From the Pastor – March 10, 2019

Very short prayersFilled with the Holy Spirit, Jesus returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the desert for forty days, to be tempted by the devil.  (Lk 4:1-2a)

That little verse above is the reason behind the holy Season of Lent.  And all I can say is thank God for Lent!

I always look forward to Lent.  And this year is no exception.  Christmas ran into New Year’ and Epiphany, then the longest king cake season ever, and then right on its heals Mardi Gras season started with eight days of parades in front of the church!

Now that Lent is here, I’m happy to create my own little desert of calm by the Lenten disciplines of prayer, fasting and almsgiving.  It’s the perfect remedy to the last two weeks of noise, feasting and excess.  Let’s all take a deep breath!

One of the good disciplines of Lent is “giving something up.”  When I was in seminary, I remember that my rector always gave up smoking cigars during Lent.  And then one Friday in Lent, I went by his room and smelled cigar smoke.  The next day I asked him about it, and he said that he decided to do something different because he felt like everyone knew he gave up cigars.  He felt like he was doing it for the “crowd” rather than God.  Well, I’m not sure that that was necessarily a “bad” thing that people knew about it.

Think about the Gospel today and the fast of Jesus.  The only way the Evangelist Luke would have known to write about the 40 day fast is if Jesus had told His disciples about it!  No one else was there when Christ fasted.  He must have opened up his heart to tell them a little about this important moment in His hidden life.  Sharing pain can help with healing, sharing joy can bring joy, and sharing penance can give strength.  Jesus shared this story to tell us that He was tempted and He overcame.  And filled with the same Holy Spirit as Jesus, we can overcome the temptations of the world so as to focus on the reward of heaven.  I ate my last bit of steak on Tuesday night and washed it down with a last sip of wine.  And now I’ve got those imposing 40 days ahead of me.  Maybe in a few years when I build up enough spiritual strength, I’ll have the courage to give up coffee! for Louisiana Mass Times
(Rev. Msgr.) Christopher H. Nalty