Our Lenten Reply to Love

“What are you giving up for Lent?”  Among Catholics on or around Ash Wednesday, this question could be a typical conversation starter.  Many of us are familiar with the typical answers, such as chocolate or other sweets, our favorite show on TV, smoking, alcoholic beverages, etc.

For those of us in religious life, many of these things are already not a part of our daily life, so it is necessary to go a bit deeper to find either something to give up or something positive to do.  The professed sisters at the motherhouse this year have decided to focus on one aspect of our life each week of Lent and find creative ways to allow that focus to draw us deeper into our way of life and into the heart of this season of grace. 

A couple of sisters created a little box in which they put paper hearts that have one aspect of our life written on each one. We will draw out a heart each week of Lent and discuss ways we could either individually or communally focus on it.
For example, if we drew out the heart that says “Eucharistic life,” we could look for ways to minimize distractions during Mass or personal prayer.  We could make greater efforts to come to chapel early (not just on time) for prayer.  We could read and reflect on paragraphs from our Constitutions that refer to our communal devotion to the Eucharist.  We could also choose to reflect on passages in scripture that refer to the Eucharist, such as chapter 6 of the gospel of John.  These are just some ideas that came up even before Lent started!

Well, this week we drew the heart that said “Contemplation,” so already in this first week of Lent we are challenged to reflect on ways that we can go deeper in our life of contemplation.  Of course, contemplation is a gift from God, but the more we dispose ourselves to receiving that gift, the more fully we will be able to live our call which is a blessing for the whole Church, and even the entire world. 

Our community was founded to renew the contemplative dimension of the Third Order Regular of St. Francis.  What that means is that everything we do in our way of life and ministries flows out of a deep life of prayer.  We cannot give the love of Jesus to college students, the homeless or jobless persons who come into Samaritan House in downtown Steubenville, or even to each other, unless we have first received His love in our contemplative prayer. 

Maybe our focus on our contemplative life this week can be a grateful reply to the Lord’s generous love which we commemorate in a special way during Lent as we contemplate with greater intensity His Passion, Death and Resurrection.

What are you doing for Lent to reply to Love?

You may also like

No comments:

Powered by Blogger.