Catholic Moments Lent 2022 Wisdom from my Uncle

My Uncle Jim Shafer and my Mom after my brother’s wedding

Last week I wrote my musings about Lent this year and my hope for moving closer to Jesus.

Today I received a note in my inbox from my Uncle who is a priest at my home parish in Indiana. He published his musings in their bulletin. It is with his permission that I share those thoughts with you…

Lent is underway.  Beginning last Wednesday with a blessing of ashes from our God (a sort of dying), we have entered a 90 day retreat on the Dying and Rising of Jesus.  Lent and Easter are focused on the Triduum, the three holiest days of the year—Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter both Vigil and Day—the Triduum which sits like a fulcrum between Lent and Easter.  Lent is the penitential piece, focusing me on my need of repentance by encouraging me to become aware of my failures to be the disciple I have been called to be.  No whipping, no beating, no self flagellation, no excessive religiosity is required…just a quiet, peaceful, honest and thorough self examination is necessary.  What ways am I not growing in my discipleship of Jesus?  Penances of denial and spiritual practices during Lent are meant to remind me about my need to get my act together with God.  They are good and good to do, not in or for themselves, but to the degree that they remind me that I am a beloved child of God that has not been living up to that belief.  Easter is a season that celebrates that I have actually done my Lent and now rejoice in the “new life”, the renewal and deepening of faith I have received by doing the “work” of Lent.  God graces our efforts to be more in touch with the Divine.  Whatever it takes for you, make it personal for you, do the work of Lent…enjoy it as it awakens you to your shortcomings, increases your longing to be a beloved child and live like one, and opens your beloved soul to the abundance of grace (Love) that God has been wanting to give you all along.  Lent can so good for the soul.

Jesus in the desert, being tempted by the devil, for forty days is a good model for our reflection.  Having just been baptized in the Jordan by John the Baptist, He is encouraged by the Spirit to go into the desert to be tempted NOT to follow the Father’s plan for Him.  The temptations are like ours…pleasure, power, possessions…all good in themselves, if used properly…but which can be the source of my choosing of them over God and God’s ways, especially when I become excessive about any of them.  I sometimes reflect on Lent as a season inward, Easter as a season outward…where am I and where am I going.  I love the reflection of Lent…I relish His abundant grace/life in Easter.  You can’t have one without the other.  A ninety day retreat!  Be happy!  St Joseph, pray for our Lent!

Fr Jim

I think maybe he ought to write a book or two! I’ll echo his words, Be Happy! St. Joseph, pray for our Lent!

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