Dear Sacred Heart and St. Mary’s,
It is hard to believe, but Lent is right around the corner! Last year, Lent was interrupted, so this year feels a bit like the opportunity for a do-over.
There are four main relationships we need to consider during Lent: with God, others, ourselves, and stuff/things. See which are healthy and which need work, which are encroaching on other things and which need to end, which ones are non-existent and simply need to start.
An excellent metric for examining any relationship is the amount of time given to it. A week has 168 hours. How much time does each relationship get (or not get, for that matter)? Obviously there will be a balance here, because some things inherently need only a small amount of time while others require more by their very nature. Lent can be a great time to balance them.
Our Relationship with God: Does my relationship with Him have any real weight? Out of my 168 hours a week, does God actually get any time, that one hour on Sunday and some time each day? If we are not praying, then start there. Jesus came and died to take away our sins, yet sometime the very last thing we give Him is just that—our sins, our wounds, our struggles. These are what we bring to prayer and above all to the confessional where we experience His mercy. Jesus desperately wants to transform our lives.
Our Relationship with Others: What are the most important relationships in my life? If it is marriage, is that marriage being given the attention it should be? What about time with our children and friends? All of this requires time and often sacrifice. I know this was one silver lining of the pandemic for many, in that families had more time together because everything else was canceled. Lent can be a great time to weed out certain things just so there is more time for these most pivotal relationships.
Our Relationship with Ourselves: Do you take care of you? Sometimes the only thing that makes this happen is when something snaps—our health or our sanity or both together. We don’t have to wait until then!
Our Relationship with Things: We have relationships with things. Think of the 168 hours in a week. How much belongs to screens—our phones, TVs, etc? Are we chasing after stuff as if it will make us happy? Sometimes a great Lenten act is to take something that has too much control over us and simply give it away. I know many people who have experienced freedom from overly strong attachments to stuff and/or addictions to alcohol or other substances after a Lenten resolution to begin doing something about it.
This can all be messy. Realize Jesus is not afraid of getting messy for us. Look at the cross and you see Jesus entering into a mess and saying to each of us: you are well worth it!
This Lent, we have the opportunity for a great small group that can help offer context for our Lent. Please consider joining the Red Sea Rules Small Group. Please join me for a journey with the Israelites through the Red Sea. This will be a 5 week book-led group, understanding where we are and why we are here. Sometimes we are where God has led us. Sometimes we are living in the consequences of our actions or the actions of others. This journey helps us understand biblically that God is with us always. We will meet on Thursdays in Sacred Heart Hall at 6:00pm beginning February 25th until March 25th. Please let me know if you would like to join us. Ron Stacey 517-945-8633