This year my Church has small note cards in the vestibule that say, “Don’t Give up Chocolate for Lent”. It’s part of a program being run to help Catholics make Lent more meaningful. I’m not involved in the program but it’s intent is obvious – try to make Lent about something more that giving up a small indulgence.
During the first week of Lent our priest echoed the sentiment. “We can do more than giving up chocolate”, he said. “Call that family member that you haven’t spoken to for years. Take the burden of doing the dishes or the laundry from your wife. Commit to giving a weekly donation to charity or the Church.” This has been a growing theme in the Church for the last few years – lent is about more than what you give up, it’s about deepening your relationship with the Lord - and it’s a good one.
The Church also calls us to add something positive that will deepen our relationship with God. You can become more like Christ by forgiving old slights. You can deepen your prayer life by adding a daily rosary or daily mass. You can honor the Lord by participating in charity and alms giving.
But what happens when Lent ends?
It's easy for us to slip back into our old habits. Saying the rosary in the car during our commute fades back into listening sports talk radio. Giving up alcohol easily becomes happy hour with the guys. What can we do to keep our Lenten progress going?
Allow me, if you will, to humbly make a suggestion ... Scripture.
The Bible is God's love letter to his family. In its pages, God softly communicates His love, His mercy and His teachings for a better life. Many people have long desired to know the Bible better but are intimidated by it. They don't know where to start and they don’t know if they will understand the meaning of what they are reading. Personally, I remember being completely confused why they couldn’t decide if this one apostle was name Simon or Peter.
That's why on Monday, April 17, 2017, I will begin a "Read the New Testament in One Year” project. You can follow along on my blog at: www.davidvermont.com . We will be posting a list that breaks the New Testament up into daily snippets. Each day I will post daily thoughts and reflections on the reading. Specifically, the posts will try to help the reader understand the basics of the Bible and understand Catholic faith better through the scripture. For me, reading the Bible has been a great blessing in my life. It's allowed me to understand that God has had a plan for us from the beginning. Faith is trusting that plan and working with it, not against it. So, if you have never read the Bible, if you’ve read bit and pieces or if you are an expert, I invite you to follow along.