February 12-13: Preparing to “Live” Lent this Year

The Church’s calendar is filled with Saints who lived faithful lives of extraordinary grace. Obviously, they serve as models for us. And they are publicly recognized for their holiness precisely to show us that we, too, can give our lives over to Jesus and have our actions animated always by His Spirit.

In the season of Lent, we are called to examine our lives, turn away from sin, and renew our commitment to living as Christ taught us. Many of the Saints have done this in an exemplary way. Have you thought about a Saint you might invite to accompany you on the upcoming Lenten journey? Is there a Saint from whom you could draw special inspiration over the Forty Days?

Ponder the possibility of inviting someone like St. Katharine Drexel. She was a shining example of almsgiving, which is the practice of giving to those in need. Interestingly enough, the English word “alms” comes from the Greek word for “compassion,” the root of which is “mercy.” And given that our tradition tells us that we have a duty to provide for the poor, the widow, the orphan, and the alien (see Exodus 22-23, or James 1), St. Katharine’s example is one worth investigating. She was an American heiress born just before the Civil War. She gave up her wealth (equivalent to $200 million today!) and entered a convent. She had a heart for missions, and devoted her life to serving Native Americans and African Americans, opening schools for them across the country. We celebrate St. Katharine’s feastday on March 3rd. St. Katharine, pray for us (so that we might turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospel … and not just during Lent!)

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