From The Hand of Fr. Aaron Ferris…February 26, 2017

Lent begins on Wednesday. If you are having trouble with your Lenten disciplines this year, I would encourage you to keep in mind what I talked about in the homily last weekend. Keep in mind the question: what can I do this Lent to love God more and to love my neighbor more?

Our faith has many duties; our spiritual tradition has many more practices, devotions, and disciplines. These are all good things, but they exist for one purpose: love. They exist first because God has loved us (1 John 4:19). God has performed countless marvelous works on our behalf. Maybe one of our spiritual practices for Lent would be to grow in our knowledge and appreciation of God’s love for us. This could be what our prayer and our reading of Scripture would be about.

When we come to recognize how much God has loved us, going so far as to send His Only-Begotten Son to suffer and die for us, our hearts might recognize how we have not responded in love. This might bring to mind our sins and our habits that keep getting in the way of God’s love, which in turn might lead us to address some of those hurdles with various penances and sacrifices. We look to curb our willfulness for our own interests that impedes God’s love. We also look for those ways we can take up the suffering of the Cross in our lives and join in Christ’s great work of love.

As we become more receptive of God’s love, we might then look for ways to manifest that love in our devotion to God and in our love for our neighbor. It might mean an increase in our devotional life, such as more regular participation in Mass or Adoration, in order to return the love God has shown to us. It might mean setting time aside to engage others in order to share the love of God with them.

When Ash Wednesday comes, and we begin our Lenten fast, we can approach it not with dread but with joy. We can approach it as Jesus did when he went off into the desert for forty days, filled with the Holy Spirit. It was a hard forty days, but it was also forty days of growth in intimacy with God.

Rev. Aaron Ferris
Rev. Aaron Ferris
Rev. Aaron R. Ferris Ordination Date: June 6, 2009 Pastor, St. Anthony Parish (Saranac) and St. Mary’s Parish (Lowell) 402 Amity Street Lowell, MI 49331 Phone: 616-897-9820
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