PASTORAL THOUGHT

2-11-18

 

            We live by our desires. We instinctively desire what is good, for ourselves and for others. God made us so. The deepest desire is for the ultimate happiness. And this is WHY we have Lent.

            Our desires lead us right until we make them into our goal instead of our direction signs and rest stops toward that goal, which is participation in the fully redeemed communion of humanity. This goal is not reached until death. Lent is the time when we give special attention to orienting our desires to their true goal.

            We desire food and drink...sexual fulfillment...acknowledgement/reputation...to be capable/successful...to possess...to love and be loved...to resist threats and dangers…. These are all good desires. Yet they are also capable of dominating our lives, even to the extent of replacing God. Gluttony/addiction-lust/infidelity-pride-envy-greed-hatred/bitterness/cowardice—no need to elaborate further.

            Lent calls us to examine our desires and bring them into subjection to our conscience enlightened by faith. It is plowing-and-planting time for new good habits. Prayer, self-denial and works of mercy are the way we form these habits. Prayer means some extra time for scripture, meditation, self-examine. Self-denial may involve limiting legitimate pleasures that claim too much of us. Works of Mercy abound. (You might consider our new parish project Family Promise to feed and shelter homeless families.)

            Lent is a path to happiness because it helps us desire what is good for oneself, and for everyone in the very best way.

                                                            Father John Hynes