You are here
Join the Journey! “Bend your knees, mend your hearts, and lend your hands.”
The word "Lent" comes from the Anglo-Saxon word 'lencten' which is rooted in the Germanic word for lengthening. It was used to reference the season of Spring because it is the time when the days indeed become longer.
During Lent the days indeed become longer and more light is gained every day. By the time Easter comes around we will have 13 hours and 36 minutes of daylight. That is almost 5 hours more daylight than when we celebrated Christmas.
And as we gain more daylight it is our hope that we gain more spiritual light as well through the traditional Lenten disciplines of praying, fasting and almsgiving.
In a Lenten sermon preached a few years ago by Fr. Jerry Kurian, this Syriac Orthodox priest suggested a new approach to these traditional disciplines as he asks us to take the time during Lent to “bend our knees, mend our hearts, and lend our hands.” And he warns us that our Lenten practices are for naught if they do not change who we are and how we act.
Every week of Lent we will send out a simple communication with some suggestions for a fruitful observation of Lent looking at how we might bend our knees, mend our hearts, and lend our hands. But before we begin Lent we have some suggestions to ready ourselves.
Getting Ready for the Journey
In preparation of our Lenten Journey we suggest that you consider doing the following:
- Create Time for the Journey:
Sometimes we may wonder if we are still in charge of our own lives. Our calendars are filled with appointments and deadlines. In addition, there is the unrelenting barrage of e-mails and texts, while Facebook, Twitter, TikTok and other social media are vying for our time. The blessing of electronic communications has also become a challenge as the lines between worktime, time with family and friend, time to play and time to pray have been blurred.
Lent invites us to set boundaries and re-claim control over our own time and thus over our own life. So, before Lent begins, decide on how you might best create time for your Lenten Journey.
- Prepare a Space for the Journey:
We are keen to assign certain activities to certain rooms and we associate specific rooms with specific activities: we cook in the kitchen; we eat in the dining room; we relax in the living room; we sleep in the bedroom; etc. Each room connotes a specific activity.
When it comes to the primary space we use for prayer, The Basilica undoubtedly comes to mind. Yet, as we try to create more time for prayer and meditation during Lent it is good to set aside a space in our homes that is dedicated to prayer and that is accessible at any given time.
So, before Lent begins, dedicate a room or a corner in a room to be your prayer space. You might place your favorite cross there, or an image of a beloved saint, your bible and a candle as a focus for your prayer.
- Allow for Enough Spiritual Bandwidth for the Journey:
Silence is difficult to find these days. Even when we are by ourselves, our minds are filled to the brim with so many things, most of which are of little consequence. Some people call it mind-chatter, random thoughts that prevent us from having the bandwidth for profound thoughts.
So, before Lent begins let’s commit ourselves to the work of emptying our mind of the unnecessary chatter so we can create the necessary band-with for meditation and prayer. Turning off the mind-chatter is not an easy thing to do. It will take time and dedication as well as a good deal of intentionality.
During the Journey
- Be Patient with Yourself and Others during the Journey:
Lent is not an endurance test or a time to prove our Christian stamina. Rather, Lent is a time to slow down and ponder what is essential to our faith and thus to our life as Christians. Therefore, pace yourself. Give yourself and others some space. And above all be forgiving.
After the Journey
- Carry you Lenten Experience with you after the Journey:
Lent is not a time for spiritual gymnastics which are abandoned as soon as the Easter Bells toll. Lent is a time of heightened “rehearsal” in what it means to be a Christian in our world today. So, as we engage in our Lenten practices let us be sure that they “change who we are and how we act.”
May this Lenten season of 2022 be a blessing to all of us.
7:00am, Noon*, 5:30pm*
Eucharist with the Distribution of Ashes
After a COVID-19 hiatus, we are pleased to offer two opportunities for fellowship, community, and soup on Ash Wednesday (March 2, 2022).
- Please join us after Mass, either at 1:00pm or 6:30pm in the Teresa of Calcutta Hall (lower level of the church).
- Pre-registration is appreciated for planning, and capacity is about 100 people to allow for some distancing.
- Guests are encouraged to wear a face mask other than when actively eating/drinking at their table.
- The event is free, but offerings are accepted. To register for either soup event, please click here.
Please also bring canned soup with you on Ash Wednesday to support our neighbors who utilize St. Olaf Church's Food Pantry in downtown Minneapolis. They especially appreciate hearty soups, chili, or stew, or any other shelf-stable canned items. Look for receptacles in church for your canned food donations.
Greetings once again from The Basilica of Saint Mary. I hope this message finds you and your family continuing to stay well during these challenging times.
Today I have some important personal news to share with you. After 15 years, I will be retiring as pastor of The Basilica of Saint Mary at the end of June. On July 1st I will become pastor of Our Lady of Lourdes parish.
Following me as Pastor and Rector of The Basilica of Saint Mary will be Fr. Dan Griffith, the current pastor of Our Lady of Lourdes. Fr. Griffith is also on the faculty of the University of St. Thomas School of Law and serves as the Wenger Family Faculty Fellow of Law. Additionally, Fr. Griffith is the founding director of the Initiative on Restorative Justice and Healing (IRJH).
While I am extremely sad to be leaving The Basilica, I am incredibly excited that Fr. Griffith will be the next pastor of The Basilica. He has a pastor’s heart and has a vision for what a parish can and should be. He is a good man, a good priest, and a good pastor. The Basilica will be blessed to have him as Pastor and Rector.
This change in assignment was at my initiative. I will be 71 years old in June. This past year I came to the realization that I don’t have the energy that is necessary to continue to help move The Basilica forward, most specifically in implementing our Strategic Plan and the Master Plan for our parish.
I believe that Fr. Griffith has this energy and understands and shares the vision of our Basilica community. With the prayers and support of our staff, leadership, and The Basilica community, I believe Fr. Griffith will lead The Basilica into a future full of hope.
I will share more information about this change in the coming weeks. I wanted you to know about it now, though, and I ask your prayers as we move forward as a community of faith.
As always, I would like to close today with a prayer.
Loving God, we give all our cares and concerns to you this day.
I know you will provide us with everything we need and that you know all our needs, before a payer is ever on my lips.
Thank you for your abiding presence and your divine providence in this new beginning. Help us to trust that your grace will be with us as we step into this new beginning.
Help us always to rely on the riches of your love and your grace to provide for all that we need.
In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen