March 4, 2011 – Thoughts on Lent and Other Stuff

I’ve had a few things juggling in my head this week (and its really getting noisy and painful), so it seems to be a good time to once again just throw out some random thoughts and see what happens.

It is hard to believe that we are already in the month of March and that Lent will begin on Wednesday.  I will be putting up some links on the website to Lenten related materials and reflections, and I will post the things our parish is doing for Lent.  As Lent approaches we of course think about what we will be giving up as a means of sacrifice.  My niece suggested that I give up using my computers.  I suggested that I should give up nieces.  I of course have  good excuses for all of my computer usage.  I have to use a computer at work, maintain the church website, and of course I have to keep blogging!  Well, I have to maintain the website anyway.

Seriously, I think Lent is a special time for us Christians to be reminded to thank God for all He has given us and to share our bounty with others, particularly in these difficult economic times.  Lent is also a time to turn our focus more toward God and to turn away from the sin which keeps us from fulfilling the mission God wants us to carry out.  I found a nice article talking about what the focus and purpose of Lent is meant to be.  It is a good read as we approach the season.  Here is the link to it:

www.catholic.org/clife/lent/faq.php#prayer

There were a couple of items in the news this week that caught my attention.  The first was a story about a basketball player from Brigham Young University who was suspended from the team the rest of the season for breaking the university’s code of honor.  It was later revealed that the violation was having pre-marital relations with his girlfriend.  Keep in mind that BYU has been ranked as high as #3 in the country and this player was a starter and the leading rebounder.  This of course brought about a lot of reaction, with many people wondering how he could be suspended for such a “minor” violation.

Whether his conduct was deserving of a suspension is a seperate argument.  I personally applaud the school for sticking to its principles even though it may mean that the team ultimately will not be as successful.  The player was of the Morman faith and grew up in Utah so he certainly was familiar with the rules.  It would have been easy for BYU to just sweep this under the rug until the season was over, but there are some things more important than winning at all cost.  So though I feel bad for the player and the team, I will be rooting for them and hope they still go far in the post-season tournament.

The other story that peaked my interest was about a study done at the University of Maryland in which 200 students went for 24 hours without any exposure to media, which meant no cell phones, computers, i-pods, TVs, etc.  Not only did many of the students miss their gadgets, they showed signs of utter dependence on their electronics.  A couple of weeks ago I threw out the question of whether we have become too dependent on our electronic devices, and this study may provide a basis for that question.  Here is a link to the article so you can see what you think:

www.withoutmedia.wordpress.com

So maybe during this Lent I will try to lessen my dependence on my electronic toys (your prayers needed and appreciated).

A while back I talked a little bit about “Fanning the Flame”, a program that the diocese is offering as part of the celebration of the 125th anniversary of the diocese next year.  The program will be based on study of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which basically is the official text of the teachings of the Church.  Whether you decide later on to participate in this program or not, the Catechism is a valuable resource for any Catholic.  Due to one circumstance or another, I received a few questions this week about the beliefs of the Church.  If I wasn’t sure of an answer, I referred to my Catechism for an answer.  If you do not want to invest the money for your own copy, you can find the Catechism online.  Here is the link to it:

www.scborromeo.org/ccc.htm

Besides my usual religious duties, I will be an especially good Catholic this weekend.  I went and got fish from the KC this evening (yum, yum), and Sunday I plan to attend the Spring Bingo.  I can safely say that I have no issues with showing off my Catholic identity.  Mother Angelica, take a back seat.

Finally, it was another rough week for us Cardinal fans as injuries continued to hit the squad.  However, just when you think that you have hit the depths, just when you think that this may be the year to concede our dominance over our archrivals, the Cubs committ 14 errors in 4 games and have a fight amongst themselves in the dugout.  I actually heard one Cub fan say that the fight meant that the team is fired up and is determined to have a good year.  Oh these poor, delusional people.  It almost makes me feel sorry for these misguided souls – NOT!!

May the upcoming Lenten season be a true time of conversion and spiritual fulfillment for you.  Until next week, Peace.

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