And so it begins yet again. Ash Wednesday. Lent.
Our theme at St. Mary's this year is Love All, and we have a variety of resources from which people can pick and choose to enrich the forty days of Lent.
The parish has been invited to be watch a video each day from the brothers of the Society of St. John the Evangelist, and we've printed a workbook for folks to write their daily reflections on the video. On Wednesday evenings we'll have some small groups and watch a video or two and talk about our reflections.
We're also encouraging folks to take time during Lent to prepare for the sacrament of Reconciliation of a Penitent. SSJE has provided a wonderful booklet that our adults are using for their time of reflection, and our Children Formation Minister, Cindy, has prepared a small refection based on the Lord's Prayer that our younger Christians can use in preparations.
Many of our Daughters of the King have subscribed to a daily email series created by Jan Richardson called "Beloved: An online journey into Lent an Easter." The Daughters are sponsoring a Quiet Day for men and women this Saturday at St. Mary's.
The monastery of which I'm an Oblate has a practice of Bona Opera ("good work"): submitting your spiritual practice in writing to be placed on the altar of the monastery and blessed on Ash Wednesday. I have made a daily commitment of lectio divina, almsgiving, prayer, and fasting.
Having disciplines, spiritual practices for Lent, are an important way of reshaping our lives so that our hearts become more transformed into the place where God alone dwells. It's doing what Jesus says each year in our Gospel for Ash Wednesday; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also (Matthew 6.21).
I have my daily Lenten disciplines which I submitted to Sister Antoinette that sit on the altar of Our Lady of Grace. But at our Vestry/Ministry Council retreat on Saturday, one of our lay folk mentioned that her spiritual director years ago had encouraged her to have a spiritual rhythm. That resonates with me.
There are little things that when I do them I feel centered in who God has created me to be. Drink a cup of tea. Eat an apple. Talk a walk. Sit in silence. Tidy as I go. Pray a daily cycle of prayer for the parish. Write a note of love. Feed the birds. Quotidian actions that feed my soul that are easy to be too busy to do--triaged away until it's bedtime and they don't happen.
So for Lent this year, my Bona Opera that
will sit on the altar at St. Mary's will be a commitment to a daily Lenten rhythm.
I reminded myself in my sermon today that these good things we do are not so that we can have a personal self-improvement plan for Lent but so that we can become more completely God's and can more fully serve God's people.
And now I'm off to love all--particularly those two grandboys who live in Bend.