Home | About Us | Subscriptions | Advertising | El Centinela
Catholic Sentinel | Portland, OR Saturday, April 30, 2016
CYO Football 2015 2015 Priest Reassignments, Archdiocese of Portland Cardinal Francis George dies Mothering with faith Sisters of the Holy Names, 2015 Live Nativity at St. John the Baptist 2014 Fall CYO results Catholic Charities Donor Lunch 2014 Year of Consecrated Life opening Mass Holy Spirit Sisters Jubilee 2014 Seaside youth conference Mount Angel 125th Northwest Hub Furlow at papal Mass 2014 Rosary Bowl NW Brother André 2014 Fall 40 Days for Life 2014 Inauguration of Fr. Mark Poorman Coffee shop at abbey First day of school, 2014 Regis High School 50th anniversary 2014 Crooked Finger Pilgrimage Mass with migrant farm workers Maronite Ordination Consecration to "Immaculate Heart of Our Lady of Fatima" CYO track Southern Oregon Evangelization 2014 Priest Ordination Christ the King youth 2014 priest reassignments Our Lady of Lavang Confirmation, 2014 Memorial Day 2014 2014 Transitional deacon ordination Padre Foster Granados visits Albany Bishop Smith ordination Canonization of Pope John Paul II, Pope John XXIII Bishop Peter Smith 2014 Easter Vigil 2014 Walk of Cross 2014 Chrism Mass CYO basketball 2014 St. Patrick of the Forest 150th Catholic Charities Celebration of Hope, 2014 Boys2Men Archbishop visits Oregon State Penitentiary 40 Day Vigil for Life, 2014 Pope Francis creates new cardinals St. Henry shelter 2014 CYO swimming Funeral of Fr. George Wolf Travel on a budget Lunar New Year, 2014 Tech in Catholic schools 2014 Right to Life Rally Archbishop visits Santiam Prison First Mass in Oregon Milwaukie Posada St. Francis, Sherwood, Toy Drive Central Catholic football Typhoon Haiyan Deacon Ordination/ Kresbach, Schmitt A Catholic fisherman St. Cecilia Centennial Southern Oregon Welcome Mass Shepherd of the Valley, Central Point, dedication Grotto Anniversary 2013 Champions of Faith Dinner Gardenripe farms Coleman hop farm Corvallis Year of Faith Archbishop Howard at St. Rose Hitchhiking priests Franciscan Spiritual Center Sacred Heart, Medford Migrant Mass Tanzanians' jubilee World Youth Day 2013 2013 Blessing of the Animals 2013 Freedom Mass Albany school closure Fabric art Megan graduates from Catholic school St. Vincent de Paul Hillsboro 2013 Deacon ordination Sister Theresa Lamkin St. Helen Mission, Brownsville Marist Brainiacs St. Mary, Eugene St. Francis eighth graders Ascension confirmation 2013 Pastoral Ministry Conference St. Joseph Salem — Year of Faith Archbishop Sample's Installation Mass 2013 Archbishop Sample Chrism Mass 2013 2013 Young Catholics Pope Francis inauguration Celebration of Hope Vlazny Farewell Mass Archbishop Vlazny Farewell St. Paul Church in St. Paul Valley Catholic Green Building Rite of Election 2013 Water summit 2013 Lunar New Year Alveda King in Eugene New Monsignors, 2013 2013 Right to Life Rally MLK Mass, 2013 St. Henry, Gresham, Centennial Jesuit High drama School uniforms Friar in the mall Holy Trinity food ministry January Book Covers St. Andre Bessette food Year of Faith Mass Nestucca Sanctuary Hillsboro Choirs Father Betschart installation Salem Religious Freedom Rally Year of Faith Vespers, Awards Roy's Catholic School Adelante Mujeres 10th anniversary New Blanchet House Missionaries of Holy Spirit Priest, religious photos Providence Nursing Schools Pioneros Fortnight for Freedom Mark Bentz Deacon Ordination OLL School Walk Through Gaga over science St. Philip Neri Centennial Ordination of Bishop Cary SVDP, Grants Pass Holy Cross School centennial Confirmation - Mount Angel Holy Land Pilgrimage Blanchet Watershed Chrism Mass, 2012 Bishop-designate Cary Pope in Cuba, 2012 SSMO 125th Jubilee Mass Pope Benedict in Mexico 2012 Catholic Charities Celebration 2012 Madeleine Mardi Gras Centennial Rally for Life, 2012 Martin Luther King Jr. Mass 2012 Day Laborers-Guadalupe Guadalupe 2011 Christ the King, Milwaukie, 50th Sesame Doughnuts Central Catholic Volleyball St. Peter Centennial Deacon Ordination, October 2011 St. Agatha Centennial Rosary Bowl 2011 St. Wenceslaus, Scappoose, Centennial Filipino celebration Polish Festival 2011 Holy War Football 2011 World Youth Day 2011 Sun Gold Farm Our Lady of Victory's New Church Freedom Mass 2011 St. Mary Church Steeple Removal Priest reassignments, 2011 Old Catholic Buildings Paige Rice, St. Mary's runner Graduation 2011 Easter vigils 2011 Pastoral Ministry Conference Basketball Holy War 2011 Search for Peace 2011

Mt Angel Towers 8.13

Home : Faith/Spirituality : Archbishop Sample's Column
Lenten practices: It's not an 'either/or' but a 'both/and'
All Catholics 14 years and older must abstain from meat on the Fridays of Lent, Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.
All Catholics between ages 18 and 59, are to fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.
To fast means to eat one full meal; the other two meals that day should be less than the normal amount unless they are already at a minimum for good health.  Eating between meals is not permitted; however, liquids including coffee, milk and fruit juices are allowed.

