February 28, 2009 – The Tests of Lent

These past few days have revealed something I need to work on this Lent and really throughout the year – improving my patience.  I came home from work Thursday evening to find that our landline phones were not working.  They were repaired yesterday afternoon, which in all honesty was very prompt service, but of course in the meantime I was on edge thinking “Why can’t somebody get here and get this stupid thing fixed!”.  Then this morning before I left for work I noticed a problem with our thermostat (which had been installed about 3 weeks ago) which was not allowing the furnace to come on properly, so it was another call to a repairman.  Then when I got home from work I went to pull something up on the computer, and I couldn’t get my internet to come up.  At this point I am near explosion, but then I get myself together and get my computer online again.  I repaired it the way I usually do – not really knowing what the problem is but unplugging and plugging back in enough stuff that it starts working again.  After a few minutes to decompress, I realize that I’m not the only one with problems, and that mine are very minor compared to what other people are facing, so I vow this Lent to try to STOP WHINING!

How have your first few days of Lent been so far?  I have been sticking with the program I laid out for myself – I have done a daily reflection, and after much debate I also decided that I would give up Doritos for Lent.  People who know me well will appreciate what a sacrifice this will be for me,  especially considering that during my last stop at the grocery store, they had my favorite flavor back on the shelf that I hadn’t seen in a couple of months – its a combination of ranch and pizza flavors in one bag, and when the flavors mix together – oooh, divine!  I also made it through lunch at Reid’s yesterday while passing by the chicken, italian beef, BBQ, and even the bacon in the green beans.  So far, so good.

I guess I find it a little odd how big a deal Ash Wednesday is to some Catholics, especially those who are not regular “church-goers”.  It is not a Holy Day of Obligation, yet people flock to church in droves and get their ashes any way they can.  I heard a story on the radio Wednesday that a priest in St. Louis was standing on a street corner distributing “drive-by” ashes.  What’s next – drive-thru communion?  And you see politicians, TV personalities, etc. who never mention their Catholic faith, yet on Ash Wednesday they are sporting the smudge on their forehead.  But when a Holy Day rolls around, well you can pretty much have your own private Mass.  Well, I guess we’ve got them for at least one day.  Let’s keep in our prayers this Lent that the holiness of the season can endure throughout the season and beyond.

The first weekend of Lent brings an important step for our RCIA candidates.  This evening they will participate in the “Rite of Sending” at the 5:00PM Mass, then tomorrow (March 1) they will join other candidates from throughout the diocese at the Cathedral for the “Rite of Election”.  I think this is a sign that our church remains strong and has a message that people are hungry for because despite our problems, we continue to bring adults into our faith as full members.  Please continue to pray for our candidates, sponsors and RCIA team as they continue the journey to the Easter Vigil and reception of the sacraments of initiation.

On a final note, a little more church business to talk about – if you have not already received your letter from the Diocese concerning the Catholic Service and Ministry Appeal, you will be receiving it shortly.  Our parish has always been tremendously generous in giving to this appeal, and I have no doubt we will be again, but with the shape of our economy some folks will be tempted to cut down or eliminate their pledge.  Let me assure you that the monies collected go to the essential services our diocese provides -education, catholic charities, social services, etc.  We have also in the past received funding from this appeal, so please be as generous as you can (as you always have been). 

One more final note (I promise) – we are approaching a milestone on our website – we are near 10,000 total pages viewed.  WOW!  Thanks again for continuing to visit and to spread the word.  God Bless all of you.  Peace.

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