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Father Muench Says...

Spending time in silence, prayer

March 3, 2021

By Father William Muench
NCC columnist

I want to tell you today how grateful I am to God for Lent. I admit making a good Lent is not easy. Every year, Lent is a new challenge. However, I know I become a better person when I accept the challenge. Yet, I am so grateful. The whole spirit of the season of Lent is certainly one of my favorite times of the Church year. I am so grateful that the Church insists that I do Lent. I know that this time of Lent leads to the joy of Holy Week and Easter.

The goal of each Lent is to make me a better, a more grateful person, a person who is truly worthy to walk with Jesus to Calvary. You see, often when I think of being on Calvary with Jesus on the day of Jesus’ crucifixion, I feel very unworthy. I need Lent – many Lents – to make myself worthy. I must immerse myself into Lent.

Lent gives me the opportunity to form my relationship with the Lord Jesus more and make it more intimate. Lent reminds me that I have gotten away from the good practices that keep me close to God each day – prayer, Scripture, Mass, meditation. Lent focuses my attention on each of these that I may remember better who God is and who I am.

To answer these questions, I need one of the gifts of Lent: silence. Taking a time of silence allows me to pray, even contemplate, on the great love that God has for me. That love is full of forgiveness. So, I am a loved person, a person God loves so much that God’s forgiveness is always offered to me each day.

Mass is important. Praying before the Blessed Sacrament is important. The words of prayer are important. But I know I must add times of silence. You see, I have discovered in silence that my God finds me. When I allow my mind and heart to be open in silence, God comes with his love. This is one of the gifts of Lent that I am truly thankful for.

We all know so well that God’s forgiveness means that I must be a forgiving person. Recently, the Gospel at a Lenten Daily Mass was the story of Jesus’ teaching the apostles the Lord’s Prayer. I remember that day well because the third graders attended that Mass with the ordinary community. So, I was pleased that we could talk about this special prayer with them.

Jesus tells is that when we pray to God, we remember that God wants to be our Father. Each time we approach God – in Mass, in prayer – it is a time of approaching a loving Father. This changes our recognition of what our relationship should be. This is how we should lovingly and boldly approach this God who wishes to be Father.

In the second part of the Lord’s Prayer, we make a covenant with God: “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” God, treat me as I treat others. Each time we say this Lord’s Prayer, we are telling our God that we are willing to be treated just as we treat others.

This Lord’s Prayer is such a wonderful gift from our God. I know that whenever I wish to pray with a sick person in the hospital in the hospital, or with a family around a loved one who is close to death, or with a community as some sort of public gathering, I can call upon them to join me in the Lord’s Prayer.

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