Let my prayer rise like incense

We mark our days, not according to the numbers and squares on a calendar, but according to the observances of the liturgical seasons. Lent is the time for prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. These age-old disciplines reflect our basic concerns; our relationship with God (prayer), with our bodies (fasting), and with each other (almsgiving), which ultimately help us to reflect on our life with Christ and prepare to renew our baptismal vows. 

We keep our eyes focused on the Sanctuary, mindful that Lent is a time for visual fasting; it is a time to journey with our catechumens and candidates; it is a time to be personally confronted by the Gospel’s demand for our ongoing conversion.

The color for Lent is purple. Purple is a symbol of penance. Scripture tell us that a purple garment was placed on Jesus during his passion as a mockery. The color purple and the days of penance themselves will eventually give way to the color white and celebration of Christ’s victory over sin. At this time, less really is more.

Next to the change in color, you might notice that we do not sing the Alleluia. Alleluia is a term of great joy, and our use of the Alleluia during Mass is a way of participating in the angels’ worship. It is also a reminder that the Kingdom of Heaven is already established on earth, in the form of the Church, and that our participation in Mass is a participation in Heaven. The Alleluia will joyfully return at the Easter Vigil.

In these days and weeks of Lent, you are invited to offer your prayers by writing them down using the prayer cards inserted in the Bulletin and available in the Church. Please place them in the large basket in the Sanctuary before or after Mass. You are welcome to fill out as many as you would like for any personal petitions you may have.

May your prayers be like an offering, not focusing too much on what we give up but rather the message of what God wants to give us during this grace-filled time. May your hearts, minds, and lives be truly renewed as Lent takes on a far deeper and more meaningful purpose.

—Kathy Arciero