The Deacon’s Digest
Greetings! For many years, I published a monthly article in the local parish bulletin. Fr. Ed has kindly let me resume that practice here at St. Joseph. Therefore, it is with great pleasure I present this first edition. ‘The Deacon’s Digest’ is simply wanderings of various things in my mind. Some relevant to current news, to the liturgical season, or just things that are cogitating in my brain. I hope you enjoy them. I welcome your feedback joyfully.
We are beginning a new system for scheduling Liturgical Ministers. Within a week or so, you will be notified how to access the on-line system. Those without internet access will still receive their schedules by print. Next Saturday (Feb 21) there will be another training session; see the announcement elsewhere in the Bulletin. I will also explain the new scheduling system.
As Lent approaches, we always get questions about the Fast and Abstinence regulations of the Church. In brief, Catholics between the ages of 18 and 59 are obliged to fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. In addition, all Catholics 14 years old and older must abstain from meat on Ash Wednesday, Good Friday, and all the Fridays of Lent.
There are many ways and means of doing penance: prayer, acts of self-denial, almsgiving and works of personal charity; attending Mass daily or several times a week, praying the rosary, making the Way of the Cross, visiting the sick and shut-ins and giving an overworked mother a break by baby-sitting — all of these can be even more meaningful and demanding than simply abstaining from meat on Friday or ‘giving up’ candy or coffee or soda.
Here are a few suggestions that may help you with your own resolutions.
o Fast from bitterness; turn to forgiveness.
o Fast from hatred; return good for evil.
o Fast from negativism; be positive.
o Fast from complaining; be grateful.
o Fast from pessimism; be optimistic.
o Fast from harsh judgments; think the best of others.
o Fast from worry; trust in God’s providence.
o Fast from discouragement; be full of hope.
o Fast from anger; be quick to forgive.
o Fast from impatience; learn to wait upon the Lord.
o Fast from pettiness; be more mature.
o Fast from gloom; seek the beauty around you.
o Fast from jealousy; pray for trust in God.
o Fast from gossiping; control your thoughts.
o Fast from procrastination; do it now.
o Fast from ungratefulness; thank God daily for all that you have.
o Fast from sin; turn to virtue.
o Try something new spiritually – Adoration, Stations of the Cross, etc.
o Make an on-line Lenten retreat: onlineministries.creighton.edu/CollaborativeMinistry/Lent/LentOnLineRetreat/, lent.sacredspace.ie, and others
o Is there a habit keeping you from being whom God wants you to be; give up that habit for Lent.
o Pray the Apostles’ Creed in preparation for the renewal of your Baptismal promises on Easter.
Lent's strictness and sternness doesn't mean you can't cozy up to the one you love, or discover new love. It doesn't mean you can't dance a St. Patrick's Day jig, or enjoy a good college basketball game, or get a belly laugh from a funny moment. Rather, in Lent you put a stop to the selfish pursuit of pleasure and instead let joy seek you in the real world. Then, when the moments of joy come, they're recognized as a gift from a loving God. Just as life itself is. Share that joy. Happy Lent!
Peace, Blessings, and Joy