March 9, 2022 Setting Out on the Way Reflections by a Sister Servant Greetings in Christ from the Sister Servants, wishing a holy and blessed Lent to each one of you! The Church gives us this valuable season, guided by rich liturgies, as an opportunity to examine ourselves and our relationship with the Lord. The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that the season of Lent is an “intense [moment] of the Church’s penitential practice.” (CCC 1438) We have forty days, this desert time, during which we keep our gaze focused on Christ’s sacrificial suffering. It helps us prepare to enter deeply into the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ. The Church has traditionally taught that prayer, fasting, and almsgiving are vehicles to help us keep proper focus throughout Lent. Over the years, we’ve all given up many things, promised to add more prayers to our day, and maybe even put a little more in the collection plate at Mass. But this past Friday’s first reading at Mass from Isaiah is quite startling and struck me as my own guide for Lent this year. (It can be read in full, here.) “Do you call this a fast, a day acceptable to the Lord?” (Is 58:5) My personal takeaway from Isaiah was that I must dive deeper into Lent this year, beyond my chosen discipline. Easter Sunday has to be more than congratulating ourselves for successfully keeping our fast, finally sticking to Bible in a Year (I confess, I started over, too), or fulfilling our extra tithing at Church. Our personal relationship with God is the most important thing we can ever cultivate for ourselves in this life. We need to choose disciplines that will help us bare ourselves fully open to Him this Lent. As the prophet Isaiah says, God wants to be invited in to heal our wounds, be our rear guard, and answer our every cry (Is 58:8-9). I encourage us all, no matter what we have chosen to add to or eliminate from our lives this Lent, that they are means of making us more mindful every day of the God Who loves us so much that He gave us His own life for us. This is a Truth, a gift, that we need to open ourselves to receive as deeply as possible, come Holy Week. God desires that we have life to the full. As His light grows within us, breaking forth like the dawn, may we be a light to others long after our Lenten season has passed. We are walking with you during this holy season, and keep each one of you in our daily prayers.