March 7 - An invitation with a cost.
Mar 7, 2019
Note: I will post these blogs 1-4 days ahead in case our readers want to read the day's earlier in the mornings.
Scriptures: Moses sets before the Hebrew people life and death, prosperity and doom. The choice is simple, choose God, love God, obey God, and serve God, and eternal life will be yours. The greatest of all prosperity will find you. Jesus, in His ministry, takes this one step further. Jesus doesn't simply want us to choose, love, obey, and serve, but rather Jesus desires the intimate unity of family, the closest of friendships. As Christ has chosen to partake and share in our lives, so we are called to share in Christ's. Jesus first took up the cross in order to eliminate the distance sin has put between us. Today's scripture calls us to choose God at the cost of taking up a cross for Him daily. God loves more greatly than we could ever dream, but we must learn to love with the greatest type of love, "To lay down one's life for your friends."
Core Faith Principle: The rules on Lenten fasting and abstinence are as follows, Catholics who are aged 14+ must abstain from meat on Ash Wednesday and all Fridays during Lent. Catholics who are between 18-59 must also fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. Catholics 60+ must practice the abstinence rules but are not required to fast. All Catholics of all ages are encouraged to participate according to their ability. People may be excused from abstinence or fasting based on medical conditions, ask a priest if you have any questions. All adults that are able (age 18-59) are encouraged to fast for the 40 days of Lent. Many cannot because of work requirements (strength) or other practical reasons. Why fasting and abstinence? These are practices of discipline that challenge our earthly desires (the desires of the flesh), we are meant to cast them aside for a short time in order to pursue our love of God and the desires of the spirit. This is why those who cannot fast are asked to give up something else like Candy, Fast Food, Fishing, TV, etc., children can do this as well. When fasting Sundays are not fasting days so that the person fasting can renew their strength. Because every Sunday is a "Little Easter" you may also have something you have given up for Lent. Sometimes people choose not to take the Sunday repast, but that is up to each individual. (Lent is 40 days if you don't include Sundays it is 47 days).
Living this at Home: In our American culture we are very quick to individualize everything. However, the family itself is what we call the Domestic Church. The family not only promotes faith at home, but also security and stability. You can choose a family practice for Lent as easily as the kids/adults can choose personal sacrifices. Sometimes by doing it together you can reinforce the purpose (we're giving it up because we love Jesus more than this thing). A Lenten family goal can be to go to Confession as a family during the Lenten Season. To remove desserts on Wednesdays and Fridays. To make one night a week dinner and games for Lent (sit down, media free, and share a meal and stories... Clean up... and play a family game together.) Many families lament the loss of some of these traditions, but the real key to the traditions is being intentional about it. The more your family makes time to grow together in Jesus' name, the more blessed it will be.
Note: Don't be the person who doesn't do anything because you didn't start at the beginning of Lent. Start Now. God is really weird when it comes to things like this, he'll give the same reward at the end of the day to the one that started in the middle then the one in started in the beginning. Those who do the whole thing would be like, "Hey!" but Jesus would reply, "I gave you your due, who are you to complain how generous I am with others." - See Matthew Chapter 20.