Dear Companion of St. Anthony :
Peace and all good. As we enter this new month, I am reminded of March Madness. Of course that is the basketball tournament that will take place later this month, but also I refer to the madness the weather has been throughout this winter.
Here in Ellicott City this winter I have seen flurries on just two occasions and no noticeable snow has ever been on the ground. On Ash Wednesday some of our daffodils blossomed and a few days later we had a significant frost. Many areas of our country have experienced dramatic weather events and we, thankfully, have had a mild winter. March that came in like a lamb, may still have some surprises for us.
What has not been a surprise has been your thoughtfulness and generosity to the Companions of St. Anthony. The friars and I are very grateful for your financial and prayerful support of our spiritual mission which we offer at the Shrine. St. Anthony is known as the Doctor of the Gospels and in our own way every friar tries to be a living gospel by his way of life. Each friar, in his own unique way, brings the good news to life by their preaching and by their manner of life.
Regardless of the weather (lion or lamb), during this Lenten journey let us seek to follow the Lamb of God in our relationship with one another. We began the season of Lent marked with ashes that denotes our intentionality to be better focused on the things that are of God. We challenge one another as we live out this good intention.
Many thanks for your continued thoughtfulness and support of the Companions of St. Anthony (COSA).
In Christ and St. Anthony,
Fr. Richard-Jacob Forcier, OFM Conv.
Spiritual Guardian, Companions of St. Anthony
Director and Rector of the Shrine of St. Anthony
40 for 40: FORTY CREATIVE INSPIRATIONS FOR LENT
1. Fast from negative comments about others.
2. Give up the snooze button as a small sign of your willingness to do difficult things.
3. If it’s not a regular part of your week, go to Mass every Sunday.
4. Write a letter a week to someone who has gone underappreciated in your life.
5. Come to Sunday Mass ten minutes early.
6. Make a list of 40 people in your life, and pray for one each day.
7. Join the choir for Lent!
8. Give up Facebook. (Or all social media!)
9. Give up your pillow in solidarity with those who have none of the comfort we take for granted.
10. Think of a word you often overuse, and work to remove it from your vocabulary.
11. Make a budget, determine your tithe, and stick to it.
12. Write down something for which you’re grateful each day.
13. Remove all notifications from your phone.
14. Go to Holy Hour every week.
15. Read the daily Scripture readings.
16. Give up caffeine.
17. Learn about the Sacrament of Reconciliation and commit to going at least once during Lent.
18. Give up Netflix/watching TV on your computer.
19. Do an Examination of Conscience before you go to sleep every night.
20. Don’t let yourself go to sleep at night until your room is clean.
21. Read the Sunday readings before Mass.
22. Fast from comparing yourself to others, and pray for that other person when you catch yourself comparing.
23. Read one of the Gospels from start to finish.
24. Every time you find yourself complaining or using the word “stress”, pray for peace in the war-torn areas of the world.
25. Drive in silence, focusing on God’s work around you.
26. Read a spiritual book on forgiveness or love: The Return of the Prodigal Son (Henri Nouwen), The Screwtape Letters (C.S. Lewis)
27. Drink only water for all of Lent, in solidarity with those who hunger and thirst around the world.
28. Pray the Night Prayer from the Liturgy of the Hours each evening.
29. Select an article of clothing a day to give to the less fortunate.
30. Work to forgive a long-held grudge.
31. Commit to beginning each day with a prayer.
32. Give up texting and call whomever you need to talk to.
33. Go to daily Mass once a week.
34. Set aside one item of excess clothing every day, and donate them at the end of each week.
35. Hang a piece of religious artwork in your bedroom and say a prayer every time you see it.
36. When tempted to judgement of another, pray for them instead.
37. Try to fast every Friday during Lent.
38. Pray/play the Sorrowful Mysteries each night as you go to sleep.
39. Every time you wash your hands, remember your baptism and pray for your godparents.
40. Commit to calling a family member each week.