By parishioner Gail Hurt
“He fasted for forty days and forty nights…” (Matthew 4:2)
As Lent nears, I recall the family conversations at the dinner table while growing up in my parent’s home, questioning why am I to Fast while Protestant friends did not have to abide by that same rule? My parents encouraged my inquisitive nature but were quick to add that my penance served over the next forty days was in no comparison to God’s ultimate sacrifice on the cross for the forgiveness of our sins. This courageous and selfless act provided me a greater insight to God’s love for us all and I quickly carried out my fasting without complaint. The monies saved by not purchasing my favorite treat usually resulted in a larger sum given in the Sunday collection at Easter. In addition to fasting, my parents promoted doing kind deeds for others without their knowledge. The two idioms most often heard in my growing up years, was to lead by example; to do good acts for others and actions speak louder than words.
These idioms “stuck” with me over the years and well into my professional and personal life. I’m reminded of my many human faults in a world motivated by materialistic lifestyles (i.e. the best dressed in the office, having the coolest car, having the latest electronic device, being the most popular student) and the challenges we face in defending one’s beliefs. This led me to question, how can we as Catholics put our faith into action in our everyday lives? The answers were found in the Bible. In 2 Timothy 2:15 - Be eager to present yourself as acceptable to God, a workman who causes no disgrace, imparting the word of truth without deviation. In 1 Timothy 4:12 - Let no one have contempt for your youth, but set an example for those who believe, in speech, conduct, love, faith, and purity. As well as Titus 2:7 - Showing yourself as a model of good deeds in every respect, with integrity in your teaching, dignity. 1 Peter 5:3 - Do not lord it over those assigned to your, but be examples to the flock.
So, what might be some examples of putting our faith into action this Lenten season? Lead by example. Consider opening your work meeting with a prayer. Slow down your busy day to prioritize 1:1 time with God. Listen and let your heart guide you into action. Open the door for someone, visit the homebound, do an act of kindness, show love of thy neighbor, give up your worries to God, spread the Catholic faith around/evangelize, smile. Avoid gossiping/take the high road – lead by example as your actions will speak louder than words. People will notice your happiness and peace and will ask for your secret! Invite them to church for them to experience it for themselves! See you in church!