Dear Parishioners and Friends of St. John’s,
I hope your week has been blessed so far, and I imagine you have inklings of the approaching season of Lent. “When is Ash Wednesday this year?” we tend to ask around this time each year. The answer is that it is less than three weeks away! March 2 is Ash Wednesday. So, it is a good time to begin considering a spiritual practice that you will take on for Lent.
Prayer, fasting and almsgiving are the traditional penances of Lent. Fasting is the practice of giving up something good for something better. Thus, we give up eating meat on Ash Wednesday and all Fridays of Lent (no age exceptions), for the greater good of honoring Christ’s flesh. This is the reason for abstaining from meat since the first days of the Church—it was on a Friday that the enemies of Our Lord tore into his flesh. And in common protest against the rending of His flesh, we do not eat meat on that day. For all meat takes on the resemblance of his flesh on that day.
You might also take on a new discipline for Lent. Dante’s Divine Comedy was written for this season. If you read one or two cantos (chapters) a day for the 40 days of Lent (3-4 pages), you will complete the Inferno and Purgatorio just in time for Easter, and can then begin Paradiso! Ten minutes of spiritual reading a day is a great Lenten practice – our library has ample supply of good spiritual authors.
Finally, you might want to enroll in Financial Peace University, beginning Feb. 24. For all who struggle with great debt or financial instability, this can be the path to sharing in the freedom that our Lord promises. Contact the parish office (651) 633-8333, or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or to register.
That my joy may be in you, and your joy may be complete,
Father Andy Jaspers