The key to understanding the meaning of Lent is simple: Baptism. The season of Lent has its origins in the Baptismal catechumenate, and is the time when we look closely at our lives, just as the Catechumens are doing, to see where we need to change in order to draw closer to God and to others. It is about being for Christ and for others.
To this end the Church gives us three helps, the three “pillars” which support our Lenten journey and help us to focus on God and others:
These pillars are found in Jesus’ “Sermon on the Mount” (Matt 6:1-18). They are meant to help us to be ready and available to center on Christ and on the needs of others, for we meet Christ when we reach out in service to others.
More time given to prayer during Lent should draw us closer to the Lord. We might pray especially for the grace to live out our baptismal promises more fully. We might pray for the elect who will be baptized at Easter and support their conversion journey by our prayer. We might pray for all those who will celebrate the sacrament of reconciliation with us during Lent that they will be truly renewed in their baptismal commitment.
† Talk with God about your life, work, sufferings, and relationships. Ask God to help you in all areas of your life and to see what could be better.
† Along with your regular, familiar ways of prayer try a different way to pray during Lent: meditation, music, drawing, sacred movement or:
* Soul Walks on the Beach
* Labyrinth – Contemplative prayer walk
* The little black book- 6 minute daily reflections
† Use devotional prayers that lead you closer to God:
* Rosary (Tuesdays @ 6 p.m. and first Saturdays after 8:15 a.m. Mass)
* Stations of the Cross: We are blessed to have both indoor and outdoor Stations of the Cross.
- Mornings and Fridays evenings
- Living Stations (school) March 12 & 26 and April 9th from 12:30 -2:00 p.m.
* Eucharistic adoration in front the Blessed Sacrament: first and third Mondays.
* XLT (praise, worship and adoration) on March 16
† Attend daily Mass.
† Join in prayer for 40 Days of Life.
† Participate in a Lenten penance service, retreat, or event:
* St. Edward Lenten Penance Service is Monday 3/24 @ 7 p.m.
* St. Edward Lenten Event: Pilgrimage of the Heart: The Wisdom of the Christian Mystics. Monday, April 7 through Thursday April 10. 9:30 – 11 a.m. and repeated at 7:30 –9 p.m.
* St. Edward on-line retreat @ mobile.stedward.com
* Women’s Silent Retreat @Mater Dolorosa 4/4-6
* For adults @ Heart of Jesus Retreat Center on 3/11 and 3/12
Fasting is one of the most ancient practices linked to Lent. Fasting is more than a means of developing self-control. It is often an aid to prayer, as the pangs of hunger remind us of our hunger for God. Fasting is linked to our concern for those who are forced to fast by their poverty, those who suffer from the injustices of our economic and political structures, those who are in need for any reason. By our Baptism, we are charged with the responsibility of showing Christ’s love to the world, especially to those in need. Fasting can help us realize the suffering that so many people in our world experience every day, and it should lead us to greater efforts to alleviate that suffering.
† Give up a favorite food, coffee, or beverage and donate the money not spent to the poor.
† Cut back the time you spend on the computer, watching TV, playing video games and texting, or some other form of personal entertainment; and instead spend time visiting or helping family members, friends, neighbors, the elderly, the sick or the lonely.
† Give up complaining, whining, judging, gossip and other negative behaviors. Instead express thanks and be grateful for your blessings and burdens. Lift someone up rather than tear someone down. See Christ in all and treat all as Christ.
† Reflect on what is keeping you away from Christ. Consider what can you do instead that will draw you closer to Christ?
Almsgiving, or giving of financial aid to those in need, is also linked to our baptismal commitment. It is a sign of our care for those in need and an expression of our gratitude for all that God has given to us. Works of charity and the promotion of justice are integral elements of the Christian way of life we began when we were baptized.
† Share some of your income or allowance:
* To provide food and assistance to parishioners and those in need in our Dana Point and Capistrano Beach communities through our St. Edward Christian Service and St. Vincent de Paul ministries. Our collections on Ash Wednesday and Holy Thursday will be given to support these ministries’ efforts.
* To support the mission effort in your school (Catholic Relief Services’ Rice Bowl)
† Give your time and talents to visit the sick, elderly, lonely, imprisoned and home-bound.
† Contribute your time, talent, money or food to feed and provide services and support for the homeless, at-risk, and working poor in our communities through:
* iHOPE (Interfaith Homeless Outreach Project for Empowerment) www.ihopeoc.org
- Attend the Hearts for the Homeless Dinner and Silent Auction on Wed., March 12
* Welcome Inn Interfaith Needs Network (welcomeInnoc.org )
* Family Assistance Ministry (FAM) www.family-assistance.org