Lenten Advice

Dear Parish Family,

I would like to offer you a few thoughts about penitential practices as you continue your journey through this Lenten season.  

As Christians we believe that God made all things good, not just the spiritual but the material as well.  Unlike eastern philosophies, and the errors of some Christians, the material world is not bad nor must it be forsaken.  “God looked at everything he had made, and found it very good.”  (Genesis 1:31)  Yet, after the fall of man both body and soul were impacted and disorder resulted.

During the season of Lent, many of our penitential disciplines rightly involve the body.  There are good reasons for this and as already stated not one of them is because the body is bad.  Rather, through these practices we employ the body to help the soul while addressing the general ordering of our lives.  Such bodily penances discipline our bodies in order to put them in their proper place while acquainting them with the spiritual ends for which they derive their very purpose and meaning.  Additionally, we experience a type of sacramentality in our bodily penances.  Just as Our Lord employed the material world when he instituted the sacraments, so too do we employ our material bodies in the pursuit of our sanctification.  

In short disciplines of the body are employed: to aid the soul; to make sacrificial offerings of ourselves for God and others; properly order oneself; and increase our capacity to love God and neighbor.   Please keep these goals in mind.  There are right and wrong ways to do penance.  Our Lord is clear about the uselessness and even harm of those whose religious practices are in vain.  Be attentive to these goals and you will avoid the pitfalls of the scribes and Pharisees.


Fr. Winslow

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