This reflection originally appeared in an email to Knights and Dames of the Holy Sepulchre, Eastern Lieutenancy and has been reprinted here for the Knights of St. John with permission from the authoring priest.
As we begin yet another Lenten journey with the imposition of Ashes, we know how Lent “works”: give things up, be nicer to people, give more of our time/treasure, pray more. Sounds about right doesn’t it? All of these are wonderful ways to ‘enter into’ the spirit of repentance that Lent affords us, but do they fulfill us as they should? Do we leave the Season of Lent ‘better’ than we entered by doing any of these things? If we choose to really make Lent meaningful, may I suggest a few ‘new’ things to do instead of the usual fare:
Reflections on Scripture are great, but study of them is even better. Take a book of the Bible (some suggestions are Proverbs or the Book of Job in the Old Testament, for those who are New Testament people, the Letter to the Hebrews or the Letter of St. James are good places to start) – whichever direction you choose, do not just ‘read them’ for the sake of reading them, but pray with them. Take each day of Lent as an opportunity to be nourished by the words of Scripture, read them at least 2x before putting the Bible down and ask yourself – How can I let the message of this passage live through my life today?
The Catholic Gentleman Fears God
We’ve heard of consecrations to Mary and Joseph (some may be participating in the Consecration to St. Joseph as we speak). I recommend beginning a consecration to Our Lady (as 33 days to March 25th, the Solemnity of the Annunciation, would begin on Ash Wednesday). There are two amazing options for participation: First is the traditional version offered by St. Louis de Montfort (of which there is an app called ‘My Consecration’ which is FREE and available for iPhone and Android to download and use) or the version offered by Fr. Michael Gaitley entitled “33 Days to Morning Glory”. Either version would be a wonderful way to journey with Our Lady of Sorrows to the Cross of her Son and to ask Mary’s intercession through our Lenten Journey.
Pray Like Aquinas
Maybe the opportunity to attend daily Mass in your parishes may be an option, or if your parish offers an evening Mass, shut the TV off and participate! For Sunday Mass, try arriving 15 minutes earlier to reflect on the readings that are being used for the day. The Sundays of Lent have amazing readings and each teaches invaluable lessons for us as we journey with the Lord in the desert of Lent.
Lastly, if you choose to give something up or give of yourself more – make the giving up permanent. In other words, do not just do ‘the giving up’ for Lent. If you can give it up for Lent, you probably do not need it going forward?! Just a suggestion…..
I pray for all the Knights & Dames of our beloved order and wish you all a blessed, holy and faith-filled Lenten Season.
Rev. Jean-Pierre A. Seon, KCHS