The Deacon’s Bench

Lent has begun… and I nearly have all my Christmas decorations put away… nearly! I don’t know if everyone feels that time is flying by or is it that I am on the downward side of the mountain… either way it is the time to prepare for Easter. I remember when I was a kid, Lent was an entity unto itself. It was the time of additional prayers… weekly confession… rice bowl offerings (if you don’t know what that is check with one of the senior members), giving up candy, being nice to my sisters and trying… really trying to be a good person… and the best part was that we were guided throughout. Our parents… teachers… our priests and the good sisters were there every step of the way.

But as St. Paul tells us, “When I was a child, I spoke like a child, understood like a child, thought like a child; but when I became a man I put away childish things.”

That comforting guidance we had as children is gone and it’s now up to us to prepare ourselves, during this most solemn part of the year, for Holy Week and the Resurrection! It always seems by Easter I say to myself I could have and should have done more to prepare. I let a golden opportunity pass me by without much notice.

Things are different today. It seems we have been on a year long Lent with no end in sight. We have had to do without. Our whole lives have been disrupted… we have sustained inconvenience after inconvenience. We have been isolated from our families and friends. We have exercised extreme caution coming to Mass or not coming… postponed weddings and baptisms.. all while having the fear of catching the virus ever upon us. So, perhaps, these forty days can best be spent reviewing our spiritual life. Have we grow in the knowledge of our faith? Has our prayer life improved? Has our relationship with Jesus become closer, more intimate, more personal? Do we pray just using conventional prayers or do we bring to Jesus our loves, our joys… our failures and our disappointments? Just talk to Him! Tell Him about your concerns, your fears. He wants you to come to Him… He wants to have a strong, loving relationship with you. In Psalm 22 we read: “Cast your burden upon the Lord, and He shall sustain you.”

Sounds like good advice for this Lent!