Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Lent Begins

The Season of Lent is surely a time for reflection: upon ones journey in life; on the challenges which prevent us from meeting our commitments; and upon the many graces which God bestows on us every day. We are blessed to feel moved to engage our God in the triad of traditional Lenten practices: prayer, fasting and almsgiving. And yes, we are conscious of our brokenness and of God’s healing power for us.

Ash Wednesday here at the seminary began as it did for many of you: with the receiving of ashes, serving as a visible reminder of our intention to avoid sin and to follow the Gospel. The community then attended a two part presentation given by the seminary’s own Father Charles Brown who led us in reflections on St. Paul, particularly the passage found in Philippians 2:6-11. As always, Father Brown was engaging and offered all a fresh perspective on Pauline wisdom! The day concluded with a closing prayer service in the chapel. Opportunities to participate in the Sacrament of Reconciliation and a modest lunch were sandwiched (no pun intended) in between.

Lent is also a time marked by a healthy interest in food, the presence of a fishy sort and the absence (at least on Fridays) of the four-legged variety. I must confess that I miss being with you in the vortex of fried fish mania which is a feature of so many Friday nights in Louisville-area parishes during the Lenten season.

Here’s a secret, my friends: the folks up here simply don’t “do” fish the way it is done back home. And, so, from the land of dairy and sausage products here in Wisconsin, I can only say: eat a fried fish sandwich for me during this Lenten season. Extra tartar sauce, please!

Healthfulness of mind and soul begins with prayer. To accompany my own prayer during the first few weeks of this Lenten season, I have selected a seemingly unconventional book to peruse: “Between Heaven and Mirth” by the Jesuit priest, James Martin. Laughter, humor and joy strike me as being at the heart of healthy spirituality. In upcoming blog entries, I will relay (whatever worthy) insights occur a result of my reading this relatively short (200+ pages) book. And, like my prior recommendation of “Rescuing Regina” (see the February 7 post), I don’t receive any royalties here---so buy two copies of Father Martin’s book and give one to a friend.

May your Lenten journey be filled with many graces,


Steven Henriksen

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