February 22, 2017

The beautiful and warm days of February continues.  I told Anna Murray yesterday that this is highly unusual and that all of the Ryan women from Florida and California are very lucky.  She said that it is a good way to move to the winter in the Midwest and be prepared for possible more challenging winters.  Let us take what we have and appreciate these good days.

Next Wednesday is Ash Wednesday which begins Lent.  I wrote last week about fasting and want to bring up a second spiritual practice of Lent.  This is something that is important for us in our relationship with Christ.  It is our prayer life.  We will be reminded next week that we are called during Lent to examine three areas of life.  They are prayer, fasting and alms giving.  We looked at fasting and saw that it may be about more than giving up candy, sweets or chocolate.

Let us look at how we pray.

Prayer is something we do either alone or as part of a community. Most private prayer can be in the morning or at night.  These are times that we can examine our lives and thank God for the good things that have occurred during the day and the challenges we have faced.  We may remember that someone was kind or helped you prepared for a test or encouraged you when you were discouraged or worried about something. You may have done something that helped a friend. We look at two or three good things during the day and thank God for them.  Our personal prayer can help us to have a grateful heart which helps us love one another.

Some prayer is communal.  The simplest prayer is to say grace before meals.  Thanking God for the food we are about to receive is significant and it can enable you and your friends to be grateful and aware of the blessings you have.  Grace before meals is a simple communal prayer.

The most important communal prayer is Sunday Mass. I an inviting everyone in Ryan  to participate in Mass  because it is here that we realize that God loves us so much that he gives himself to us when we gather for Mass.  There are some people who say they get nothing out of Mass or they have to study.

What does it mean that you get nothing out of Mass?  What are you supposed to get?  I think what you get is God’s love and the love of the community.  Mass is a coming together and it is to hear the Word of God and share in the Eucharist.  We need this nourishment if we want to have the strength and inspiration to continue the work of Jesus when we leave our gathering for Mass. I want to encourage our Ryan Hall Community to attend Mass every Sunday during Lent.  It may help you to deepen your faith and to love your families and friends. Many already attend Mass on Sundays, how about going to Mass once or twice during the week.

Know I am praying for you every day.

Love you!

FJ

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