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Lent - Francis McCrickard
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LENT

The days are LENGTHENING.  Geddit?  That’s where the word comes from, an old word that tells us that the seasons are shaping themselves into something different.  And we’re supposed to do the same.

My wife sent me on an archery course a few years ago. She wanted to put  some meat on the table which is odd because it was during Lent (abstinence, OK?). I enjoyed the course but one thing bothered me and that was that with the men, there was always a feeling of competition.  Even though we were all beginners, we were competitors. That didn’t help me to hit the target at all.  I was too self-conscious, too aware that the man before me had hit the red circle. To beat him I had to hit the gold centre. I never did hit the centre until I stopped thinking of his performance and focused on mine only.

Archery came up again recently when I discovered the Jewish Festival called Lag B’Omer.  It dates from an early rebellion against the Romans.  As part of the celebrations, the children are sent into the woods to make bows and arrows to recall the rebellion but also, more importantly to learn something very important about growing up.  When you pull back the drawstring on a bow, you pull it close to your heart, to your centre. The arrow will go further and with more force, the closer you draw the string to your heart.  What the children are told is that their parents, teachers, priests and the Torah (their holy book) give them guidance in life, teach them to do what is right, but that they have to go deep within themselves to find the strength to follow that guidance.  And it is there, deep inside themselves, that they will find God and Godliness.

Jesus went into the desert to prepare for the work he had to do, to pray, and find the inner resources with his Father’s help, to face what was ahead. The Church asks us to do the same during Lent.

Lent is about trying harder to hit the target, trying to be better people, trying to commit less

SIN! SIN! SIN! SIN! SIN! SIN! SIN! SIN! SIN!

 

There, I’m glad I got that out of my system, a bit like Fr. Jack.  One of the first words used in the Church to describe sin was a Greek word taken from archery and it meant to fall short of hitting the target. It’s a good word to use; it says it all. When we sin, we fall short of being the special people we are capable of being and we hurt: 1. others; 2. ourselves; 3. God.

So cut it out! Stop sinning! Be the special person you can be! Make the world a better place and have a good Lent!

Talking of

SIN! SIN! SIN! SIN! SIN! SIN! SIN! SIN! SIN! 
one very important thing we can all do for Lent is find out more about CAFOD’s campaign: LIVE SIMPLY (SO THAT OTHERS MAY SIMPLY LIVE). It’s a

SIN! SIN! SIN! SIN! SIN! SIN! SIN! SIN! SIN!

that people starve when we stuff ourselves with much, much more than we need. Don’t just sit there at your computer picking you nose and thinking,

“What am I supposed to do? I’ve got my own problems. My iPod’s not working.”

There’s all kinds you can do. Do something!

(32 exclamation marks went into the making of this article)

Francis McCrickard

Myddelton Grange Catholic Retreat Centre
Langbar Road, Ilkley, LS29 0EB