Saturday, March 22, 2008

Lent is ending - Are you changed?

Catholic’s are an Easter People – yes we love Christmas and the birth of Christ signals the beginning of all that will form our beliefs. But if there was no Easter – the resurrection – Christmas would simply be a beautiful story. It is only through His death and resurrection that our salvation is possible.

So, tonight we will celebrate the Easter Vigil and those that have been attending RCIA classes for the pasted year will be welcomed into the Church. Some will be baptized and others will enter the Church by their profession of faith – having been baptized prior into other religions. It will be a night for much celebration throughout the Catholic community. In Atlanta alone we will be welcoming almost 2,000 New Catholic’s into the Church. As adults they will receive 3 of the 7 sacraments tonight – Baptism, Conformation and Eucharist. Needless to say Lent has changed these New Catholic’s. They have been attending classes for many months – studying the Catholic doctrine. Preparing themselves through scripture reading and prayer.

Has Lent changed you?

Many of us have observed Lent through the three traditional pillars of Lenten observance which are prayer, fasting and almsgiving.

Prayer: More time given to prayer during Lent should draw us closer to the Lord.

Fasting: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.

Abstaining from meat traditionally also linked us to the poor, who could seldom afford meat for their meals. It can do the same today if we remember the purpose of abstinence and embrace it as a spiritual link to those whose diets are sparse and simple. That should be the goal we set for ourselves—a sparse and simple meal. Avoiding meat while eating lobster misses the whole point!

Almsgiving: 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.

Now we come to the night that we ask ourselves – Did Lent change me – Have I grown closer to the Lord or have I simply spent the pasted 40 days going through life as usual?

My prayer for you is that in some way the celebration of Lent has made a difference in your life and that you will continue to live out your Lent all year.