Return to him and give up sin, pray to the LORD and make your offenses few.

Today’s Readings are prepping us for the upcoming Lenten season.  Are you ready for this?  I have spent some time thinking about what my goals are for this Lent.  A few years back I made the commitment to treat this a 6-week retreat.  I remember growing up that I never truly enjoyed the season of Lent.  I never enjoyed having to wear ashes on my forehead (Ash Wednesday) but in contrast to that, that is one of the things my children are most proud of…and I’ve noticed not just them, but many.  Our parish will have (3) Masses this coming Wednesday and at each one of them it will be standing room only.  I’ve found that rather curious because Ash Wednesday isn’t even a Holy Day of Obligation.  Regardless, it is a beautiful sight to behold when you see standing room only congregations.

Also, back in the day we were obligated to “give something up” for Lent.  Soon after the candy ran out from Christmas you started thinking about what it was that you could tolerate not having for 6 weeks solid.  Once you made the announcement of what your Lenten sacrifice would be, there was no turning back.  Mom and Dad never forgot what is was that each of us seven said we would do and even if they did, one of the seven would gladly point out what our sacrifice was if by chance Mom and Dad forgot.

“Jack, I made pudding for dessert tonight.  Who else would like some?”  No sooner would those words be spoken at the end of a dinner that six of the seven siblings would yell out – “Jerry gave up desserts for Lent – he doesn’t get any!!!”.  Man, what was I thinking?  But I would rebound and exclaim – “Well, you guys gave up TV and Happy Day’s is on tonight – HAH!!!” to which Mom would reply – “Jerry, go to bed after dinner for being that way.”  I digress.

Are we ready for the 40 days and 40 nights of Lent?  I am.  I’ve chosen a couple goals that I would like to accomplish over these next 6 weeks.  I am going to spend evenings praying and studying about the Scourging of Christ.  I’ve already started.  Some of the prayers I’ve been ending with lately are from the diaries of Blessed Elizabeth Anne Emmerich, a woman who dedicated her life to the Precious Blood of Christ.  I hope through the guidance of the Holy Spirit to gain a much deeper understanding of that ultimate pain that Christ endured for me, for you, for all who believe.  I also intend to make my meals much simpler throughout lent, mainly consisting of bread, rice and beans, vegetables -no meat of any kind.  Turning vegetarian you ask?  No, but it won’t hurt to make that sacrifice for the next 6 weeks.  I will work the fish fry every Friday; spend time in the Adoration Chapel each week.

My goals are lofty, but they need to be.  As we read in Today’s Gospel, all things are possible with God, through God, in God.  I hope these next 6 weeks puts me on that path, that very narrow path, that leads me to God and the richness of all we are promised by living a life of constant praise to God.

Do something great for our Lord today – set your goals for your Lenten retreat.

God’s will, not mine, be done.

Be not afraid; just have Faith.

Jesus, I trust in You.

He must increase; I must decrease.

Eternal Father, I offer Thee the most Precious Blood of Jesus Christ in atonement for my sins, and in supplication for the holy souls in Purgatory and for the needs of Holy Church.

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