The Happy Priest: Ash Wednesday Homily - Taking a Good Look at Ourselves
Lent is a time of self-examination. We need to look at ourselves very carefully.Our goal is to reach heaven. Not everyone goes to heaven. Is there something or a number of things that may keep you from going to heaven? Is there a sin, an inordinate attachment or an addiction that could prevent you from gaining eternal salvation?
We have an annual physical, an annual eye exam and we should go to the dentist to have our teeth cleaned. Preventative health will keep us in great shape and could be the way that serious health issues are detected.
Lent is a time of self-examination. We need to look at ourselves very carefully.
Our goal is to reach heaven. Not everyone goes to heaven. Is there something or a number of things that may keep you from going to heaven? Is there a sin, an inordinate attachment or an addiction that could prevent you from gaining eternal salvation?
Many disasters could have been prevented if the warning signs were not ignored.
If a particular bridge was inspected the way it should have been, perhaps it would not have collapsed during rush hour traffic.
Maybe many marriages could have been saved if there was proper examination, detection and resolution.
Maybe many priestly vocations could have been saved with proper formation and support.
Perhaps many of the terrible scandals in the Catholic Church could have been avoided if the signs and the reports were not ignored.
There is a pervasive and characteristic weakness within our modern culture - we don't want to examine and resolve problems. Do you remember the television series Hogan's Heroes? We are faced with the Shultz Syndrome. - I see nothing.
Usually our sins, tendencies, attitudes and weaknesses will be easy to detect. We know who we are and we know what we need to do.
The ashes on our forehead remind us of the human condition: Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.
However, sometimes, you will have to go real deep and discover inner attitudes that may be the root of your sinful behavior. Sometimes you will need a spiritual colonoscopy.
Lent is a Catholic colonoscopy. We need to go deep into ourselves and look at ourselves very closely.
Here is a list of questions that will help you.
Do you have a serious spiritual life?
Do you attend Mass every Sunday unless you are very sick?
Do you do unnecessary work on Sunday?
Do you practice the virtue of charity? Are you patient and kind? Are you generous with your time? Do you serve others? Do you help the sick and the poor? Do you need to forgive someone?
Are you materialistic? Do you live beyond your means? Do you have a lot of unnecessary credit card debt? If so, are working on eliminating your debt? Do you support your parish financially the way that you should?
Are you lazy? Are you active in the apostolic life of the Catholic Church? Do you study the Catholic Faith? Are you content with mediocrity?
If you are married, are you open to life? Do you follow the Church's teaching regarding Natural Family Planning? If you do not, are you willing to study the Church's teaching by reading Church documents and books that explain the Church's teaching with clarity and easy to understand terms?
Do you go to Confession on a regular basis? Do you receive Communion with a good conscience?
On Ash Wednesday, the second reading from Saint Paul we here these challenging words: "Behold, now is a very acceptable time; behold, now is the time of salvation (2 Corinthians 6: 2).
Let this Lent be an outstanding time of conversion and spiritual growth.
Father James Farfaglia is a contributing writer for Catholic Online. You can visit him on the web at www.fatherjames.org. Apps for Father James' homily are now available for Android and iPhone.
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: Year of Faith, Father James Farfaglia, Lent, Ash Wednesday
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