What’s in Your Heart?
A TV commercial has for some time been asking viewers, “What’s in Your Wallet?” For hundreds of years, the Season of Lent poses a question that goes deeper than our pockets. Lent asks, “What’s in Your Heart?” Lent invites us to take time looking at what directs our thoughts, speech and actions each day; to take time to examine what motivates us to get up in the morning, keeps us going throughout the day, and brings us to our knees before going to sleep.
In the first reading from the Book of Joel, the prophet pleads with the people of his time and ours, “return to me with your whole heart…rend your hearts, not your garments and return to the Lord, your God. For gracious and merciful is he, slow to anger, rich in kindness, and relenting in punishment.” (Joel 2: 12-13) In the second reading, St. Paul urges the people of Corinth and us, “not to receive the grace of God in vain.” (2 Cor 6:1) The Gospel reading records Jesus teaching his followers and us to give alms, to pray and to fast so that only our heavenly Father knows we are.
Throughout Lent brief reflections on the Sunday readings and a variety of resources will be offered on the diocesan website. You are invited to enter into prayer, do acts of mercy and fast in union with other disciples of Jesus Christ – as a family, a household, a parish, a community, a diocese and a universal Church. Together let us recommit ourselves from our very core, our hearts, to deepen our relationship with God and with others, especially those most in need.
Catholic Relief Services offers a variety of Lenten resources. You can:
Listen to Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archdiocese of New York, explain, “What is Lent?”
Sign up for weekly Lenten Reflections
Request or set up a Rice Bowl in your home
Download a Lenten Calendar
Make a plan to participate in Mass on Ash Wednesday and as often as possible during Lent. Ask for the grace to open your heart to receive God’s love and mercy and to share this with others throughout Lent.
Make time to incorporate some time of prayer, fasting and alms giving into your daily life.
Choose a favorite prayer and pray it daily this week.
Consider a particular behavior that could help you grow more like Christ. Practice this behavior during Lent. Renew your commitment daily to practice this behavior.
Decide how you will share with those in need; e.g., volunteer, food/materials donations to Catholic Relief Services, Catholic Charities of New Hampshire, Families in Transition – New Horizons, Saint Vincent de Paul Society, or your favorite charity.