This weekend marks 18 days since the start of Lent, almost halfway to Easter, and a good time to consider how well the disciplines we’ve chosen for ourselves are helping us prepare. Recently, I read an article by J.D. Flynn, a Catholic journalist and one of the founders of The Pillar, who wrote about how his wife teaches their children how to live their faith. Flynn and his wife have three children, two of whom have special needs. His wife reminds them that Jesus said that “the first shall be last and the last shall be first” (Mt 20:16) and then she asks them: “When were you last today?” And they are expected to answer. Flynn writes: “It’s a simple question, but it’s not an easy one. In fact, I’ve taken to hoping that when it’s asked in our house, she won’t call on me, inquiring: ‘What were the concrete instances today in which you put the needs, or good, or even preferences of someone else ahead of your own?’” He and his wife have seen the fruits of this catechesis, noticing moments where their children are actively putting the interests of their siblings before their own. It has inspired Flynn not only to affirm it when he sees his children do it, but to look for opportunities to do the same himself, remembering that in the lowest place we find Christ, who made Himself least among us. “It’s a gift that we can find the Lord in the lowest place, because each of us can reach it. Each of us can get there. Each of us, no matter what else we can do, can deny ourselves in favor of another. We don’t need to be the best, because Christ waits for us in the lowest place.” Something to think about over these next few weeks, and beyond.
St. Patrick’s Dispensation
St. Patrick’s Day falls on a Friday this year. This normally would be unwelcome news for corned beef-loving Hibernians and wannabes, as Catholics do not partake of meat on Lenten Fridays. Happily for them, on March 1 Bishop Caggiano issued a decree dispensing Catholics from the canonical prescription that normally would require us to abstain from meat that day. According to the decree, Catholics who choose to eat meat on Friday, 3/17 are asked to choose another (non-Friday) day to abstain from meat or perform another equally penitential practice on March 17. Éirinn go Brách.
One thought on “Being Last for Lent ”
Thank you for your good and helpful column this week, Fr John. (And not only the section on St Pat’s Day! ) 😉 🍀