Print Edition: March 8, 2015
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BY John Lilly
The Church asks us to fast, pray and
perform works of charity during Lent.
are the best things to fast from? What are the best ways to pray? And what are
the best works of charity?
years of Pope John Paul II’s pontificate were
dedicated to precisely these questions. Pope Benedict’s first encyclical, Deus Caritas Est (God
Is Love), summed it all up by talking about the importance of love.
Lent, why not follow the two Popes’ advice?
Fast by giving up uncharity.
learning to serve others on a small scale will we be able to serve others on a
gossiping. The New Testament Letter of St. James and many other Christian
writers who followed him point out that uncharitable speech about others is a
major source of uncharity.
critical attitudes. Catholics can easily fall into the trap of continually
judging and summing up the performance of priests, bishops and other Church leaders.
While legitimate criticism to the proper authorities is sometimes necessary,
gratuitously critical attitudes cripple the Church.
sarcasm. It’s the simplest form of humor and nowadays the most common. But it
can create a negative attitude, kill charity and cripple kindness.
the last word. We always want to be the one to sum up a conversation or an
argument. Learning to give it up can change us — and our relationships.
Pray: Take up the daily Rosary and
Paul II spent the end of his life calling us over and over again to prayer. If
we have stopped doing what he recommended, or if we haven’t started yet, Lent
is a perfect time to redouble our efforts.
Rosary every day — Pope John Paul II called it his favorite prayer, and asked
over and over again for Catholics to say it every day. On Sept. 12, 2001, he
asked us to say daily Rosaries for peace. A year later he added another
intention: the family. He dedicated a Year of the Rosary to his plea for us to
say daily Rosaries. He pointed out that the message of Fatima
was also an urgent plea for the daily Rosary.
Resources: The National Catholic Register’s Guide to the Rosary is a great way to
rediscover the Rosary. See page 2 for ordering information.
Eucharistic adoration — Pope John Paul II declared the last year of his
pontificate the Year of the Eucharist. “The Church and the world have a great
need for Eucharistic worship,” he said. “Jesus awaits us in this sacrament of
love. Let us not refuse the time to go to meet him in adoration, in
contemplation full of faith and open to making amends for the serious offenses
and crimes of the world.”
Resources: www.TheRealPresence.org has a great directory of Eucharistic adoration chapels.
Perform works of charity: Promote Mass and
Paul II called Catholics to re-evangelize the West, which can seem like an
impossibly difficult task. But he also gave us a very simple way to fulfill it.
repeated this several times in the Register, but it seems that each time we do
we hear comments from people who hadn’t heard it before — or from those who
have heard it, but hadn’t acted yet.
Paul II asked us all to promote Sunday Mass and confession. His message: We
don’t need a theology degree, a gift for preaching or a charismatic personality
to engage in the New Evangelization. We just need to be willing to tell people
how important Sunday Mass and confession are to us and invite them to join us.
two families back to Sunday Mass this Lent.
— Talk to
three people about how positive an experience confession is in our lives.
Resources: To help readers engage in the New Evangelization, the
Register has provided guides to Sunday Mass, confession, prayer and other Catholic
basics. Click on “How to Be Catholic” under “Online Resources” at NCRegister.com.
Catholics we know wake up to these basic practices of the faith, the full
living of the Church’s teachings will follow. But first, we have to invite them.
a little effort on our part, this Lent won’t just leave us changed for 40 days
— it will leave others changed for eternity.
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