Encounter Lent is the theme of this year’s Catholic Relief Services (CRS) Rice Bowl program. How do we, as a parish family and as individuals, encounter Lent?
I like to think of Lent as a time of freeing myself from some of the busyness of life, the mundane moments, to dig deeper into my faith and my relationship with others on this planet we call Earth. It is a different way of thinking; some introspection, reflection, a calmness to let the Holy Spirit enter in and be my guide. 40 days in the desert, in our life situation, in prayer, in fasting, in almsgiving, in acts of mercy, and in solidarity with the poor and downtrodden of the world, preparing for the promise of Easter.
We do not experience the Lenten journey alone. Fellow travelers are those in our faith community and across the world. We join nearly 14,000 Catholic communities across the United States in this Lenten journey of encounter with CRS Rice Bowl.
The CRS Rice Bowl program offers us daily reflections and inspiration that you can download to your phone, using the link on the Rice Bowl box. There are stories in the booklet that comes with your Rice Bowl to share with family and other gatherings as we journey through Lent.
I have found times in my life when the Lenten journey was filled with family, and times I have been alone. I have felt the challenges of deserts in my life experiences. Yet, the Holy Spirit is always there, even when we don’t realize it.
I hope you review the Rice Bowl materials and make time to encounter people from around the world, through their stories in the CRS Rice Bowl materials. Decide on a time each day and put it in your calendar! You will figure out where I got that idea when you read the Christmas gift from our parish, the book Resisting Happiness.
When we Encounter Lent, we will find a deeper faith, and we are changed and refreshed in the process. Enjoy the journey!