A church here in our community (not pictured above) advertises “Ashes To-Go,” a drive-thru exercise in minimalism when it comes to approaching Lent. I am not criticizing our neighbors in the least, they are observing the season according to their own custom. I just won’t be emulating them.
Lent is an ancient tradition observed throughout the western Christian community as an annual period of preparation for Easter. The faithful and those new to faith alike are encouraged to greater attention to the word of God as they grow deeper as disciples of Christ. Renewed efforts in prayer, penance, and giving nobly characterize this season, which finds its source and summit in the Sunday celebration of the Mass.
This year there is a wealth of opportunities to observe Lent at Nativity and we invite you and your family to join us. This is a great time to consider the practice of daily Mass. Ours is celebrated at the convenient time of 5:30 pm each weekday. This is preceded by the Rosary at 5 pm, also a worthy practice to undertake this time of year, whether here at church or as a private devotion. If you are unfamiliar with the practice, there are apps available to walk you through it step by step. Eucharistic Adoration, especially useful and powerful for our prayer, is available each Sunday morning (in our Chapel) and each first Friday of the month, throughout the day.
Lent also calls forth self-sacrifice in terms of fasting and abstinence, beginning with a full day of fasting on Ash Wednesday itself, and meatless Fridays throughout the season. A little daily sacrifice is most certainly in order as well and can take many different forms. “Giving up” snacks or sweets, or wine or liquor can serve as simple daily reminders of the period of penance we observe. And our fasting should be matched by giving, in terms of giving to the poor or giving in our place of worship as an act of worship. Some participation in one of the many service projects we host each week of the season is a perfect match for all these practices. Joining a small group is another way to stay on top of your resolve and commitment to your Lenten discipline.
You can check out all our Lenten programs, services, and schedules at churchnativity.com. At Nativity, we will have ashes available from 7am to 7pm in our main church sanctuary. However, the Lenten commitment doesn’t stop there.
The Church calls us to enter a season that is anything but minimal. Instead, it is immersive, calling forth our very best efforts in a sustained and substantial commitment to penance, prayer, and renewal. It is a renewal of the soul and spirit. Don’t make it a drive-thru experience.