He later learned that this young couple was there to recharge their cell phone. They had noticed a stray electric cable sticking out of the wall behind the statue of the Virgin Mary. Whenever their phone's power supply dwindled, the young couple came to the church to recharged it from the cable behind the Virgin Mary. The priest stated that the young couple was welcome to use his church for this purpose. We often talk about coming to church to "recharge our batteries," but this is ridiculous!
As silly as this story seems it does serve as a timely reminder for us as we embark upon the 40-day season of Lent. We are called to spiritually recharge and refocus during this season. Since it seems that we scarcely have time to catch our breath from October through January, Lent appropriately calls us back to what is most important.
We begin by examining and taking inventory of our lives. As Evelyn Underhill, a renowned Christian writer, explains, “Lent is a good moment for such a spiritual stocktaking; a pause, a retreat from life’s busy surface to its solemn deeps. There we can consider our possessions; and discriminate between the necessary stores which have been issued to us, and must be treasured and kept in good order, and the odds and ends which we have accumulated for ourselves.”
Thus, it is fitting to first spend time looking into the depths of our own souls to see where we fall short. And as you reflect, I am available to hear confessions, or provide spiritual direction as needed.
Lent is also a time when we make changes that afford us more time with God in our daily lives. After all, the practice of giving up meat on Wednesdays and Fridays arose out of this aim. Meat was often the main course in a multipart meal. Those of means were encouraged to eat only the first course at dinner. This allowed them to give what they would have eaten to those of lesser means, and it provided them more time with the Lord in prayer and study.
Lastly, we are called to develop new patterns during this season. Perhaps this could entail picking up a book on a spiritual discipline, or beginning a Bible study. These practices are things we undertake during this season, which we will carry on beyond Lent.
This season is intended for our own growth. We have many opportunities in the coming month at St. Barnabas to assist you. Check the church calendar for various upcoming opportunities, and prayerfully consider attending a few. Each of you remains in my prayers during this season. I pray that we will all keep a holy Lent, so that we may be renewed and recharged to persevere in the Gospel daily.