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Progressing Through Lent

The story is told about the mugger who held up a Priest. Once he realized he was a Priest he relented and told the Priest to go on his way, "I can't rob a Priest" he said. Relieved (and hoping to convert him), the Priest offered to buy him a meal. The man responded politely, "no thank you, Father; today is Wednesday and I decided to fast on Wednesdays through Lent."


What is the purpose of our fasting and abstinences that we take part in during Lent? They are supposed to be changing us. That is the best gauge you can use. Is your Lenten fasting having an impact on you? If today you are no different spiritually than you were two weeks ago, then you have to ask whether you are gaining anything from your lenten observance.


It is not as though any lenten fast will automatically change you; you have to cooperate with it. You cannot "give something up" just because you are supposed to and expect that your whole life will be turned around as a result. Now is a good time to do another spiritual self-check. How are you progressing through Lent? Have you given yourself fully to your devotions?


This Sunday is Laetare Sunday -- the half way point through Lent. If this Lent is not impacting your life it is not because Lent does not work; it is not because God failed you; it is because you have not guarded your heart and given it completely to Christ. We say in each Mass that we "lift up our hearts" to the Lord. Do so again today and stay on track with Lent. Make certain that going through Lent makes you a better Catholic as a result.

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