I am sitting here on the floor of my living room as we experienced a severe first world problem last night. Our Wi-Fi router seems to have gone kaput. I feel like it’s 1998 again as I am tethered to the Ethernet cord rather than being able to cart my lap-top everywhere around our apartment. But at least it’s not a dial-up modem.
The irony that today is Ash Wednesday is not lost.
I just finished reading the chapter on Spending in 7 and there were a few sections that really resonated with me, thus strengthing my resolve for a serious Lent:
I think the early church would cover their heads with ashes and grieve over the dilution of Jesus’ beautiful church vision… If the modern church held to it’s biblical definition, we would become the answer to all that ails society. We wouldn’t have to baby-talk and cajole and coax people into our sanctuaries through witty mailers and strategic ads… The local church would be the heartbeat of the city, undeniable by our staunchest critics.
Instead the American church is dying… We made it acceptable for people to do nothing and still call themselves Christians, and that anemic vision is not holding…
This is the result of a church that only feasts.
When the fast, the death, the sacrifice of the gospel is omitted from the Christian life, then it isn’t Christian at all.
It may be helpful to note, for my Catholic readers, that the author is evangelical Christian. I make that note, because we (as Catholics) often hear that works and faith are not linked. That all you have to do is believe in Christ to be saved. I am not going to argue that point because it does have merit, Jesus did not say, “Believe in me, and do good works, and you shall never die.” But think about all that Christ did. He was a man of action and taught his apostles and disciples to do the same. He did not tell his disciples,
“Hey, you believe in me as the Son of Man! Cool. Well, sweet, go along your merry way.”
No, he commanded us to go out and clothe the naked, feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, house the homeless, visit the prisoner, care for the widow and orphan, visit the sick, bury the dead, teach the uninformed, council the doubtful, admonish sinners, bear wrongs patiently, forgive offenses willingly, comfort the afflicted, pray for the living, sick and dead.
So, as we embark on this 40-day journey into the desert, be happy and be light. Shake off whatever has been burdening you in your life and tackle the addictions that are holding you down. Go to confession. Emerge on Easter Sunday as a new creation.
Special Intentions of Pope Benedict XVI (from the back of The Word Among Us, handed out at our Parish for Lent)
Dear Heavenly Father,
During this holy season of Lent, we pray in gratitude for women throughout every land. Lord, may the whole world recognize the genuine contribution of women to the development of society.
We also pray for all persecuted Christians. Father, may your Holy Spirit grant these brothers and sisters the perseverance that they need as they endure discrimination, persecution, or death for the name of Christ. We particularly pray for persecuted Christians in Asia
Please continue to pray for my friend Kim E. On Feb. 18, at an American Heart Association fundraiser, she went into Cardiac Arrest and was rushed to the hospital. She is a wife to Tony, and mom to three littles (Isaiah, Elijah and Trinity) and underwent heart surgery 4 months ago.