Our Lenten season has arrived and the great feast of Easter is now less than 40 days away. The Easter Vigil is the greatest celebration of the year. Those adults preparing for Baptism, Confirmation and First Eucharist are welcomed into the Church at the Easter Vigil liturgy. I think that the vibrancy of any parish can be measured by the numbers of new members who come into the Church at the Easter Vigil.
For those of us who are already fully initiated into the Church by our Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist, the Lenten season is a grace-filled time of growing closer to the Lord. The traditional ways that we enter into the penitential season of Lent are through prayer, fasting and almsgiving. These are three ways that we open our hearts to what God is doing in our lives, experience God’s forgiveness and love, and then share that love with others. The word “penance” means “conversion.” So these three traditional ways of penance are three paths that lead us, or “turn us,” to a greater relationship with God.
When you think about it, prayer, fasting, and almsgiving are closely allied with our three ways of entering into stewardship as a way of life. Our everyday commitment to share our time, talent and treasure are directly related to prayer, fasting and almsgiving. So as we begin our Lenten journey, may we all keep that spirit of conversion alive by fulfilling our stewardship commitments throughout the year.