Ash Wednesday Homily: 40 days, 40 ways

Lent is a time for three things, the things Jesus talks about in our Gospel today: prayer, fasting, almsgiving. Pray. Fast. Give. Here are some ideas I handed out at Mass.  If everyone in our parish did all these things, holy smokes…what holiness we would have.

PRAY.
 Mass EVERY Sunday – no exceptions, no excuses
 Make a good confession before Easter.
 Pray nightly before bed, in your heart w/ your own words
 Read the Book of James in the bible.
 Pray the act of contrition every night – w/ family is best
 Read a Catholic book.
 Pray in the silence of the church…St. Joe side door is open 7am – 10pm every day
 Every day, pray for more holy priests.
 Attend a daily Mass each week (schedule in the bulletin)
 Pray the Stations of the Cross (every Fri at 5:30pm)
 Go to Mass on Holy Thursday
 Go to the Good Friday Service
 Watch Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ
 Develop your relationship with the Blessed Virgin Mary: the rosary, scapular, consecrations etc.
 Go to a conference or retreat (e.g., E6 men’s retreat, youth lock in, K of C men’s retreat, Catholic Women’s Conference)

FAST.
 Cut your daily television watching in half…NO MORE
 Limit your daily smartphone time to no more than 1hr
 Having observed #1 & 2 above, spend that extra time with friends of family
 Skip the salt on the potatoes
 Skip the sugar in your coffee
 Fast from the snooze button.
 Fast from a hot shower at least once this Lent
 Fast from your bed at least once…
 Instead of secular videos for entertainment, try some videos that will enrich your spiritual life. Use FORMED (info coming soon).
 Fast from your favorite beverage.
 Fast from excessive junk food.
 Fast from complaining. Make a decision to be positive and happy. Life is too short to be angry and mean.

GIVE.
 Invite someone out (coffee? movie?) who you have forgotten about
 Invite someone to Mass…especially Easter Mass.
 Write 3 thank you letters to those who have positively impacted your life
 Donate at least ten things in your house to the needy.
 If you are not currently giving 10% of your income, do so…at least during Lent.
 Sign up to receive Fr. Mike’s blog (unendingmercy.com) in your daily email, & give two min/day to read his post.
 Call someone who would love to hear your voice.
 Give someone a hug every day.
 Drop the attitude and be good to your family.
 Sign up for a shift at the festival: stjoeshelby.org.
 Look people in the eye and say, “God bless you.”
 Give mercy. Let a bygone be a bygone.
 Make a list of things you are grateful for. Review and add to it every day.