Lent and Spiritual Renewal
Somehow Lent is already upon us. This Wednesday, February 22 is Ash Wednesday. Please check the schedule for Ash Wednesday Masses and services. Things are a little different than normal because we won’t have Mass at St. Lawrence until Saturday (more on that later).
Sometimes those of us who regularly go to Mass get frustrated with how many people attend Ash Wednesday Mass. Sometimes we ask questions like, “where are all these people during the rest of the year?” Sometimes there is an assumption that people only show up because they receive a physical sign (ashes on the forehead). Maybe this is true but maybe it isn’t.
I’ve definitely been on the frustrated side of things, wondering why there aren’t this big of crowds on other holy days. However I think that the attraction to Ash Wednesday is deeper than ashes on the forehead. Deep down all of us want renewal. In our hearts, all of us know that our lives aren’t as they should be. We know that we are ruled by our passions, not praying enough, or need to be more generous. The high attendance on Ash Wednesday, I think, is the sign that we know that we are made for more.
There is a divine spark in each of us that knows that we are made for heaven. We all want to become a saint. Ash Wednesday is the beginning of the Lent that, if we’re honest, we know that we need. We desire transformation and renewal. The key is to not let this movement for more die by the first Sunday of Lent.
How do we allow the Lord to renew us this Lent? The Gospel on Ash Wednesday shows us the threefold path: prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. I highly recommend starting small. Do something that is achievable: like praying a decade of the rosary each day or fasting from eating between meals. If we are training to run a marathon, we can’t run 20 miles on our first day. We need to build our spiritual lives slowly and humbly. Spiritual renewal happens in small ways over long periods of time, like the growth of a flower.
Be assured of my prayers for you during this Lenten season. I am offering up my Lenten penances for you and the spiritual renewal of all of our parishioners. Please pray for me. I’m still in the midst of Exodus 90. It has definitely lost its luster and the fight is on. Please pray for perseverance.
Speaking of perseverance, the people of St. Lawrence have been exiled from their building for the last three and a half months. Well the time is here to return. This Sunday, February 19th the pews will be reinstalled and we’ll have Mass there on the following Saturday evening.
Thank you to everyone who made this possible. The Church is absolutely stunning! I am so excited to show all of our parishioners and to welcome as many guests as possible. There are so many people to thank for this beautification. Blanck Studios led the project and did an incredible job. Also they contracted Bergman Paint and Drywall who completed their work quickly and skillfully. We are grateful to the committee that worked with our contractors to select colors and the designs. Thank you so much. Also thank you to the parishioners who removed the pews and will be reinstalling them. Cindy Quellhorst and Beth Klopfenstein in our office did a spectacular job coordinating the project.
There is an inscription over the entrance to the building from the Psalms, “I rejoiced when they said to me ‘Let us go to the house of the Lord’”. With great joy we are returning to St. Lawrence Church, grateful that the Lord has shown us His glory. I invite everyone to stop by St. Lawrence and see the beautiful building.
Sincerely in Christ,
Fr. Sean Wilson