Dear Parishioners and Friends of St. John’s,
At this stage in Lent, you may find that you’ve seen some spiritual dividends from your Lenten resolutions. Perhaps at least the spirit of the season has begun to affect you. The simple liturgies and the plain hymns at Mass remind us that though we meet our Incarnate Lord there, we remain in a vale of tears. And Lent reminds us that we have done our fair share to contribute to the despair of the world.
I saw a chiropractor once who gave me a brief examination and suggested that I schedule thirty appointments with him. I found this excessive since I rarely saw a physician. And yet I was told that this is standard practice for chiropractors. After three weeks of three appointments a week, though, the schedule relaxed considerably. Could you imagine someone giving you a spiritual examination and suggesting intense and immediate attention that you didn’t think you needed? Might Lent be the time for such an overhaul?
Prayer, fasting, and almsgiving help us to open ourselves to the gift of humility, which is a true recognition of our status before God. We become aware of our life before God also in preparation for sacramental confession. If you are not in the habit of frequent confessions, make a point to make one this Lent. And when you do, you might set aside any prepared conscience exam. When you draw near to the Lord in silence, he will show you your sins. Spend more time on contrition for those sins than in drawing up a long list. True contrition at your deliberately separating yourself from God and his Church prepares the way for his mercy and forgiveness. And your resolution not to sin again secures this grace even more. Imagine the state of your spiritual health after a little treatment with this medicine.
That my joy may be in you, and your joy may be complete,