by Sister Annette Koss
When I was a child, Lent was not something I looked forward to; my attitude toward Lent was on the gloomy side. It meant giving up, especially candy, and giving over more time to church. I remember, four weeks into Lent, biting into a chocolate in the back of the car. I instantly felt that I had blown it for this Lenten season; I didn't give it to God.
Now I believe that I can receive the gift of God's presence again and again through Word, Cross and Eucharist in Community. I find it is more about receiving again the gift of the Spirit, actually every moment of every day.
Before going to sleep, I rewind the day and ask, "Where did I receive again the love of the Spirit?" I usually fall asleep and resume the rewind somewhere in the middle of the night. I ask forgiveness for the times I let the presence of Jesus pass through my midst, for the times when the temptations of materialism, status and power cast shadows on the presence of the Risen Jesus. Before rising, I fast forward the day and ask, "Where might I receive and share the Spirit of Love again?"
For many years I have prepared RCIA people (adults preparing for baptism or confirmation through the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults) to break open word in life and scripture. It is all about waking up and staying awake to receive again and again the abiding active presence of the Spirit of the Risen Jesus.
chapter 10, US Catholic Catechism for Adults
by Sister Lynne Marie Simonich
"The word 'Church' originally meant a gathering or assembly. In Christian usage, the word 'church' refers to the worshipping community, the local community (parish), and the entire universal community of believers ... In the Church, God now calls together all people into one community of faith, hope and love. God calls us and forms us into a community of love, sharing faith in Christ Jesus in the common hope of eternal salvation.
"The Church possesses both divine and human elements, a visible society and a spiritual society. The Church is a holy mystery, because her origin is in the community of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit ... The Church is the sacrament of our salvation, the sign and instrument of our communion and relationship with God. The Church is the People of God ... the Body of Christ ... and the Temple of the Holy Spirit. The Church is a communion that begins with our union with Christ Jesus ... We are given a share in the communion of the Trinity and drawn into a community of faith, hope, and love with all men and women."
(from the Catechism of the Catholic Church: #751-752, 758-769, 770-780, 781-786, 813)
Thanks Annette for sharing the real essence of lent. Love the tag line.
Thanks, Annette, for your concrete reflection, -- especially the 'rewind' and 'fast forward' questions about the presence of the Spirit in one's day.