Now the annual challenge presents itself. What will I do for Lent? The Psalmist advises us: “Busy not yourself with great things, things beyond your reach” Pope Francis reminds us that Jesus asked his disciples to pay attention to details - the little details:
- that wine was running out at a party
- of noticing that one sheep was missing
- of noticing the widow who offered two small coins
- of having spare oil for the lamps should the groom delay
- of asking the disciples how many loaves of bread they had
We are not ordinarily called to do significant things each day, but to do simple things, but always with Jesus in mind. May I give some examples?
- ten minutes of complete silence each day: “Be still and know that I am God”
- visits to the Blessed Sacrament, if only brief
- take prayerful notice of God’s beauty in nature
- dust off the New Testament
- Sunday Mass: review readings at home; get to church 10 minutes earlier
- daily prayers: Sign of the Cross, Our Father, etc, performed more deliberatively and reflectively
- attend somehow to a poor or lonely person
- sacramentals in the house? Be more prayerfully conscious of them as you pass by
- a daily prayer with spouse and family (family Rosary?)
- seek to heal estranged relationships, whether involving yourself or others
- a daily prayer for members of the Order facing difficulties
Surely, you will not do all of these each day: choose one or two, step by step, and you will undoubtedly come up with others, more suited to your routine.
Saint Anselm’s advice:
“Insignificant man, escape from your everyday business for a short while, hide for a moment from your restless thoughts. Break off from your cares and troubles and be less concerned about your tasks and labors. Make a little time for God and rest a while with him.”
A successful Lenten Pilgrimage to all!
Edwin Cardinal O'Brien
(March 6, 2019)