Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Lenten Movement

My parents mentioned the other day that their pastor informed them that I was moving this year. About a year ago I had heard I was going to a parish in my hometown, after that pastor had retired. And I understand through the gossip mill that I am one of four possibilities for a very large parish in the 'burbs. All of these rumors and whisperings makes my staff nervous. I find it sort of amusing. The Vicar for clergy likes to give the presbyters the impression that he enters some sort of spiritual trance and receives messages from the Holy Spirit as to where to assign priests. I just like celebrating mass, anointing the sick, and celebrating the sacrament of Reconciliation. I would really like to live in western Wisconsin. I wish I spoke Polish better, and I wish I could still run. In a very real way our Lent is a transition. It would seem that our spiritual journey calls us to be somewhat uncomfortable throughout our lives. If we take our journey seriously it is a time of already here, but not yet. So we struggle for perfection and understanding. When I speak about vocations I am apt to tell peoples that the reason I became a priest is not the reason I am a priest today. And I know my vision of Church is very different than my parent's (and parishioners for that matter) and the generation before me. We are continually challenged to move and transition throughout our days. Part of that though is the insight we receive in our celebration of the liturgy, reconciliation and prayer. I am always reminded of how comical the storeroom at St Margaret Mary's was. One whole wall, devoted to liturgy, was divided into the liturgical seasons. We cannot limit our faith to a series of boxes or a pamphlet. Lent asks us to follow Jesus very closely, always ready for change and conversion in our lives. Hopefully the experience of prayer, fasting, and works of charity makes us at least somewhat different by Holy Week. We come out of the Lent experience in different places. And really, that is okay. If we want to be in control and determine the outcome, then we miss the fullness of this spiritual journey. In the end, it's not just about giving up cookies.

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