Submitted by St. Mary on Sun, 02/11/2018 - 9:15am

Dear Parishioners:

This is a weekend for giving and receiving! As announced last weekend, we participate with parishes diocese-wide in the main 2018 Catholic Charities In-Pew Appeal. Thank you for your giving spirit! On the receiving side, of course as on any weekend we receive the supreme gift of the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist.

Additionally, available for the taking beginning this weekend are resources for use as individuals and families—to enhance our practice of Lenten prayer, fasting and almsgiving (WOW! Ash Wednesday is this Wednesday!). These include the CRS Rice Bowl kits and daily devotional books for the season.

I would like to share an excellent meditation for entering into this season of discipline:

Our Secret Weapon

We all have one: an ace up the sleeve to be played only when the chips are down. For you, this card may be the brilliant smile that once financed an orthodontist’s kid’s education. One flash of those radiant teeth, and everyone in the room agrees to follow you on Twitter.

Or perhaps your secret weapon is a dry wit; the ability to argue with compelling logic; an attractive vulnerability that makes every opponent’s heart melt in surrender…

As we begin a new Lenten season, we’re invited to do spiritual battle using a special tool recommended in our Collect prayer (for Ash Wednesday Mass): self-restraint. How does this squishy-sounding virtue qualify as a weapon? Primarily, it identifies self-will as the real opponent we face in every contest. While obstacles and adversaries may impede our daily agenda, if we give in to the need to dominate, the desire to be proven right, as followers of Jesus we've already handed the victory away. Self-restraint involves reining in my will so that God’s will alone gains expression. If it sounds difficult, well, it is. That’s why “self-control” makes the list of fruits reaped by those who allow the Spirit to act. With such an inside job as this, the indwelling Spirit is a necessary partner.

Fasting, prayer and almsgiving assist us in saying no to self and yes to God. Keep your secret weapon within reach this Lent!

Alice Camille, as printed in Give Us This Day, February 208/Vol.8, No. 2, ISSN 2159-2136



Fr. Stephen