Friday, 3rd Week of Lent by Deacon Len

The Lord our God is Lord alone!
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart,
with all your soul,
with all your mind,
and with all your strength.

You shall love your neighbor as yourself.

Yesterday we received some difficult news from Bishop Pates, Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Joliet.

“All Church services, beginning with weekend Masses, daily Mass, Stations of the Cross, etc., in the parishes and institutions in the Diocese of Joliet will discontinue immediately.”

As difficult as this is to swallow, we must be charitable in our response to what our President, our Governor, and our Bishop is asking of us and not simply look through the lens of what is being taken away from me.  

Lent is a season of sacrifice built on the pillars of prayer, fasting and almsgiving.  The charitable thing for us to do is to consider the wellbeing of others as well as our own wants and desires.  I venture none of us would be very happy if our own Mother, Father, Grandparents, Sisters, Brothers, spouses, children, or any loved one contracted this virus from someone else while attending a mass or Stations Of The Cross.  

Since this virus doesn’t always present itself immediately, people can be carrying it without knowing.  As a schoolteacher, I understand the sheer number of students that I typically encounter daily puts me at risk.  I am thankful that our school and government leaders have chosen this path in an effort to stop the rapid spread of this terrible virus.  We all must do OUR part.

Our Lenten practice of prayer, fasting and almsgiving are meant to help us refocus our daily lives from the stresses of this life to the promises of the next.  Our increased prayer reminds us and leads us to love the Lord our God with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our mind, and with all our strength.  We need to take advantage of this “forced time out” to increase our prayer for others and for ourselves, that we might focus on using our talents in serving each other.  

Fasting is a way of sacrificing.  Sacrifice means to make holy.  And although I would never recommend fasting from going to church, I do think our sacrifice at this time can be offered for the good of others.  This extraordinary sacrifice of ours can make our Lenten journey holy and actually help us to focus on God by serving others.

Almsgiving may be the more important this Lent than ever.  There will be difficult times ahead.  As look out for our family, friends, neighbors and community we will truly need to sacrifice by practice almsgiving to help those in need.

You shall love your neighbor as yourself.

At the risk of being repetitively redundant (ha ha), we need to be charitable to others as opposed to joining the many who are hoarding the daily necessities of life.  Brothers and sisters we are truly being called to “Return to the Lord our God”.  

Today I saw a great video from Bishop Barron where he addresses this same topic.  He also includes a segment on Lectio Divina.  I have attached the link for you below.

Please know that you are in my prayers and I ask you to pray for me as well.  I look forward to the day we can celebrate together again at the table of The Lord.

Good health, Blessings and Peace to you and your families.

– Deacon Len                           630-615-7644