For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps.
The text above from the First Letter of St. Peter was aimed at new Christians. Peter is saying that Christianity is not easy. Christianity demands a lot from us. Some will not understand why we endure what we endure. Others will pile on those who have entered the kingdom of God. Suffering is part of the Christian life. Our Pre-Lent and Lenten journey are specifically designed to call us to self-sacrifice, to connect with and undertake some suffering for the sake of Christ and His Church (the Body of Christ – all of us together), and to walk the difficult road Jesus traveled to the Cross. Self-sacrifice and suffering go hand in hand.
We all know what it is like to give something up. Whether it is the fasting we do on Wednesdays and Fridays, or some deeper abstinence from certain behaviors that have become sinful in our lives. Being honest, we know it will hurt to do those things. Yet we must. What that suffering comes down to then is how we meet it. We might meet it with fear, trepidation, and a propensity to dwell on the negative or we could turn our thoughts to the joyful outcomes and experiences we will derive from what we undertake. The result is that our current suffering for Christ’s body will return to us as blessings and miracles.
Similarly, walking with Jesus, particularly through acts of devotion and prayer (Stations, Bitter Lamentations, a Lenten Retreat) keep us connected to what He suffered for us. We come to clearly see God giving His whole self for us, accepting the worst pain and punishment of all – physical and psychological – because God sees us as worth His Son’s suffering. The result is that we do not underestimate our value in God’s eyes. We see His love full on.
God calls us to live in the pattern Jesus laid out for us in sacrifice, suffering, and in walking with Him. He is alongside us as our Guide as we put our feet in His footprints. We then should follow His steps with every effort now so to do so forever.
Welcome to our February 2024 Newsletter. We have already entered into our Pre-Lenten journey and we reflect both on this time of preparation and how we will meet Lent head-on this Ash Wednesday, February 14th. We cover the various disciplines of Lent, our upcoming Lenten retreat, and offer suggestions for directed giving. Our various parish meetings are upcoming, part of our celebration of a tradition that goes back to the early Church, shared decision making. We once again support Super Bowl Sunday in giving to local food charities. There are prayers for Pre-Lent and for Valentine’s Day. Is there a parish ministry in your future? And… are you incensed? All that and more in our February 2024 Newsletter.