Archbishop Alexander Sample has announced  that  Wednesday, March 26 is an Archdiocesan Ember Day.  Traditionally, Ember Days are days of prayer and fasting. They are days on which the practice of the Church is to offer prayers for its needs and to give public thanks. The intention of this Ember Day is for the strengthening of marriage and family life.  
Observance of the Ember Day is encouraged but not obligatory.
— Mary Jo Tully

Most Rev. Alexander Sample
Archbishop of Portland

I remember as a young person growing up in Catholic school a trend which tended to de-emphasize traditional Lenten practices of penance in favor of works of charity.  It went something like this:  It is more important to do something positive for someone else than to deny yourself something. Even at the time it struck me that there was something not quite right about that.

It seems that our faith practices tend to swing to extremes. If there was an overemphasis perhaps in times past on penance and mortification during Lent, there developed such an emphasis on works of mercy that penance became “a thing of the past.” I would like to propose that this is not an “either/or” situation, but a “both/and.”

There are three traditional pillars of our Lenten observance. They are really three pillars of the spiritual life itself which only get a greater emphasis during the more intensive period of Lent. They are prayer, fasting and almsgiving. These three are deeply rooted in the scriptural tradition, and they constitute sort of three legs of a stool. Without all three, spiritual life is unbalanced.

Through prayer we develop, foster and nourish a personal relationship with God. Through fasting and other works of self-denial we learn to conquer our selfishness and gain mastery over our will. Through almsgiving and other works of mercy we learn to get beyond our obsession with our own needs and wants and extend ourselves to the other.  All three are essential to a healthy spiritual life.

During Lent we should intensify our life of prayer.  To put it simply and bluntly, if we want a personal relationship with God we must spend time with him in prayer.  There is no other way.  Our relationship with God is meant to be just that — “personal.”  How does any relationship we have with another person grow?  By spending time together, getting to know one another, sharing our hopes, dreams, fears and doubts.  This is also true of our relationship with the persons of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

It never ceases to amaze me when people claim to experience no closeness with God, and then reveal that they seldom or never pray.  It’s like saying I want to be close to my best friend, but I don’t intend to spend any time with him or her.  It just doesn’t make any sense. Jesus gives us the perfect example of prayer. Even he who is the eternal Son of the Father and God in the flesh needed to go off by himself regularly to pray and be with the Father.  If this was necessary for the Son of God, what makes any of us think we can get by without it?

Fasting, self-denial, mortification and sacrifices are all part of the spiritual life and are necessary for authentic spiritual growth and renewal.  During Lent we only intensify these practices beyond what should be a part of our life throughout the rest of the year.  Again, Jesus gives us the example.  Before he began his public ministry he went off to fast and pray in the desert for 40 days.  He also encouraged us to fast and pray.  

When we deny ourselves even the good and licit pleasures that this world can offer, it helps us to focus on what is really important. It breaks down our selfishness and desire to simply gratify our own desires. It strengthens our will and helps us in the end deny ourselves the passing pleasure of sin. It also gives power or a “punch” to our prayer life. When we fast, our prayer is more fruitful.  The wisdom of the saints throughout the ages testifies to this fundamental spiritual principle. So let’s not relegate this essential spiritual practice to the past. We do so at our own spiritual peril.

And then there is almsgiving and other works of mercy.  We cannot forget this or leave it out.  Otherwise our spiritual practices of prayer and fasting become very self-centered and focused only on ourselves.  Being closed in on ourselves in this way is not what the full living of the Gospel is all about.  We have to “get out of ourselves” and extend love, mercy and kindness to others, especially those in great need.

I do not need to repeat for you here the many scriptural references to a call for charity and generosity to the modern day “widows and orphans” so often spoken of in the Bible.  The poor, the homeless, the hungry, the lonely, the abandoned, the sick, the imprisoned, the mentally ill and those who suffer in any way are at our doorstep asking for our love.  Jesus warns us not to turn a blind eye to them. We do so at our own peril. Whatever we do for the least of these, we do to him.  Whatever we deny to these least ones, we deny to Jesus.  He identifies himself with the poor and suffering.

Certainly our monetary gifts to assist the poor are very important.  But it is even more powerful for us and for those in need when we somehow get personally involved.  When we meet the poor and see them as real people.  In our communities there are so many opportunities to reach out personally to those in need.  We can intensify these efforts during Lent, hoping that they will endure well beyond into our daily lives.

All of this — prayer, fasting and almsgiving during Lent — is to prepare us to celebrate the Paschal Mystery of God’s love for us in the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus.  My hope for myself and for each of you is that we can celebrate Easter with our hearts and minds renewed by all three pillars.

Reader Comments

Posted: Monday, March 10, 2014
Article comment by: Dan Hoffman

Deo Gratias!

Article Comment Submissions
Submit your comments, please. 
Comments are reviewed before being posted to the site. Comments must use respectful language and address the story. Comments are not posted immediately to the site. The site editor may edit content for appropriateness. There may be a delay of 24-48 hours. Comments may also be considered to appear as letters in our print edition, unless the writer specifices no.
Note: All information on this form is required. Your telephone number is for our use only, and will not be attached to your comment.
Submit an Article Comment
First Name:
Last Name:
Anti-SPAM Passcode Click here to see a new mix of characters.
This is an anti-SPAM device. It is not case sensitive.

Advanced Search

News | Viewpoints | Faith & Spirituality | Parish and School Life | Entertainment | Obituaries | Find Churches and Schools | About Us | Subscriptions | Advertising
E-Newsletter | RSS Feeds

© 2016 Catholic Sentinel, a service of Oregon Catholic Press

Software © 1998-2016 1up! Software, All Rights Reserved