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Wednesday, February 22, 2012


I hope everyone was shroving yesterday...because today starts the darkness of Lent.  Lent is a time of self reflection, a time to enter into the desert.  It is not necessarily a time of affirmation and looking forward to what is to come; although there can be a legitimate aspect of the wanting of Easter.

As we begin Lent, we should remember several things:

1.  Holy Mother Church approaches Lent in the same way that Christ approached the desert.
2.  Do not over think Lent.  It is a time of self evaluation and a time of Penance.
3.  Embrace the solitude which Lent affords.
4.  Allow your heart to ache for Easter.
5.  Each day meditate upon a Lenten theme.
6.  If you have not already, rediscover the Sacrament of Penance.

There is a little different take I would like to reflect upon.  It is Psalm 91:11-12:

But my horn shall be exalted like that of the unicorn: and my old age in plentiful mercy. My eye also hath looked down upon my enemies: and my ear shall hear of the downfall of the malignant that rise up against me.

This is the basis for Satan's Temptation of Christ.  For all that Satan does, he uses that which is perfected in a malignant way.  He takes that which is Sacred and makes it profane.  He takes that which is beautiful and he perverts it.  He takes that which is full and he empties it.

God is good.  That is the easiest way to explain God in human terms.  To remove goodness from something is to remove God, theologically.  Often times we ask or we hear people ask, why does God allow bad things to happen to good people.  The answer is God doesn't allow it.  When goodness is lacking or goodness is removed, through human sin and suffering, Satan is in the world.  God doesn't allow bad things to happen, we know this because God does intervene.  God usurps natural law and will perform miracles.  He will heal, or he will make right a situation which seems hopeless.  He will use His creation to do this.  This is for one reason and one reason only, to give hope to the hopeless.  We, as Catholics should look to miracles and say, God is good.  God doesn't allow bad things, God intervenes in those situations in which goodness is lacking and he heals the malignant.

God also knows that he has enemies.  He knows that there are those who fall under Satan's power and rob the good from humanity.  But it is through the Temptation of Christ that we know it can be overcome.  We are able to find solidarity with Christ in the season we are embarking upon.  Lent.  We know that through the Passion, Death, and Resurrection, the horn of God...His Word will be exalted!  We know that His enemies will be smote.  We know that he does hear the downfall of the malignant.  Every Good Friday we witness the utter and complete destruction of those who rise against God.  And we are given the proof of our hope.

We are given the Sacrifice which is Holy Mass.  We do not assist at Holy Mass that day, because we witness it put forth for us, but every Good Friday we find resolute goodness through the bloody Sacrifice at Calvary.  We can then spend the rest of the year assisting at the unbloody Sacrifice which is Holy Mass.

Lent is a time to approach ourselves in the same way that Christ approached his Temptation.  The Church gives us the means, we must embrace it.  We must use this time to grow.  We must use this time to seek out the horn of exaltation.  It is a 40 day journey.  It is a time of penance in searching.  But we will persevere.  Embrace the Sacraments, especially Holy Mass, the re-presentation of Christ in an un-bloody way.  Embrace the Sacrament of Penance.  If you have not been in years, go and unburden yourself, allow yourself to hear the downfall of the malignant as you confess.  If you do go regularly, view your penance as a means of solidarity and allow yourself to hear the downfall of the malignant as you confess.

The Church does give us the means.  The Church gives us everything we need to attain heaven.  Lent is a time of preparation, to be sure....but it is also a time of purification.  Embrace those Sacraments and sacramentals which will purify your eternal soul.

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