On The Journey, Judy Bowman A holy Lent

One of the many great things about being a Catholic is that we have a rhythm in our faith lives. Each season of the Church evokes a different spirit within us and our worship is enriched and deepened by the regular changes in focus and feel. In Advent, we prepare for the gift of Jesus at Christmas. During Christmas, we celebrate Christ’s coming as the great Light foretold for generations. Wednesday, Feb. 17, began another season, that of Lent. You probably saw various news reports about Mardi Gras celebrations around the country. Unfortunately, most people have lost the connection between “Fat Tuesday” and Ash Wednesday. The celebration of Carnival, literally “leaving meat”, originated as a kind of counterweight to the austerity of Lent. Carnival also points to the exuberance of Easter and the joy of the Resurrection, which is still yet to come. During Lent, we journey with Christ, walking to Jerusalem with Him, as He prepares for His Passion and Death on the Cross.

St. Augustine helps us to understand what Lent is all about when he writes: “The entire life of a good Christian is in fact an exercise of holy desire. You do not see what you long for, but the very act of desiring prepares you, so that when He comes, you may see and be utterly satisfied.” Lent is an exercise of this holy desire. Most of the time, our lives seem to be filled with the “distractions” of everyday living: work, problems, and anything that takes our minds off our work and our problems. None of these things are bad in themselves, but they can keep us from seeing what we really long for. Lent is a time to put aside some of these diversions and get in touch with the true Object of our longing that St. Augustine wrote about.

Jesus is our hearts’ desire and we can know His heart by spending prayerful time in the Gospels. He shows us there how can be like Him and how we can know and serve God. This is our Lenten journey. Christ is our example of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving — the three traditional pathways we walk during Lent. His withdrawal into prayer, His practice of fasting and His acts of charity, mercy, and healing should be our Lenten exercises as well. When we abstain from meat on Fridays, when we spend regular time in prayer, especially in the presence of the Most Blessed Sacrament, and when we reach out to help others, we are putting aside some of the selfish diversions of our lives. When we imitate Christ in these ways, we allow Him to change our hearts and we prepare to honor what He has done for us through His Passion, Death, and Resurrection.

We each choose what we will get out of every Lent. As we are marked with ashes on our foreheads, we hear the words of the priest urging us to turn from our sin and return to the Gospel of Christ. How we choose to do this, to turn our hearts to God, is up to us. This turning back to God, in Greek “metanoia,” is what we do every Lent and we do it again — in the midst of all the diversions in our lives, in the midst of our own sinfulness. God comes always to fetch us back to Himself, to our hearts’ desire, our holy longing for union with Him. “God means to fill each of you with what is good, so cast out what is bad! If He wishes to fill you with honey and you are full of sour wine, where is the honey to go? The vessel must be emptied of its’ contents and then cleansed.” St. Augustine (354-430 AD)

Lent is a season of cleansing and of preparation. It’s a time of putting things aside and clearing things out so that we can once again see what and Who is most important to us. Lent can be a “spring cleaning” of the heart and it can reveal to us the rooms inside that we’ve not yet invited Christ to come into. Renewing and refreshing, Lent is a joyful time if we only allow our Lord to take control and fill us with His holy love.

Glenda Smiley, Pleasant Valley Baptist Church

Pleasant Valley Baptist joined together Sunday to worship the Lord. PVBC continues to practice mask-wearing and social distancing for everyone’s protection. Visit or view our services for encouragement from God’s Word.

Pastor Flood’s message was from God’s Word, Daniel 9:1-19. Daniel realized they were living in the final days of captivity. We, today, are living in the final days of captivity under the curse of sin placed upon all mankind by the sin of Adam and Eve. We find Daniel taking very seriously his prayer to God which was not made based on any righteousness of his own, but on the mercy of God. Daniel confessed his personal sin as well as the national sin of Israel. Sin had brought them into captivity, which is what sin does.

Today, we need to get in a secret place with God, confess personal sin and plead with God for our nation. We have all sinned disobeying God. America has sinned and continues to rebel against God. A holy God will not ignore sin forever. Because He is holy, sin must be judged. God sent an angel, Gabriel, to give Daniel hope for the future. God gave his prophetic plan for mankind’s eternal future. Be sure to listen to this message from God on FB or YouTube.

Remember to pray about the Covid virus and practice caution to protect yourself and others.

We praise the Lord for all the prayers He has answered. Continue to pray for members Mike Cross, Denise Pitts, Betty Pitts, Brian O’Neill, Larry Armstrong, Wendy Miller, Pastor and his wife, Jill, and all who need our prayers. Pray for our shut-ins, Carolyn Denton and Lula Petty as well as others with high risk situations. Pray for our churches, missionaries, and evangelist. Remember those in prayer who need to be saved.

Join us Sundays at 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. for in-person services, Facebook or YouTube. Wednesday night Bible Study, 7 p.m. Facebook or YouTube, Brother Cody Cranmore.

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