From the desk of Deacon Dave Etters…
Lent is upon us! The beginning of this holy, penitential season was highlighted by our Ash Wednesday O, Come Let Us Adore holy hour. For those who attended, I think you would agree that it was a time filled with reverence, worship and beauty, and set the tone for our Lenten observance this year! If you missed it, there will be many other opportunities here this Lent: Stations of the Cross, 24 Hours for the Lord, Theology of the Body sessions, Communal Penance, and more. Details will be included in the bulletin, so stay tuned. Also, if you haven’t made a Lenten plan for this year don’t worry, it’s not too late…you can still do it!
Around the year 1910, The Times, a London England newspaper, sent out an inquiry to famous authors, asking the question, “What’s wrong with the world today?” Catholic author and apologist G.K. Chesterton responded simply,
Yours, G.K. Chesterton.”
Although there isn’t a document trail to authenticate this, it has the Chestertonian “ring” – the signature humility, wit and wisdom of the beloved Catholic convert, known as the ‘Apostle of Common Sense’.
A couple of weeks ago I was in somewhat of a funk, all stirred up and out of sync. This was largely because I was allowing anger about a particular situation to grow, “livin’ in my head rent free,” as the saying goes. Pretty soon the anger affected other areas of my life, and I became impatient and irritable. The old maxim has merit, “One rotten apple spoils the whole barrel.” Well, that was ‘no bueno’ (which along with ‘si’ essentially exhausts my Spanish vocabulary)! And so, it was off to the adoration chapel to work this out.
Gazing upon the Lord in the monstrance I thought, “I have good reason to be upset and angry Lord! Didn’t Jesus get angry at the crooked money changers? But, I’m right about this!” And on and on. I soon realized how many times the word “I” had surfaced in my internal arguments. Then, the above Chesterton story came to mind, and I began to see things in a different light. God was in charge of this situation, not me. I surrendered and whispered, “Yes Lord, I am what is wrong with the world!” The pent-up anger and tension eased as I handed over the issue to the Lord.
Years ago, I worked with an engineering manager who was a walking anthology of stories. One day he told about when he was a little toddler. He would play and run around the house dressed only in his diaper and t-shirt. After some time, he went to his mother and said, “Everywhere I go, something stinks.” I’ll never forget that story because it illustrates so clearly the fallen, sinful nature of Adam.
In the Genesis account, after Adam ate the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, the Lord God asked him a question: “Have you eaten from the tree of which I had forbidden you to eat? Adam replied, “The woman whom you put here with me—she gave me fruit from the tree, so I ate it.”
The question was not, “Who gave you the fruit?” Nor was the question, “Who placed Eve in the garden?” The question was, “Have YOU eaten from the tree?” When confronted, instead of being honest, Adam immediately shifted the blame to Eve (“the woman”) and ultimately to God himself (“whom you put here”). Adam is in effect saying it was the fault of the woman who gave him the fruit, and the fault of God who created and put her in the garden. The correct response should have been something like, “Yes Lord, I have sinned and eaten of the forbidden tree, and I am sorry for my disobedience. Please forgive me.”
Lent is like the periodic “deep house cleaning” my mother used to do in the spring. All year long the carpets were regularly vacuumed, the furniture was dusted, and so on. But, in the spring it was time to roll out the carpet scrubber, clean walls and install screens, etc. How about us? Are we up for a “deep house cleaning?” Lent is a special time of the year the Church has given us to fast, pray and give alms. It is also a time to open our hearts to God for deeper conversion. Whatever way God is speaking to us, let’s confidently go with ‘Jesus into the wilderness’ this Lent and go deeper than we have ever gone before.
God bless you!