CATHOLIC (FAMILY) LENTEN LIFE IS DIFFERENT
Hello and blessings! Deacon Tom with you again. What a continuing joy to have Jesus, the Catholic Faith, the Church and my wife and family in my life. God has splashed me with blessings – those mentioned here – and of course, becoming a deacon has been (mostly) a great gift. So too, it is a blessing to have e-befriended David and Allyson and to be a part of Catholic Family Podcast.
I wrote my first Catholic Family column last year – it was titled Catholic Family Life is Different. With a little bit of starter prayer, and in thinking about possible topics for this column, I decided to pose the topic you see above. I did this first and then thought I would see if I am guided in any ways for the words to support this topic.
As we have been setting up our new house (in Arizona) in recent months – one of the ‘joys’ we have is hanging pictures and other items. My lovely wife Dee wants things down lower – I seem to want them higher. It’s become a sort of joke that if we can sell a house, move to a new location, hang pictures and agree on where furnishings go – we are probably going to make it.
One of the new small items we put up on the wall at the entrance at our front door is a small sign: THIS IS A CATHOLIC HOME. There is also a crucifix and some palm branches. Anyone who enters or sees inside is able to tell where we are coming from. And – in fact – it just happened that a Jehovah’s Witness came to the door. He introduced himself and showed me a publication he was carrying. I courteously welcomed him and told him that I was a deacon in the Catholic Church, and that Jesus Christ was my Lord and Savior and that I loved my faith. I also said that his visit was an opportunity for me to pray for him and his congregation. He immediately said ‘thank you very much’ and left. No contest!
Somewhere in Scripture (I’m a little too lazy right now to look it up), it says something about being willing to give reason for your belief and faith. That, dear hearts leads me to the challenge for anyone who is interested to tackle this idea about a different form of Catholic Lent.
Yes, we’re probably all going to get ashes on our foreheads… and yes we will likely attend a parish reconciliation service… and maybe we’ll try to pray more or read some Scriptures or inspiring words. No disrespect intended. But – are you willing to make this Catholic Family Lenten Life different for you? Perhaps for your family?
What does the ‘deke’ mean when he says ‘make this Lent different?’ Well – what could you do that would ‘mark’ you for Lent – just the way that ashes mark you for one hour or one day? I don’t have the answer for you and you and you. But I do have some starter ideas to throw out.
Have you ever invited anyone over to your house to pray? In our previous community, we started a regular Rosary in the Home gathering. Anyone who wanted to come was welcome.
Nothing fancy – just Catholics coming together to pray. At the beginning, anyone that wanted to announce petitions and intercessions was welcome to do so. We would do the Rosary together – and later we added the Chaplet of Divine mercy. We were done in about 30-45 minutes. We would offer some store-bought cookies or something else easy to do. Yes I know this is Lent – but I’m trying to stretch us beyond candies and cookie type Lenten thinking. We’d offer coffee and tea – and we’d be done in about two hours. If you’ve never done anything like this – would you consider doing this once a week during Lent? Because Catholic Family Lenten Life is Different!
Do you have someone recently widowed in your community? Would you consider having them come for dinner? Or taking them out to breakfast? Would you be willing to take the kids by to meet an older person in the parish? Because Catholic Family Lenten Life is Different!
Have you gotten away from the regular practice of Confession – the Sacrament of Reconciliation? Has your busy life taken you from the rhythm of regular prayer time? Have you ever written letters of spiritual love and support for your pastor or your bishop? Have you ever sat down to plan your funeral? That may sound morbid – it isn’t. It’s beautiful and it’s realistic. And I mention a bunch of these ideas because Catholic Family Lenten Life ought to be different! My wife and I pray for you regularly. Blessings. Deacon Tom. www.deacontomonline.com