A Lenten Message from Harry Ohde, Volunteer President – SVdP Chicago/ADC
Someone outside of the Catholic faith, with limited knowledge, may have a pretty hard time understanding Lent.
We start with ashes on our forehead, we give up things for the duration of lent, things that we like to show a small sacrifice. We attend longer masses. From the outside world of being catholic, the run down may look like:
We have dirt on our head, we are not eating chocolate, and have chosen to increase the Catholic Calisthenics (stand, sit, kneel, sit, stand). Without knowledge, this may seem bizarre behavior in praise of God.
The truth of the matter, the ashes begin our Lenten journey to remind us from ashes we came and ashes we shall return. God in all his Glory and power created us from the earth, the earth he created. Symbolically He is letting us know that we will return to Him one day.
Giving Up – or is it gaining? Yes, many of us give up a favorite food, hobby, thing, to show a sacrifice to God, letting God know He is most important. What we gain from this “giving up” is far more fulfilling than any box of chocolates, or hobbies we love. I believe the giving up brings us closer to God as we peel away the layers of materialistic temptations and come face to face with the core of who we are and what we represent. We find a sacred place within our soul that allows us to listen better to God, listen better to ourselves, and helps us in becoming the best version of ourselves.
During Mass we pray. We pray together as a community of God. It is not just the words; it is the songs that are prayer. It is also our actions. We kneel to bow to God, we stand to unite with him, we sit to listen closely to the words he left us. Jesus endured a persecution that ended in a slow painfilled death. In return we are asked to perform a few simple positions to demonstrate our dedication to God, our appreciation for the ability to physically move about, and a strict discipline of knowledge that praying means we are completely committed: mind, body, and soul.
This year for Lent, let us reflect on the Good. The Good things in life that God has blessed upon us. Things may not be perfect, but there is a lot of good. Let us reflect on the good in others. Let us be kind. Let us offer a smile to strangers, take a minute to talk to someone who may be lonely. Offer a meal to a neighbor who you know may need a little brightening to their day. Let these acts reflect that we are first and foremost our brother’s keeper. We live by what we were taught by Jesus.
When our Lenten journey brings us to Good Friday, let us attend services and reflect that during lent we took the opportunity to live as Jesus taught us. Let us have a deeper connection to God. Let us come face to face with the realization that Jesus, knowing his fate, took up His cross, carried it, suffered, and died. All of this for ONE reason and ONE reason only – Because no matter what, HE LOVES US! HE BELIEVES in US!
Harry Ohde – Volunteer President SVdP Chicago/ADC