Fr. Peter Daly
February 28, 2006
It’s Lent again.
Every year we try to think of some new penance that will help us sing “Alleluia” at Easter and really mean it.
Why not let Jesus set the agenda for Lent. After all, He tells us straight out in Matthew’s gospel how He thinks we can be happy. Why not follow His instructions in the Beatitudes. So here is the plan for a “Blessed Lent.”
Happy are the poor in spirit, theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Go on a shopping fast.
Don’t spend any money except for absolute necessities. I’ve decided that the only things I will buy during Lent are the necessities I can get at my local supermarket and gas station. (My supermarket also has a pharmacy and dry cleaner).Beyond that, I will buy nothing. Most people spend too much money on stuff they don’t need anyway. This is a good way to become detached from things and truly “poor in spirit.”
Happy are they who mourn.
Go to the funerals at your parish church. Attend the wakes of people from your parish, even if you don’t know them. Pray for the dead. Better yet, volunteer to help out with the funerals.
It is a great sign of what we mean by the “communion of saints.” It is a great way to show sympathy and solidarity. Maybe someday when you are mourning, a stranger will come to support you. Just like the Lord says, “they shall be comforted.”
Happy are the meek.
Loose arguments on purpose this Lent. Don’t bother defending yourself to your family or friends when they disagree with you. Just say, “You may be right.”
That will stop ‘em cold. The odd thing is, they will start agreeing with you and concede, “You have a point too.” Then the Lord’s prediction will come true, you will inherit the earth. Loosing is how you really win.
Happy are those who hunger and thirst for justice.
Go to a demonstration for good cause. Support immigration rights or pro-life issues. Write a letter to your state assemblyman for an issue affecting the poor. Speak out at a community meeting for on a local issue like low cost housing or needs of the mentally ill. Jesus says it will be very satisfying.
Happy are the merciful.
Forgive a debt. The bigger, the better. This is especially true for debts from your own family members. Forgive them. If somebody owes you money and you can afford to live without it, forgive the loan. If somebody needs a car and you can afford to give them your old one, give it away.
They won’t forget your generosity. Someday, they may show you some mercy, just like Jesus says.
Happy are the clean of heart. Get rid of the things that pollute your life. If you have cable channels or magazines that bring temptations into your house, get rid of them. If you find your self tempted by the internet, get a filter.
There is only thing we really need to see in the end is what the clean of heart will see---God.
Happy are the peacemakers.
End an old argument. Settle a quarrel. If you can’t do it, what makes you think the Palestinians and Israelis should be able to do it. If there is a long standing feud in your family, call a truce. Break the ice by saying, “I’m sorry if I have ever caused you pain.” They you will be one of God’s own children.
Happy those who are persecuted and the insulted for because of Me.
When somebody criticizes your religious devotion or your faith, just let it go. Don’t fight, but don’t disappear either. Let your life be the witness. Your reward will be great in heaven.
That is a program for Lent. Thanks to the Lord for the suggestions.