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Lenten Living by Joe Lehman

Devotion, faithfulness, duty,  and love.  These virtues bring people do the strangest things.  Because of them, firefighters go into burning buildings and forests, soldiers march into battle and submariners live in cramped quarters underwater for 6 months at a time. They move family members to give their loved one’s their bone marrow or kidney and grieving families to donate the organs and tissues of a daughter who has just passed away.  These virtues inspire missionaries to leave their home and friends to go into cultures different and dangerous; they  stir college students to “alternatively” spend their spring break not on the beach but in the inner city or in the third world.

Devotion, faithfulness, duty and love moved Abraham to take his son Isaac to the mountain to do something strange and disturbing.  On that mountain, Abraham was ready and willing to sacrifice the son of his old age – his only son and his hope that he would have descendents too many to count as God promised him.  Abraham believed and trusted that God, without Issac, would fulfill the covenant made to him and to Sarah. Abraham believed that God would provide even though he probably didn’t understand how God would do that.

Yes, devotion, faithfulness, duty, and loyalty “make us do” the strangest things.

Friends, these same virtues are the reason for our taking on Lenten penances and practices. In these penances we’re not trying to win God’s notice or favor.  No.  Our penitential practices help us to see more clearly the face of Christ and the faces of our neighbors particularly those in need.  They show our gratitude and love for everything our devoted and faithful God has done for us and promised to us. Specifically, they help us develop a listening ear, a humble heart and the willing spirit – all which are needed for our journey of faith to the heart of God.

This special season of Lent helps us to develop ears like Abraham’s which are open to listen for God and to God commands. And for us who are Christian, to listen to Jesus who tells us that the way to glory is the way of the cross…the way of faithfulness, self-giving and sacrifice.

Living Lent well softens our hearts to be more open and humble

and strengthen our spirits so that we are as willing as Jesus was to do what God asks of us.

A listening ear

 A humble heart

 A willing spirit

For these, along with new fervor and the joy of salvation again, the psalmist continually prayed (see Psalm 51.)  As we prepare for Easter and for the life which lies beyond Easter,  may we join our prayer this Lent to his.

Joe Lehman is the Pastor at Our Lady of Nazareth Catholic Church locatedat 2505 Electric Rd (Rte 419. Visit them on the web at:

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