Looking forward to Lent, renovation - Catholic Courier
Matthew H. Clark Matthew H. Clark

Looking forward to Lent, renovation

Here follow a few notes collected on a mid-winter day.

1) There was quite a surprise waiting when I returned home from the office today. The construction team working on our cathedral renovation project had razed three homes facing Ridgeway Avenue. Others are to be taken down, but the space already cleared allows one to imagine the possibilities this work opens up for the mother church of our diocese.

The number of parking places available will be greatly increased. The green areas that will lend beauty to the property will afford opportunities for rest, relaxation and prayer. In addition, we’ll be able to provide at-grade access to our cathedral church from the Ridgeway Avenue side of the building.

To see that work progressing was truly a February morale boost. After many and long delays, work has now resumed. We can all look forward to tracking progress through the months ahead. It will be a joy to watch as gifted artisans re-create a cathedral church of remarkable beauty.

2) I can hardly believe that Lent begins less than two weeks from now.
Rushing the seasons, you think? I don’t mean to. I just want to anticipate Lent a little so that we can all begin it with hearts open to the conversion and renewal to which the Lord calls us during those holy days.

One of the classic calls to Lenten practice is formed in the triple exhortation to prayer, fasting and almsgiving. Taken together, these three practices put us in touch with our relationships to God, to neighbors and to the goods at our disposal.

It might be helpful in these pre-Lenten days to review in a peaceful and trusting way those significant relationships in our lives. Are they as full and life-giving as we would like them to be? Or have they run downhill because we have been stingy, distracted, hardhearted or just plain way off base?
These can be intimidating — even frightening — questions if we try to handle them on our own. But, if we take them to heart trusting the Lord’s promises to us, then we can be sure that we will experience life in a deeper, more joy-filled way.

One further thought. Because the deep call of Lent focuses so deeply on our relational life, it is a privileged time in which to journey with others. For that reason, participation with the community at the celebration of the Sunday Eucharist seems especially appropriate and important. In addition, it is good for us to pray with those with whom we daily share our lives. Are there ways in which we would be willing to do that — prayer at meal time, before bed, at the beginning of a new day? It needn’t be elaborate or time consuming. It can be as simple as a request that God bless our Lenten prayer, bring new life to our relationships and bring a healthy perspective for our lives.

3) It’s bad enough that creaky knees remind me that the years are racing by. Now comes St. Valentine’s Day and the ninth birthday of the eldest of my grandnieces and grandnephews, Julie Katherine Neff. I cannot believe that this little treasure has been around that long, or that in the years since her birth five other members of her generation have come along.

I marvel at the unfolding of their distinct personalities and find in their company lively reminders that God is always giving us new life and new hope.

My prayers are with you.

Peace to all.

Tags: Bishop Matthew H. Clark
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