One of the best ways to begin Lent is with the Holy Father’s message:
From what I have said thus far, it seems abundantly clear that fasting represents an important ascetical practice, a spiritual arm to do battle against every possible disordered attachment to ourselves. Freely chosen detachment from the pleasure of food and other material goods helps the disciple of Christ to control the appetites of nature, weakened by original sin, whose negative effects impact the entire human person. Quite opportunely, an ancient hymn of the Lenten liturgy exhorts: “Utamur ergo parcius, / verbis cibis et potibus, / somno, iocis et arctius / perstemus in custodia – Let us use sparingly words, food and drink, sleep and amusements. May we be more alert in the custody of our senses.”
Later today, the Pope will preside at Mass at St. Sabina. A homily text will be available soon after, I hope.
Here is the Aggie Catholic mega post on Lent, with all kinds of good links.
If we are seeking to give shape to our Lenten spiritual practices, the best place to root ourselves is in what the Church gives us – the traditional disciplines of fasting, prayer and almsgiving, and the prayer of the Church – the Liturgy of the Hours and the Mass. The best place to begin is at Universalis.com. There is no need to reinvent the wheel. The wheel exists. As Flannery O’Connor wrote to her friend “A:”
Anyway, don’t think I am suggesting you read the Office everyday. It’s just a good thing to know about, I say Prime in the morning and sometimes I say Compline at night but usually I don’t. But anyway I like parts of my prayers to stay the same and part to change. So many prayer books are awful, but if you stick with the liturgy, you are safe.
I would be remiss if I didn’t call your attention to Michael’s book The Power of the Cross and the podcasts he did based on the book for KVSS in Omaha – he certainly would be doing so if he were here, I don’t hesitate to point out! Our pastor wrote in our bulletin that it “reads like a novel,” and in a way, it does, for Michael was always just full of stories that he could connect, it always seemed to me, effortlessly.
My heart is ready, O God, my heart is ready.
More later. I have some things to share, but as usual, struggle to do so in a way that is most helpful to everyone.
I am off to pick up Katie at school and attempt Mass at EWTN – if we can’t get in the main chapel and are going to have to sit in the room next to the chapel and watch it on a screen…we’ll dash further down the road to another parish.
Several people have placed book orders with me over the past month. I should be able to start filling those next week. Thanks.