Lenten Antidote

I have good news and some not so good news.

On the good news front, the season of Lent is fast approaching. Lent is my favorite season of the entire liturgical calendar and it’s just around the corner. Advent is a wonderful time of preparation and Christmas is exciting with the arrival of our Incarnate Lord, but I have to admit to having some difficulties each year getting past the ultra-commercialization and into the spirit of Christmas. Lent on the other hand is that time of preparation that just seems easier for me in moving closer to our Lord. The bad news is that time races on and Lent is literally just around the corner. This year in particular, Lent begins very early with Ash Wednesday observed on February 10th. It’s also hard to believe that Easter will be celebrated in March!!!

Anyway, with Lent approaching I’ve been spending more and more time reflecting on how to make this Lent an even more intimate encounter with Christ. Past Lenten seasons have been good as I’ve ramped up my prayer life, increased attendance at daily Mass and going to the Sacrament of Confession, and of course giving something up to unify myself with His sacrifice on the Cross. This year a new and slightly different opportunity has surfaced at my parish. The director of our Adult Faith Formation recently asked me to facilitate a 7 session class on the Seven Deadly Sins, Seven Lively Virtues (click here) beginning Jan 20th. This class is a DVD-based study hosted by Bishop Robert Barron and provided by Word on Fire Ministries (click here). In addition to a short 15-20 minute video presentation by Bishop Barron each week, a set of 10 questions is provided to promote group discussion, sharing and understanding. My task will be to guide the group discussions and field any other related questions that may surface.

Most of us are aware of the seven deadly sins being those human tendencies that mortally wound our relationship with God. However, the theme being emphasized during this study is that for each of these seven deadly sins there are seven virtues that act as an antidote to that deadly sin. Here is the list of each according to the upcoming class notes as well as a couple common alternative names (  ).

Deadly Sin      POISON2 Lively Virtue     FIRSTADE    
Pride Humility
Envy Admiration
Anger (Wrath) Forgiveness
Sloth Zeal (Diligence)
Avarice (Greed) Generosity
Gluttony Asceticism (Temperance)
Lust Chastity

So you are probably asking, what does this have to do with Lent 2016? This class is a great opportunity to approach Lent with an attitude of taking positive action. Instead of simply avoiding a deadly sin, which is always good, we can now focus on embracing the lively virtues to become more like Christ.

This post is the first of a series and serves as just an introduction to the class and an invitation to return to this blog and see how the class is going. I’ll be regularly posting reports of each class session, reviewing some of the group discussion highlights and maybe even posting a surprise with some interesting new reading material.

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