.” (Matthew 9:35) 

Jesus moves toward Jerusalem, where He will witness to the mystery of God’s boundless merciful love. 

Let us ask in our family Lenten prayer to keep pace with Jesus’ timing, to see and hear the “signs of the times,” to accompany Him in all of our times, and to recognize love’s ultimate triumph in our lives.

About John Dacey

John Dacey is a retired Catholic high school teacher. He has taught Scripture, Ethics, and Social Justice. He enjoys being in the company of family, reading in the field of spirituality, and gardening. John and his wife have been married for more than 40 years and have two children and four grandchildren.