Tag Archives: Service

Monday Conversation: What will you do for Lent? Catholic Inspiration

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The season of Lent offers a powerful opportunity for conversion, spiritual growth, and developing our relationships with the Lord and one another.  However, I also know that this season has a way of sneaking up on us.  Life moves fast, and we can get caught up in any number of tasks – missing the necessary preparation and perspective to get the most out of these 40 Days.

As a guide, I suggest starting with the “Fruits of the Spirit” that St. Paul writes about in his letter to the Galatians (5:22-23).  They are:

  • Love
  • Joy
  • Peace
  • Patience
  • Kindness
  • Goodness
  • Faithfulness
  • Gentleness
  • Self-Control

First, do we see these in our lives?  Are there people, situations, interactions, locations (home, work, school, community) where we see consistent evidence of their presence?  If so, then how can we help them flourish and grow?  How can we create more opportunities to allow the Spirit to work in our lives?

Second, are these absent in our lives?  Or worse, are their opposites present?  Is hatred, despair, turmoil, and the like alive in our hearts?  If so, how can we make the necessary changes to allow the Spirit into our lives?

Now here’s how this gets practical.  It is often customary during Lent to “do” something or “give up” something for these 40 days.  How about this…

  1. “Do” something that fosters the Fruits of the Spirit in my life.
  2. “Give up” something that is in conflict with the Fruits of the Spirit.

Where do we look?  Try this for starters…

  1. WHAT we do – the Activity
  2. WHO we do it with – the People
  3. WHERE we do it – the Location

“Doing” can include any number of things:

  • Helping a neighbor, family member or friend – in a spirit of kindness and gentleness
  • Drawing near to people who are spiritually good – who make us more loving and peaceful
  • Spending time on activities that help us use God’s talents in a good and holy way
  • Concentrating our efforts on opportunities where we know that God is present
  • Being in locations and situations that foster a strong and healthy life

“Giving up” can look like this:

  • Is there anything destructive, harmful, unholy, or evil that needs to be removed?
  • Are there people who are leading us to harm or destruction?
  • Are there locations, situations, or circumstances that are unholy for us?

Using the “Fruits of the Spirit” as a measurement, we can quickly reveal the pattern of our lives.  If it is spiritually fruitful, then we can strengthen this.  If it is spiritually destructive, then perhaps this season of Lent gives us an opportunity to give it up and start directing our lives in better ways.

Furthermore, Lent has classic opportunities for Study, Prayer, and Service:

Study: Scripture, the Catechism, a Devotional, Spiritual Reading

Prayer: Mass, Confession, Rosary, Scripture, Devotions, Stations of the Cross

Service: at home, the neighborhood, the community, the Church

God keeps inviting, keeps forgiving, and keeps extending grace and mercy to all who seek it.  Now is the time to get ready for a powerful Lent – where we turn to Jesus and allow His grace to transform our hearts.  Give serious thought to what you can do to make this season special, and open your to heart to Jesus Christ.

What will you do?  What will you give up?  Make it a great Lent!

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Note: This post was originally published on February 26, 2014.


Daily Mass: Do you need to rest? Catholic lnspiration

Jesus invites the disciples to rest after they return from their mission.  It’s a good reminder that there is always more work than we can possibly accomplish; our task is to make sure that we balance our lives with the rest we need so that we can keep serving the Lord.

Mass Readings – Saturday of the 4th Week of the Year

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Daily Mass: Called by God. Catholic Inspiration

Jesus calls the Twelve disciples by name and empowers them for ministry.  The Lord does the same for us!  May we say yes and allow God’s grace to work through our imperfections so that we may serve others with the love of Christ.

Mass Readings – Friday of the 2nd Week of the Year

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Daily Mass: Here am I Lord! Catholic Inspiration

The Lord’s ministry touches hearts and changes lives, as people encounter Jesus and begin to serve in new and unique ways.  Like them, we can echo the words of Samuel and the Psalmist as we say, “Here am I Lord!  I come to do your will.”

Mass Readings – Wednesday of the 1st Week of the Year

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Daily Mass: Directing others toward the Lord. Catholic Inspiration

John the Baptist redirected the attention he received toward Jesus, and his example inspires us to consider how our words and actions – attentive to the needs of those around us – can bring people closer to the Lord.

Mass Readings – Memorial of Saints Basil & Gregory Nazianzen

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Daily Mass: Jesus teaches “church work” to the Apostles. Catholic Inspiration

The Lord offers an example of ministry and then empowers the Apostles to do the same.  Our Church today is not only founded on their work, but continues through our efforts to proclaim the Gospel in our lives today.

Mass Readings – Saturday of the 1st Week of Advent

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1st Sunday of Advent: Are you ready?

Study: Consider an experience where you were able to be still, pause and reflect.  How can you make that pattern happen this Advent?

Pray: Carve out a few minutes this season for quiet prayer.  Reflect on your life and invite the Lord to dwell in your heart.

Serve: There are many opportunities this time of year to help others.  Look around for an activity that speaks to your soul.

Mass Readings – 1st Sunday of Advent

Advent is one of those seasons that has the power to surprise us.  Just like the relationship between Lent and Easter, Advent offers us a time to prepare our hearts for the great feast of Christmas.  In this short season we discover the themes of Preparation, Waiting, Expectation, Repentance, and Stillness.

The thing is…if we aren’t ready for Advent then the whirlwind rush of December can sweep us up into the frenzy of the commercial side of the holiday.  Many people are so busy – concerts, parties, family events, purchasing gifts and partaking of the “forced fun” of consumerism’s attempt at a Hallmark Christmas…

Whew!  Instead, we can take a deep breath, pray, and reflect on where the Lord is leading us at this moment in our lives.  Consider the readings this Sunday:

  • 1st Reading – Isaiah acknowledges that the people are far from God
  • Psalm – “Lord make us turn to you; show us your face and we shall be saved.”
  • 2nd Reading – St. Paul encourages the people of Corinth to be faithful to the end.
  • Gospel – The Lord exhorts us to be watchful and alert.

So in these short days of preparation here are a few questions to ponder:

  • Where I can find a little stillness and quiet in my life?
  • How is the Lord calling me to pray?
  • Is there anything or anyone that requires special attention?
  • Where is the Lord leading me right now?
  • What do I need to do as I prepare for Christmas?
  • How can I help someone in this quiet season of Advent?

You get the idea.  Step back, pause, and consider in the busy pace that many of us call normal how the Lord is directing your heart.  Advent has a beauty and power; our task is to enter into this season and allow God to speak to our souls.

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