Lenten Retreat

In preparation for lent, Fr. Swink talked about Prayer, Fasting, and Almsgiving.  He unpacked for us “why” we need all 3 and “how” best to be successful.

  • ANALOGY — He gave us an analogy of a hip replacement.  The doctor may give us a new hip, but unless we do the rehabilitation, it will not work.  Likewise, this is how we should look at our souls.  In confession, God totally forgives us through the priest. But we were scarred by the wound and the surgery, so we need to cooperate with the rehabilitation.  Some people end up worst than before surgery if they do not cooperate fully. In this case, to make reparation is to make amends. We also make reparation for others and it is a great act of mercy.  
  • PRAYER — Pray without ceasing.  Give thanks in all circumstances.  This is the will of God for you.  It is also the recipe for joy and peace.  In spite of what will happen next, He will provide the things I need. Humility is needed for good Prayer.  Lord I need you.  I can do nothing without your grace, but with you all things are possible. Spend time in quiet in front of the Blessed Sacrament — pray for own healing and the church during a Holy Hour.  Prayer is seeking the face of God.  Consider inviting someone to the Stations of the Cross or saying the Sorrowful mysteries every day during Lent — meditating on the agony in the garden and crowning with thorns.  Pick a specific time and place and God will in turn speak to your heart.
  • FASTING — Why do we fast?  It shows us how weak our will power is and it allows us to identify with the passion of Christ.  We suffer with him and cannot have what we want all the time.  Our body has a defect — the more care for and comfort our body, the more we need and then the body will not take no for an answer.  Fasting creates a vacuum in our lives to be filled by the Holy Spirit. If we give up the Internet and TV except for what we really need and good movies, we will be shocked at how much more time we have and how the homilies seem to get better.  Many of us waste time on things that don’t matter. Then when we need to do something important, there is no time for it.  Fr. Swink shared Fr. Sam Plummer’s list of do’s and don’t.
  • ALMSGIVING — God is generous!  Has God ever shocked you in giving you more than you asked for.  How merciful He is.  It is when you realize it, you give.  Otherwise, we become miserable. The happiest people are the most generous that starts with gratitude.  We are called to give of our time, talents, and treasure. We should become more used to being inconvenienced! St. Paul says God loves a cheerful giver.  She should be more giving and less complaining about our duties.  Start at home.  Where can we be more generous at home — more attentive to kids or undistracted with spouse? Get into conversations instead of TV.  Do things that help others.  It makes people feel loved and when they feel like they are not a burden, they turn to God. Love is going against our emotions or our first instinct to do what is best for the other. The act of generosity makes us feel good.
  • CLOSING — Our Lady and St. Paul help us with our reparation. When tempted, think about all that need prayer.  I rejoice in my sufferings for for your sake.  Lord, do not let me be disqualified.  Father not my will, but yours be done.