Lent is a beautiful time for spiritual renewal. For many centuries it has been the custom to “give up” something for the 40 days of preparation for Easter. This often consists of abstaining from such things as chocolate or TV, but St. John Paul II had a different idea of things we should give up.
In his first Lenten message as pope in 1979, John Paul II wrote, “Going without things does not consist only of giving away what we do not need; sometimes it also consists of giving away what we do need, like the widow in the Gospel who knew that what she was giving away was already a gift to her from God.”
In other words, while it’s noble to sacrifice those things in our lives that are non-essential, it’s also important to give away things that we do need, giving them to those who are in a more desperate situation.
The pope expanded on this concept in 1980, explaining that “True sharing, which is a meeting with others, helps us to free ourselves from those bonds that enslave us. And, because it makes us see others as brothers and sisters, it enables us to rediscover that we are children of the same Father, ‘heirs of God and coheirs with Christ’ (Romans 8:17), from whom we have incorruptible riches.”
John Paul II saw Lent as an opportunity to empty ourselves in Christian charity - helping the most vulnerable of society.
The month of February is dedicated to the Holy Family. The special devotion which proposes the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph as the model of virtue of all Christian households began in the 17th century. It started almost simultaneously in Canada and France: the Association of the Holy Family was founded in Montreal in 1663, and by the Daughters of the Holy Family in Paris in 1674. This devotion soon spread and in 1893 Leo XIII expressed his approval of a feast under this title and himself composed part of the Office. The feast was welcomed by succeeding Pontiffs as an efficacious means for bringing home to the Christian people the example of the Holy Family at Nazareth, and by the restoration of the true spirit of family life, stemming, in some measure, the evils of present-day society.
Please set aside these three evenings and plan to attend a Parish Mission at St. Michael’s Parish, Corkery.