Fourth Sunday of Lent

03-11-2018On the JourneyFr. Dennis G. Lewandowski

As we reach the half-point of Lent, let us take a few minutes to reassess our Lenten commitment to prayer, almsgiving, and fasting. It is important to keep in mind that these three practices are intended to help us prepare our hearts for the joy of Easter.

Praying helps us nourish our relationship with God and grow our faith. Almsgiving reminds us that we are the body of Christ and that we are to take care of not only ourselves but of others. The third practice is fasting, which brings us back to Jesus and helps us put Him in the front and center of our life.

For the past three weeks, we have been sharing different ideas on fasting. This week, we'd like you to consider fasting from relentlessly searching for your happiness and feast on bringing happiness to others, instead.

I understand it can be hard to think about making someone else happy when we are not feeling happy ourselves, but it is not impossible. I believe that when you focus on giving or doing something good for someone else, you are less likely to be consumed by your concerns and challenges. Let me share some of my personal experience with these feelings.

My mother, Eleanore, passed away last Saturday. She was a caring mother, a steadfast Catholic, devout to the Divine Mercy and loved to pray the Rosary every day of her life. She taught my younger sister Debbie and me to love God above all else from a very young age.

I became my mother's primary caregiver after my father's death four years ago. Although Mom was in good health for her age, I knew how much she was missing Dad. We all did. So, I realized that no matter how busy I was, she needed me. Mom needed her son's love and attention to help her move on without her life-long partner.

As much as my responsibilities as the pastor of this parish keep me busy, God enabled me to make time to focus on my mother. I am grateful for having had the opportunity to care for her during the last four years of her life, and I am grateful for my sister's love and support. I could not have done it without Debbie and her family's help.

The greatest comfort we have as Christians is the hope and trust that our relationship with our loved ones does not end at death; we trust the Lord's promise that we will reunite with them in heaven. However, I know it will take a while to get used to not spending time with my mother every day.

As you renew your Lenten commitment this week, I encourage you to try doing something meaningful for someone else.

On the journey, Fr. Dennis G. Lewandowski