Are you ready for an incredible journey?
We are about to embark on the season of Lent even though we may feel we have just recovered from the Christmas experience!
So what does Lent mean to us all and what can we do to bring it to life in a fresh and new way this year?
Lent marks the 40 days in the desert that Jesus spent before discerning the direction of His life and mission. It can be expressed in three key ways;
- Prayer – a time to find space in our busy lives for God.
- Almsgiving – looking to commit to supporting those most in need by looking out for those around us.
- Fasting – looking to make a sacrifice in our lives by having less for us to benefit others.
The idea of this is to embark on a journey back to God. Like any relationship it benefits from time, reflection and space.
I hope I can offer two practical things you can do;
- Sign up to 40 Acts – a prompt to do a small thing each day to act generously – 40 Acts Challenge
- Be liberated by knowing you can only our best each day – read the reflection below inspired by the life of Oscar Romero and know however hard or long you work our lives are incomplete and part of a far greater plan only fulfilled by God’s plans not our own.
A reflection on the kingdom
It helps now and then to step back and take the long view.
The kingdom is not only beyond our efforts, it is even beyond our vision.
We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny fraction of the magnificent enterprise that is God’s work.
Nothing we do is complete, which is another way of saying that the kingdom always lies beyond us.
No statement says all that could be said. No prayer fully expresses our faith.
No confession beings perfection,no pastoral visit brings wholeness.
No programme accomplishes the Church’s mission. That is what we are about.
We plant the seeds that one day will grow.
We water seeds already planted,
knowing that they hold future promise.
We lay foundations that will need further development. We provide yeast that produces effects far beyond our capabilities.
We cannot do everything,
and there is a sense of liberation in realising that. This enables us to do something,
and to do it very well.
It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning, a step along the way, an opportunity for the Lord’s grace to enter and do the rest.
We may never see the end results, but that is the difference between the master builder and the worker.
We are the workers, not the master builders, ministers, not messiahs.
We are the prophets of a future not of our own. Amen.
This prayer was written by Bishop Ken Untener of Saginaw, for a homily by Cardinal John Dearden at a celebration of departed priests in 1979. The words of the prayer are attributed to Blessed Oscar Romero.