Preparing for Lent

Waking up this morning and I could smell spring trying to emerge. The birds are out chirping, but the weatherman is still predicting another snow storm. March is on the verge of arriving, but we are still stuck in February. This does mean that Lent is around the corner and we should begin to prepare for it. The only thing is how do we prepare for Lent? Well, I have come up with a couple of ways in which we should begin to prepare for the Easter season.

What does my heart and soul need?

This is a question I ask myself daily. All of our hearts and souls need to be nourished differently. For some, it may be daily meditation, and for others, it may be quietly listening. Either way, it should be able to help us focus on the Lenten message. This year’s message is about heart and soul. Pope Francis reminds us that the other person is a gift, sin blinds us, and the Word is a gift. Keep this in mind when you are listening to your heart and soul.

What about my life makes me happy?

We all have things in our lives that make us unhappy. Why don’t we for once focus on what makes us happy? For instance, we should be happy to have our health, a roof over our head and food on the table. There are plenty of people who would love to have one of the items mentioned. Find something about your life that makes you happy and focus on it. Not only will it make your day better, but the positivity can be contagious.

Stop and listen.

This brings all of the Lenten preparation together. Think about what Pope Francis told us about in his message: Lent is a new beginning… and you should be using it to deepen your faith and friendship with Jesus. He is our gift, helps us refrain from sin, and we should live His word.

The best way to Stop and Listen is to attend mass during Lent with a renewed thirst for Jesus. You are being led on how to love and listen which is what the season is all about. Remember, the most important thing is to attend mass, and you are able to give your offering online with Parish Giving. You just worry about listening and worry less about checks, envelopes, and cash. We can take care of that for you.      

Love One Another A Follow-up to #SelfloveSunday

I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another. John 13:34

We often associate this time of the year with Valentine’s Day. For some, the hunt is on for a significant other if they do not have one already. For others, it is time to look within themselves. We know we have to love ourselves before we can love someone else, but what about our neighbor?  Just keep in mind, it is all about love.

Who is your neighbor?

We often ponder the above question. Who is our neighbor? Is it strictly the person next door, or is it people who live around you? Well, your neighbor is anyone you interact with. The woman who is at the grocery store hoping her check doesn’t bounce when buying food; it’s the man driving around in the fancy car; it’s the kid’s playing outside in their tree house. All of these people are your neighbor.

Ways to love your neighbor.

There is no right or wrong way to love your neighbor, but there are multiple ways you can show your love. Some ways are:   

•    Giving Blood – the American Red Cross is always looking for all blood types. Don’t wait for a natural disaster to donate.

•    Say please and thank you and mean it. They go a long way and make people feel good when you use them.

•    Recycle. Whether it is just rinsing out a jar of peanut butter, or using reusable bags, we should all do our part in keeping our community nice. This also means keeping litter off of our streets. If you see some, pick it up! No one enjoys driving down roads and seeing trash along the side of it.

•    Adopt a soldier. Think about if your son or daughter was far away from home – wouldn’t you want them to have a family to visit for the holidays? If you live in a military enriched community, think about having some young recruits over for a Sunday dinner. I’m sure they’d appreciate a home-cooked meal.

•    Volunteer at Vacation Bible School. Parish Giving is a big advocate for VBS! So much so that we have online forms to make those who work and volunteer at the parish lives much easier. We keep you organized so you can focus on educating young minds.

Why should we love our neighbor?

If we want to live in an enriched community, love is always the first step. You need to love yourself and love your neighbor. Once you have done that, volunteer your time (if you have any available) to help deepen the lives around you. Spread the word of loving your neighbor because if you do not, then who will?