In Step with the Season: Weekly Message for 03-01-2022

Dear Friends in Christ,

An aphorism heard many years ago still sticks in the memory banks. “If everyone swept his front steps each day,” the saying went, “the world would be a much cleaner place.”

There is empowering wisdom built into that statement. It sums up an approach to life that can give purpose and direction and a sense of hope to the many decisions we make each day.

A similar kind of wisdom is built into the season of Lent, which begins this Wednesday.

When we look around the world and see lots of intractable problems, we can be numbed into passivity. Or we can be tempted to retreat into a cave of comfort, be it in the form of food or social media, or video games.

But Lent can help us to avoid that pitfall. Lent is a season that can remind us that the move toward a better world begins when we sweep our own front steps first.

This cleaning can take the form of a three-pillared program.

The first pillar involves sacrifice (no ice cream or no TV, for instance). The second involves prayer (say, a daily rosary or daily Mass). The third involves almsgiving (donations to the poor or other acts of charity).

These pillars of Lent can help steer a soul toward positive action that allows the Holy Spirit to do his work more easily.

To prepare for the season, you might find it useful to turn to The Trouble with Trust: A Retreat Guide for Lent.

Not long ago a popular mantra among some activists was to “think globally, act locally.”

That strategy has value in the spiritual realm, too. For the world to improve, each of us needs to make an effort to get closer to Our Lord.

May your Lent be fruitful.

In Christ,

Father Edward McIlmail, LC
Ask a Priest contributor

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