“Behold Jesus Christ
crucified, Who is the only foundation of our hope; He is our Mediator and
Advocate; the victim and sacrifice for our sins. He is goodness and patience
itself; His mercy is moved by the tears of sinners, and He never refuses pardon
and grace to those who ask it with a truly contrite and humbled heart.”
--St. Charles Borromeo
At Sunday Mass this weekend, the celebrant talked about the inspiring determination of the athletes who competed in the Winter Olympics this year. Although there has been much controversy over this year’s Olympics due to China’s human rights abuses, he reminded the congregation that we can and should give glory to God for the talent, sacrifice, and tireless dedication of those who participated from all the ends of the earth. These competitors were united in a goal: to become world champions. As Catholics, our goal is the mercy and pardon of God and the eternal reward of heaven, won for us by the sacrifice and death of His Son Jesus Christ. We may not all be able to land a quadruple spin in figure skating, bobsled at breathtaking speed, or shoot a hockey puck to become a world champion. But, God has blessed each of us with the potential to become Champions of Eternal Life. Lent is an excellent opportunity for us to focus on this mission.
What can we do this Lent to be Champions of Eternal Life?
Lent is the season of repentance and meditation on Jesus’ sacrifice. Sometimes it can feel like we are powerless to create change in the world – there are so many seemingly insurmountable challenges our society faces. Lent is a reminder that change starts within each of us -- creating a ripple effect of love and mercy that extends to our families, our local communities, and beyond. Mother Teresa famously said, “Do small things with great love.” During Lent, we can choose to make small decisions every day that cumulatively bring us closer to God.
If you grew up in the Catholic Church, you were likely instructed as a child to give up a favorite food or help more around the house. “What are you giving up for Lent?” was often the question, frequently met with the answer “Chocolate” or “Doing the dishes.” The holy priest and author, Msgr. Francis Gaeta, gives us some guidance as to how to select meaningful Lenten practices:
Fast from: discontent, anger, bitterness, self-concern, resentment, guilt, laziness, despair
Feast on: gratitude, forgiveness, compassion, hope, truth, patience, charity, humility and the mercy of God
We can use Msgr. Gaeta’s list as a checkpoint. When choosing how you’re going to observe Lent, ask yourself: Does the practice help me achieve the above goals? Giving up a favorite food or helping a spouse with their share of the chores could very well be valuable aspects of your Lenten observance. Or we may find meaning in attending Mass more regularly, devoting additional time to prayer, or setting a goal to do a random act of kindness each day. The purpose of Msgr. Gaeta’s list is to remind us of the greater virtues we are striving for with our Lenten practices. Through our choices and actions, we can become Champions of God’s will and of the hope of eternal life.
God, merciful Father, in Your Son, Jesus Christ, You have revealed Your love
and poured it out upon us in the Holy Spirit, the Comforter.
We entrust to You today the destiny of the world and of every man and woman.
Bend down to us sinners, heal our weakness, conquer all evil, and grant that all
peoples of the earth may experience Your mercy. In You, the Triune God,
may they ever find the source of hope.
Eternal Father, by the Passion and Resurrection of Your Son, have mercy on us
and upon the whole world! Amen.
Act of Consecration of the World to the Divine Mercy
St. John Paul II, Krakow, August 17,2002
A Retreat in the Desert with Jesus: A Lenten Survival Kit, p. 15
We think you will find A Retreat in the Desert with Jesus: A Lenten Survival Kit to be a wonderful aid throughout your Lenten journey. We have created a collection of additional works to support every member of the family – from prayer books to coloring books – throughout the 40 days. You can explore them here: https://tinyurl.com/cbpclent.
This small book has rich seeds to nurture your faith in both the Lenten Season and beyond. Rich in spiritual primers, it can help you to take stock of your life and live better th (...)
Bishop Serratelli invites you to journey with those who were with Jesus in His last hours. You may be like Peter one day, and like Judas, Simon, Mary Magdalene, or Our Lady on anot (...)
This Lent, deepen your reverence for God’s profound love! Let Bishop Serratelli’s book lead you to a new perspective on sacrifice and renewal. Bishop Serratelli offers biblical med (...)
Saint Alphonsus Liguori's The Way of the Cross from Catholic Book Publishing is a beautiful and reverent devotion to the Sacred Passion of our Lord, following Jesus along the Fourt (...)
Helps children understand this time of preparation for Jesus' Resurrection. Full-color illustrations.
A fun and creative way for children to learn about preparing for the Resurrection of Jesus. Text by Michael Goode and illustrations by Margaret A. Buono.