Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Secular Franciscan Thoughts on Lent

We're planning a discussion on Lent for our Secular Franciscan gathering later this week. But I don't want it to degenerate into reminiscing about what we used to give up for Lent as kids, or what we ate on Fridays for lunch. That happens sometimes when you have a group discussion. Keeping it (gently) on topic can be a challenge. So I want to have some good discussion ideas ready.

*Father H. is reminding us each day at Mass that the purpose of Lent is to ready us to renew our Baptismal promises at Easter. Will we know what it means to reject Satan and all his empty promises, and to believe in the Father, Son and Holy Spirit?

*Here's a passage from Reflections of a Secular Franciscan by Ruth Vogel, SFO.

[Christ's] words, "Let him take up his cross and follow me," is discipline and self-control, as he taught. Isn't this what it means to live the Gospel way?
Now, the only way in the world we can cultivate these virtues is by persistent and arduous training. It is sometimes a grueling, day-in-and-day-out forcing ourselves to practice these acts of self-denial.
Self-denial covers a multitude of things. It is not only fasting from something to eat, or denying ourselves some desirable entertainment or recreation. It includes saying no, no, a thousand times no, to ourselves in such pleasurable little goodies as giving someone a piece of our mind; talking behind someone's back; wanting our own way too much; ... making excuses for our own faults and having intolerance for other people's faults, etc., etc.--so many etceteras. Most of these are little failings, but some are bigger and some can be down right deadly. St. Paul said, "They who belong to Christ have crucified their flesh with its passions and desires."
We, who are of the "Order of Penance," should examine our consciences daily, and if in addition, we reverently make use of the Sacrament of Penance, we will find ourselves strengthened in purpose and icreased in the holiness of the Holy Spirit. We say we are striving for perfection--all right then, we should soft-pedal our pride, our greed, our lust, our envy, our anger (in particular our revengeful anger) and our sloth or laziness in exerting ourselves to penance. We should show loud and clear what it means to be humble, patient, moderate, kind, meek, and poor in spirit.

More to come!

3 comments:

Esther G. said...

Barb, thanks for sharing this with us. BTW, I picked up a book the other day: To Live as Francis Lived: A Guide for Secular Franciscans by Leonard Foley, et al. Are you familiar with it? It is worth reading? TIA

Barb, sfo said...

Esther, it's an excellent book! In fact, I have some passages marked from chapter 12 to bring to the meeting too.

Esther G. said...

Great! Thanks Barb!