April 3, 2020

It’s All Good / Patti Lamb

Finish Lent strong, be ambassadors of Christ and spread the Good News

Patti LambBecause of the global pandemic and mandated social distancing, this Lent looks far different than any most of us have ever experienced. At the time I’m writing this column, Masses, penance services, Stations of the Cross and everything that makes Lent more meaningful are not happening due to mandates put in place to protect our health.

I’ve always appreciated these Lenten customs, including services during Holy Week, as I feel that they are powerful in helping us more fully appreciate Easter Sunday.

This year, however, I just learned Holy Week liturgies are not occurring, and we also will not have the privilege of coming together on Easter Sunday to celebrate Jesus’ resurrection.  

But I recently heard something I hear every week—in a totally new way—when streaming Sunday Mass on my computer. And what I heard gives me hope for a spiritually productive end of Lent.  

It was the priest’s last line of the Mass: “Go in peace, to love and serve the Lord.”  

It’s sometimes said a bit differently, such as “Go in peace, glorifying the Lord by your life.”  

That day, for some reason, the priest’s last words served as a call like I’ve never heard before.  

This is an opportunity for us all to finish Lent strong, and glorify God by prayers, fasting and almsgiving, and service. I believe this is our call to be ambassadors for Christ and spread the Good News in ways each of us can.  

Now, especially, there are many worthy organizations that would benefit from our stewardship. In addition to giving online at our parishes or dropping our envelopes off at church offices to keep everything in order until we’re back together, there are many others needing assistance at this time. Opportunities to share our time, talent and treasure abound.  

So many are in need of our prayers. How about turning off “screen time” and calling the family together to pray the rosary, offering it up for a special prayer intention.  

When we can’t gather to worship, we can still bring Christ to others in our acts of service. Everything is being delivered these days, and we are called to deliver Christ’s message of love.  

This will look entirely different for each of us. But here are a few examples I witnessed in my own community when I recently took a walk.  

Our neighbors, in their late 80s, had grocery bags on their porch dropped off by a friend from church.  

My daughter Margaret created a sign on our driveway with vibrant sidewalk chalk. It said, “Pray, hope, don’t worry,” words once spoken by Padre Pio. That was the adopted mission statement of her religious education class last year at our parish. She was inspired to do this when she saw other sidewalk chalk messages on the trail near our house. One said, “Let’s help each other!” 

On my walk, I bumped into a friend. She’s a hairdresser whose business has been negatively impacted since her business is temporarily closed. She shared that one client put a Target gift card on her porch, and another just purchased salon gift cards for the next two appointments to help her cash flow.  

A church on the trail where I walked posted this on its message board: “We serve a risen Christ. He lives.”  

This year, especially, we are called to proclaim the Gospel by our witness.  

How will your family actively make the end of Lent—and Easter—meaningful? How will you deliver the message of resurrection and hope?

(Patti Lamb, a member of St. Susanna Parish in Plainfield, is a regular columnist for The Criterion.)

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