18/19 February 2017 £818.59
My dear friends in Christ,
In today’s gospel Jesus tells us not to worry. “Easier said than done” you might say! And so indeed it is. We all carry anxieties and worries about all sorts of things; some important, and some not so important. The important ones can be overwhelming at times and the not so important ones can be deceiving in that we don’t realise they’re not so important. Either way, worries and anxieties can pre-occupy us. Because we tend to be fiercely independent, this pre-occupation very often leads us to put more pressure on ourselves in ‘sorting it’. In other words, we don’t share the burden, we don’t get a second opinion and we don’t see another view. Sometimes we can feel we’re ‘sinking beneath the waves’. The scriptures this weekend invite us to place more trust in God. Although God doesn’t wave a magic wand over everything, we can share our burdens with him and sometimes gain new insights which can help and support us. It’s not a bad idea to share our burdens with those who are close to us either!
This coming week we begin the holy season of Lent on Ash Wednesday. (Please see Mass times overleaf). As you know this is a time of spiritual preparation for the greatest event in the Church’s year which is Easter. The Church traditionally gives us three tenets which form the foundation of our preparation: prayer, fasting and almsgiving (charity). All three are interlinked of course. In prayer, we aim to give more time to God and so, hopefully, become more enlightened through that personal contact. God can mould our hearts for love in ways that we can’t, which leads us to almsgiving. Although this is a rather old fashioned word, it’s meaning is very much at the heart of Christian mission which is care for the poor. Fasting has very ancient roots in religious practice. It is partly about not being controlled by urges or impulses which work to satisfy oneself, and is a cousin of ‘selfindulgence’. All three are about self-sacrifice, not for its own sake, but for God or someone else, particularly someone in need. The spiritual fruits that flow from our Lenten preparation will be subject to the level of engagement you have with these three things - “you only get out of it what you put into it”.
Wishing you every blessing for Lent.