Renunciation for the Bridegroom

(from the 2010 Magnificat Lenten Companion)

"The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast." Has that day come for us? Not that our Lord has vanished from our lives; certainly not, and yet perhaps we pray less now than in the past, or are more indulgent in worldliness, less concerned with pleasing God. The beginning of Lent is a time to recover an essential focus on Jesus Christ. Practices of self-denial can be helpful in this effort, but if we ask why, it is not primarily as penitential acts in reparation for past sins. Rather, mortification should be viewed as a means of self-emptying, turning attention away from ourselves so that our soul may open to God. A sacrifice of any kind loses its greater purpose without a motive to draw closer to Christ. We should discover that in fasting and renunciations we want more prayer in our lives. The pattern in a sign of grace. Our Lord finds greater desire for himself when a soul is less preoccupied with its own needs, and so he invites that soul to deeper intimacy. Let us remember also that in offering up sacrifices we help filter graces of conversion through the Church to soulds in spritual danger. This in itself is a profound reason to keep firm our resolve to make this year a fervent Lent.

Reflection based on Matthew 9:14-15
Father Donald Haggerty

Loving Father, help me to be generous in renouncing myself
during these holy days of Lent, and let my sacrifieces be for the
good of souls in need of grace.

Today's suggested penance: Skip a meal or part of one.