We all know that the three directives of Lent are 1) to pray, 2) to fast, and 3) to give alms.
On the first front, I wish to encourage everyone reading this. I assume you are all good traditional Catholics and pray the Catholic way. 15 decades of the rosary during Lent would not be a bad use of one’s time. Daily Mass throughout the 40 days would be splendid. You can do it. If you are not yet Catholic, what are you waiting for? Come on over. It’s a hell of a fight right now but we could use the manpower.
On the second front, I wish to remind everyone reading this that fasting requires some form of actual fasting – that is, reducing your overall food intake. It is not, strictly speaking, giving up something you enjoy eating. It is not, strictly speaking, giving up anything willy-nilly (that phrase always makes me laugh yet I use it often). For instance, a priest preached recently that perhaps we might “fast from the internet”. I absolutely see his point and I recommend it. However, that is more of an abstinence and not even proper abstinence at that. Fasting must be about eating less. How much less? Much less? What an odd combination of words. Look, fasting is about giving up food. Period. Try going without eating a thing until 3:00 PM, the hour of Our Lord’s Passion and Death. Try going without meat, dairy, and eggs – the proteins of our daily life. I’m not suggesting everyone adopt a bread and water approach, but for those who can, even a few days a week, why not? Imitate Our Lord. He fasted for 40 days. And fasting can effect miracles from Our Lord. I’ll write more on that later. My point is, that if you are not denying your body nutrients, you aren’t doing it right. Esto vir. Be a man about it.
On the third front, I wrote a piece yesterday about praying for our priests. I do not have a “donate” button on my blog. I have nothing against the concept. In fact, I donate as often as I can to a handful of my own favorite bloggers. I haven’t done it (despite encouragement from friends) because I am not at that point yet. The Lord is providing for me at the moment. Trust me, when the time comes, that button will be big and flashy. In the meantime, I think it might be wise to prayerfully consider giving alms directly to your priests. Could there be a better way to show our support and gratitude? Mass stipends in an envelope are one thing. A card with a bill in it for no reason than because you appreciate that a man sacrificed his right to assume his role as head of a family so that the Eternal Sacrifice would be offered and our sins forgiven? Well that’s just gold right there. And it doesn’t have to be cash in a card either. We can find ways to do this. We jump at the opportunity to make meals for our priests. And when presented with the opportunity to dine with them at a restaurant, well… as old as my mother is, she’d still beat me senseless if she knew I hadn’t picked up the tab when dining with a priest. See if there’s a retreat Father wants to make and cover his airfare. Does your sacristy need new vestments? Can you sew? See where I’m going with this? I love my priests because they represent Christ. If Christ were living in my parish rectory, I’d move heaven and earth to give all I have to Him.
May your Lent be difficult. May your Lent be fruitful.
St. Peter, pray for us!