Some random thoughts.
Sartell Sally (rabbit), in the early morning hours of February 2nd, was eating from the tray set out for the squirrels. Unlike her fellow prognosticator Punxsutawney Phil, who saw his shadow, Sartell Sally did not see her shadow. Spring is just around the corner. Lent which is springtime begins on February 22nd . Lent gives us an opportunity to look beyond ourselves as we enter into the ancient practices of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving.
Through these ancient practices may we discover our giftedness, take time to listen to God speak in our hearts, to be more attentive to the wonders around us, and praise God with all our being. Pope Leo the Great (5th century) taught this truth: Lent is a wonderful opportunity to live more fully and joyfully the life we are supposed to be living all year long.
In these days leading up to Lent, give thought to how you will observe Lent this year. What actions/practices will bring you to new life? You will be receiving in the mail a One In Christ ACC letter laying out some possible directions for your Lenten journey and the times of our various Masses and services — Sacrament of Reconciliation, Way of Cross, Holy Week Schedule.
Tuesday is an important day for our Diocese as Fr. Patrick Neary will be ordained as the 10th Bishop of St. Cloud. Let us hold him in our prayers and may our minds and hearts be open to his guidance. Unfortunately seating is limited at St. Mary’s Cathedral, however you can participate in the ordination via livestream on the Diocese of Saint Cloud’s YouTube channel.
Through the gospel this week, Jesus offers a different kind of perfection, one marked by patience and humility and openness to others even when we are challenged or criticized. A true disciple is always a work in progress, a sinner in need of forgiveness, a seeker who does not have all the answers, only better questions. They live by mercy, moved to serve others in simple anonymous ways, not driven by the high-octane ego that constantly needs to be recognized and revered by others.
Valentine’s life was rooted in the gospel values of patience, humility, and tending to the needs of others. He is remembered for his love and outreach to the poor. It is unfortunate that St. Valentine’s Day is known for romantic cards and gifts and not his life. Perhaps this week’s Random Acts of Kindness week, which encourages everyone to reach out in unexpected ways to show kindness, can bring us closer to the faith Valentine lived out in his life. Let me suggest not only random acts but deliberately planned acts of kindness as an expression of God’s love.