My dear brothers and sisters, welcome to the season of Lent. It is a season of grace. Some people have a dark and gloomy image of Lent. It might interest you to know that etymologically speaking Lent means Spring. According to rcg.org, “Coming from the Anglo-Saxon Lenten, meaning spring.” It is time to spring from the darkness of winter to the bright light of Spring. It is time to walk away from the dark night of death and sin to the bright light of the Resurrection of Easter.
Liturgically speaking, we usually associate hope with Advent. The truth is that Lent is also a period of hope. Our hope is that if we die with Christ, we will rise with Him. Christians are people who live on hope. As Jesus replied to the Tempter in last Sunday’s Gospel, Christians don’t live on money alone, they live on hope.
Maybe the reason we think of Lent as dark and gloomy is because we are asked to give up things. As a child, it seems like the adults or the priests could not run out of things for us to give up. Here is a story to illustrate the irony of “giving up” things.
A bartender notices that every evening, without fail, one of his patron’s orders three beers. After several weeks of noticing this pattern, the bartender asks the man why he always orders three beers. The man says, “I have two brothers who have moved away to different countries. We promised each other that we would always order an extra two beers whenever we drank as a way of keeping up the family bond.” Several weeks later; noticing that the man only ordered two beers, the bartender said, “Please accept my condolences on the death of one of your brothers. You know, the two beers and …” The man replied, “You’ll be happy to hear that my two brothers are alive and well…It’s just that I, myself, have decided to give up drinking for Lent but my two brothers did not.” That is an interesting take on “giving up” or fasting. Fasting should not make us see Lent as gloomy. Here is a recommendation from an author.
Fast from fear; Feast on Faith
Fast from despair; Feed on hope
Fast from depressing news; Feed on prayer
Fast from discontent; Feast on gratitude.
Fast from anger and worry; Feed on patience
Fast from negative thinking; Feast on positive thinking.
Fast from bitterness; Feed on love and forgiveness.
Fast from words that wound; Feast on words that heal.
(adapted from A Lenten Prayer by Willian Arthur Ward)
To make our Lent and Easter more fruitful, we will celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession) every Saturday from 3:30 pm to 4:30 pm during Lenten and Easter Seasons.
God bless you,
Fr. Mike Ume
I also want to direct your attention to one of our own parishioners Zena Marie Brown who has said Yes to Our Lord. Her story is on our website Yes-to-Vocation page:
My Journey to Carmel by Sr. Faustina Mary of the Holy Eucharist
I grew up in Pasadena and I am the youngest of six children. At the age of ten, I was baptized into the Catholic Church at our home parish, Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary and received my first Holy Communion. At this time in my life, the Lord placed into my heart the call to become a nun. A few years after this, I was blessed to be able to attend Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary School for middle school. Those three years shaped my life, and were a good foundation for my high school years at Alverno Heights Academy. After graduating from the University of California, Davis, with a Bachelor of Science in Textiles and Clothing, I felt the call to religious life once again. But not yet ready to respond, I worked in the fashion industry for two years before I decided to discern.
One day in the Sunday bulletin there was an advertisement for a silent retreat; thinking it would be fun, I decided to go on it. I arrived late, and as soon as I sat down to dinner the woman next to me turned to me and asked me if I was thinking about becoming a nun. She later came became my friend and helped me find a spiritual director. As the retreat came to a close, I was one of the last ones to leave and one of the sisters in formation came up to me and started a conversation with me. She invited me to go on a Come and See retreat. Two months later, I found myself on another retreat surrounded by young women from around the country who had the same desires as me. It was an encouraging and educational experience. After the retreat, my discernment with the active sisters didn’t go much further because my heart was set on a contemplative cloistered community.
After I found a spiritual director, he encouraged me to spend more time with God through daily Mass, Liturgy of the Hours, OCDS, and Adoration. I had no idea what OCDS was, but after a few meetings, I was able to develop a better sense of what Carmelite Spiritually is and how it plays out in people’s lives. I loved attending the monthly meetings; it really did feel like a family, but I knew it wasn’t my call.
One day in Adoration, I felt like God was calling me to the Carmelite community down the road. Shortly after that day, I contacted the community and was able to meet with the novice mistress, and eventually the community. It felt like the perfect fit! After nine months of discernment with this community, I joyfully entered on the100th anniversary of the last apparition of Our Lady of Fatima. Since then, my days are filled with prayer, gardening, formation classes, cooking and baking. In October, I was clothed in the habit and received my religious name, Sister Faustina Mary of the Holy Eucharist. Life in Carmel is a joy, and I want to thank each and every one of you for your love and support, as we are praying for you.
~From News from the Cloister, Spring 2019, Cloistered Carmelite Nuns Auxiliary Carmel of St. Teresa, Alhambra