Fr. Britto's Blog

The Acceptable Time

We are already into the Lenten season. The ashes we received on Ash Wednesday remind us of Christ’s call to repentance as expressed in the words said during their imposition: “Turn away from sin and believe in the Gospel!” Borrowing the words of Paul, we can say, “Lent is the acceptable time, a time of grace.” As we begin this holy season, I would like to invite the whole parish to embark on a journey of conversion and spiritual renewal.

In the Early Church, the Lenten season was originally the period when catechumens preparing for baptism intensified their preparation. This was a powerful time when they sought to enter more deeply into Jesus’ suffering, death, and resurrection (the paschal mystery). Eventually, the whole Church joined the catechumens on their journey not merely as spectators but as participants. All Christians undertook certain practices in order to be ready for a worthy celebration of Easter. The three pillars on which the edifice of Lenten observance rests are prayer, fasting, and charity. 

The season of Lent is about journey – journey towards Easter when we shall celebrate the Sacraments of initiation. We as the parish community make a journey with the children who are preparing for First Holy Communion and our catechumens and candidates who are preparing for the Easter sacraments. We are not mere spectators who watch these individuals walk towards fuller life at Easter. Each one of us is called to prepare our hearts for the coming feast of Easter.

Addressing Christians beginning their Lenten observance in the 6th century, Pope St Leo wrote: “What a Christian should be doing at all times should be done now with greater care and devotion.” We face three principal obstacles on our spiritual journey: our pride, our comfort, and our self-centeredness. To those three, this season offers three antidotes: fasting, charity, and prayer.

The Church invites all of us to practice these three pillars of our faith life: prayer, fasting, and charity. Allow me to propose some concrete suggestions for you and for me.

Prayer

    • Pick up the Bible and prayerfully read a chapter a day.
    • Pray the Psalms.
    • Take quiet walks in the woods.
    • Meditate on God’s goodness as you stare at the stars.
    • Start the day with prayer.
    • Read a spiritual book.
    • Contemplate the Passion of Jesus.
    • Deepen your understanding of your faith.
    • Pray the Stations of the Cross on Fridays.
    • See if you can attend a weekday Mass.
    • Embrace the crosses in your life.

Fasting

    • Give up something meaningful.
    • Spend time with someone who is difficult to love.
    • Listen to an elderly person who tells the same story over and over again.
    • Resist the need to talk badly of another person.
    • Let someone go ahead of you in traffic.
    • Delay gratification.
    • Refuse to air your complaints.
    • Be patient at home or in your car.
    • Observe Lenten fast on Good Friday.
    • Smile frequently.
    • Abstain from meat on all Fridays of Lent.
    • Deny yourself food so that you understand what it means to be hungry.

Charity

    • Serve the poor.
    • Befriend the friendless.
    • Give voice to the voiceless.
    • Learn about the conditions of the poor in far-off places.
    • Love those in your inner circle.
    • Help the needy.
    • Give until it hurts.
    • Work for justice.
    • Comfort the sorrowful.
    • Pray for the deceased.
    • Be nice to someone who is not nice to you.
    • Pray for those who disagree with you politically.

 

May this season be a time of renewal for each one of us and for the whole parish! Please pray for all our parishioners during Lent.

Who is Fr. Britto?

Born in India to deeply-committed Catholic parents, Fr Britto is one of seven children. He joined the Salesians of Don Bosco as a young man and was ordained a priest in 1981.

After he completed his priestly formation and his early education in India, he came to the US for his graduate degree in Journalism at...Read more...

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St. Paul of the Cross

320 South Washington Street
Park Ridge, IL 60068


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