From The Hand of Fr. Aaron Ferris…March 5, 2017

Last week I reiterated the question about how we can grow in love during this season of Lent. This can be a useful way to look at the various Lenten practices because it helps us to see how Lent and the disciplines of Lent are vital to our faith and our relationship with the Lord.

Have you ever felt that the things you are “supposed to do” as a Catholic were just that, merely things that you are supposed to do? When we were children, Lent was often about the things we had to do, just as it was with chores. You do it because it is what you are supposed to do. There is nothing wrong with this; we all start somewhere, and when we were children we were not always in a position to understand the why of our parents’ expectations. All we needed to know was that they were the expectations.

As St. Paul reminds us, though, we are called beyond a childish understanding. The Lord wants us to have a mature relationship with Him. Yes, we are to be childlike in our trust in the Lord, but the Lord wants that trust to be based on a mature relationship and commitment of ourselves to the Lord. God wants us to grow to the full stature of our humanity in our relationship with Him.

Getting back to our Lenten disciplines, this is the reason our Lenten disciplines are more than just the things we are “supposed to do.” They are not just a list of chores for a few weeks in the late-winter/early-spring. They are the vital activities that develop our relationship with the Lord. This might be more obvious in some cases (prayer, reading Scripture) and less obvious in other cases (fasting), but all of them are about our relationship with the Lord.

Ash Wednesday provides a beautiful example of this. Receiving ashes on our foreheads is our acceptance of a deep spiritual truth: that we are dust. We have more in common with the dirt we walk on everyday than we do with God. Taken seriously, receiving ashes is a truly humbling event, and it helps us to approach God properly and with a well-intentioned heart. We come not with power or demands, but with humility and placing our lowliness before the Lord that He might have mercy on us.

It is always about our relationship with the Lord. God made us in His image and likeness; He made us so that we could share in His life and love; He died on the Cross so we could be united with Him in this life and forever in the next. It is always and in all ways about our relationship with the Lord.

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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