On January 6th, the Feast of the Magi, The Epiphany, marked the beginning of the Mardi Gras Season. As a result, “King Cakes” were made available, Mardi Gras decorations surfaced, and some organizations started to host their Mardi Gras Ball’s. However, in just a few weeks the fullness of Mardi Gras Season will be evident with the various Mardi Gras Parades that will take place throughout the area. The climax of this season is “Fat Tuesday,” Mardi Gras Day, when everyone will be busy watching a host of parades, eating all their favorite foods, and just having a good time.
I can remember, when I first came to New Orleans, staying up until midnight and watching on the television the pageantry of King Comus and King Rex with the courts meeting at the Municipal Auditorium, marking the end of Mardi Gras, and the beginning of the Holy Season of Lent.
Lent is a particular time during the church liturgical year. It is a time for penance and sacrifice, as we attempt to grow and strengthen our relationship with God. It is a time for us to rend our hearts and not our garments as we work to return to the Lord our God. For in truth during the year because of our own choices in life, we have all distanced ourselves from God.
Perhaps that distance from God was the result of our failure to maintain a spiritual connection with God. This disconnect can be the result of our inability to spend time in prayer with God daily or our failure to "Honor the Lord's Day," by attending Mass on Sunday. This disconnect can also be the result of our inability to celebrate the Sacraments, especially the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Lent can be the opportunity for us to work on reconnecting ourselves with God spiritually, through more attention and devotion to prayer, even attending daily morning Mass. It is also an opportunity for us to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation and experience God's grace and love.
This distance from God can also be the result of a selfish attitude that has developed in our life. It is an attitude that everything in life needs to focus on our needs and wants while ignoring the needs of others. This selfish attitude is exhibited by our careless attitude with regards to clothing, food or even our environment. Once again, everything is centered on our needs and wants, while ignoring the needs of others. Lent is a time for us fast, to sacrifice our desires and give of ourselves in the aide of others. At times this might involve being involved in feeding the poor, or working to cloth the naked, or even offering financial support to United Churches of Algiers or the Saint Vincent De Paul Society.As we continue our journey through this Mardi Gras season, it is imperative that we take the time now to examine our life in relationship with God. This examination of our relationship with God is essential so that we can develop the Lenten program that will aid us to rend our hearts so that we can return to the Lord our God.
Fr. Peter Weiss, S.S.J.
PRAYER FOR FAMILIES
We bless your name, O Lord,
For sending your own incarnate Son,
To become part of a family,
So that, as he lived its life,
He would experience its worries and its joys.
We ask you Lord,
To protect and watch over this family,
So that in the strength of your grace
It members may enjoy prosperity,
Possess the priceless gift of your peace,
And, as the Church alive in the home,
Bear witness in this world to your glory.
We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.