by Matt Karr
During my years working with RCIA at St. Ann in Prairie Village, I was always encouraged to see the zeal and excitement that the candidates and catechumens had in giving up stuff.
Whether it be coffee, or chocolate, or television, I was convicted by their enthusiasm to go without something good with such joy. Who knew not drinking coffee for no other reason than to make room for God could be so fun?
As a cradle Catholic, I always viewed the Lenten sacrifices of fasting, not eating meat of Fridays, and giving up something as mostly duty. So where did the excitement of these soon-to-be Catholics in giving up stuff come from? I believe it was from an inner conviction that they wanted to make more room for Jesus in their lives and in their families. They could say “no” to good things because they were embrac- ing the best thing — Jesus.
Lent offers each of us an opportunity to say “no” to good things so we can make room in our lives, families, and homes for Jesus. There are number of good ways to grow in your faith this Lent:
1. Go to confession. The sacrament of reconciliation will be offered at all parishes* in the archdiocese on Wednesday nights throughout Lent. (*Note — If your priest serves multiple parishes, please check to see where confessions will be held on Wednesday nights.) I would encourage you this Lent to make use of this great sacrament.
2. Attend Mass more often. We have an opportunity as Catholics to attend Mass every day. Lent is a great opportunity to resolve to go to Mass more often.
3. Study the faith. There are many opportunities to learn more about the Catholic faith in the archdiocese. Men Under Construction, a conference for Catholic men, will be hosted at Ascension Church on Feb. 25. (For more details, see the website at: www. ksmuc.org.) Our resource center offers Bible studies and adult faith formation studies, including “The Catholicism Project” for check out to anyone in the archdiocese. (To check something out, send an email to: ecatsec@archkck. org.)
4. Make time for family meals together. Making time for two to three meals a week together during Lent is really an opportunity to grow as a family. Grandparents can even invite the kids and their grandkids over for a meal.
5. Make time for prayer. One of the key elements of Lent is spending more time in prayer. If you are looking for something to jump start your prayer, check out the website at: www.daily scripture.net.
The desire of the Lord is that we should turn away from our sins, give up good things to make room in our hearts for the best thing, and return to him with all our hearts!