Lent has finally come. It is the latest in the Church calendar. In case you missed Ash Wednesday, you couldn't have missed the sanctuary without flowers or greenery and a purple altar cloth and purple wall hangings. It is the Lenten Season. A time that when I was a kid, there was that question of what I was giving up to “mortify the flesh”, it meant give up something I really liked to eat or do.
Now that I am an adult, not counting that I am a priest, the more important question is “what am I’m going to do EXTRA during this season?” The question that many people, myself included may ask of ourselves, how can I fit a new activity into my schedule that already is filled to overflowing? I’m too busy, and most of you are also. We’ll never “find the time” for Lent or any other new activity. We don’t “save” time for a day when we need more time. We live time day by day, moment by moment. No one’s going to give us more time and our time is not to be given to someone else who is needing a few extra hours in the day. God has already given us all the time we will ever need.
If we are going to do more of something: Lenten extras, Easter preparations or celebrations of anything, we are going to have to do less of something else. That is the essential rule of time management: if you want a half hour here, you have to take a half hour from there. It is a tradeoff. DO NOT take that time from sleeping and from nurturing personal relationships. Robbing yourself of sleep will take your energy, enthusiasm, efficiency, and none of us are spending enough time with the really important people in your life.
When I met with our Confirmation Candidates last month, I tried to impress upon them the importance to become a person/people of prayer. That does not mean that we need to spend hours in prayer each day, although that would not be bad. Being a person of prayer means taking the Lord along with you throughout your day. Begin the day with a whispered thought/prayer as you get dressed for the day, on the way to work/school thank the Lord for the day/the gasoline in your gas tank, that you are not walking to work as so many people in the world. How about thanking the Lord for your job/your freedom to go to school. If it is going to be a hard day at work/school let the Lord be by your side, invite Him along. Whispered thoughts/prayers do not take time, they take effort, a conscious effort to include the Lord in whatever you are doing.
We will be praying the Stations of the Cross along with Benediction on Friday evenings, make the time to come and spend 35 minutes in prayer, remembering that Christ chose to suffer and die for each of us.