Daily Prayer & Reflection

Our Franciscan Charism focus for this school year is: INTEGRITY AND GRATITUDE

We are already a week into Lent but I suspect many of us have not come to terms with being in this season known for penance and self-denial...'giving up' becomes the guide for what we might do to let God know we are remorseful and so wish we could avoid our weaknesses and faults and failings. For whatever reason this year,  I have determined to look at this season differently. I still want God to know that I regret the many things I wish I could avoid doing but why not try to show God that by doing something good instead...something for another?  Maybe approaching this season that seems so negative in more positive ways would be more productive and would help me see that God views our sincerity in what we DO, not in a lot of DON'T DO's.
The options are endless and we can be creative and adventurous every day in looking for new ideas and actions that can make others happy and help others face life's challenges and difficulties.  Sounds almost too easy and fun to be considered penance or self-denial but any time we are putting others ahead of ourselves and DOING something positive or nice for someone, the presence of Jesus in that person sees it and benefits from our care and interest.  And God knows we are DOING good not just AVOIDING an evil.
We know, too, that we are called to FAST and ABSTAIN from certain things during Lent.  But even Pope Francis is asking us to think differently about fasting  and has shared a list with us that includes things beyond the usuals this Lent:
Fast from hurting words and say kind things...
Fast from anger and be filled with patience...
Fast from complaining and be filled with gratitude...
Fast from selfishness and be generous to others...
Fast from any words and be silent so that you may really listen...
...and the list goes on....                                                        Pope Francis
Perhaps, simply, this Lent can be about positive and generous changes in our lives that, during the course of this season can become good habits that never leave us!  What a conversion of the negative ways of looking at Lent!  And in the end, it is more than OK to feel good about ourselves and our efforts. I suspect those positive feelings will only lead us to making more such efforts each day.
 
So, a very happy and blessed Lent to everyone!  May each day create a newness in us that makes God very happy indeed!
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