"Resolve to live more consistently in ways pleasing to God this Lent." That simple advice comes from Father Philip Sosa, provincial superior of the Missionaries of the Holy Family, based in Saint Louis at Saint Wenceslaus Parish. "As we begin our Lenten Journey, let us commit to doing more than wearing ashes on our foreheads. Let us resolve to live more consistently in ways pleasing to God, and may He give you whatever you need to testify to His love," Father Sosa wrote before the beginning of Lent.
Father Sosa provided examples of practices to follow in living more consistently in ways pleasing to God:
Seven Corporal Works of Mercy --
⇒ Feed the hungry.
⇒ Give drink to the thirsty.
⇒ Clothe the naked.
⇒ Shelter the homeless.
⇒ Care for the sick.
⇒ Visit the imprisoned.
⇒ Bury the dead.
Seven Spiritual Works of Mercy --
⇒ Share knowledge (instruct the ignorant).
⇒ Give advice to those who need it (counsel the doubtful).
⇒ Comfort the suffering.
⇒ Be patient with others (bear wrongs patiently).
⇒ Forgive those who hurt you.
⇒ Give correction to those who need it (admonish the sinner).
⇒ Pray for the living and the dead.
More Acts of Virtue --
⇒ Follow the 10 Commandments.
⇒ Commit to prayer, fasting, and alms giving (tithing).
⇒ Go to Confession and attend Mass often.
⇒ Read Sacred Scripture.
⇒ Pray the Rosary and Divine Mercy Chaplet.
"People can do something good that's pleasing to God, like visiting the sick," Father Sosa said.
"Lent is thought of in terms of receiving ashes on Ash Wednesday and what they can give up, such as smoking or going to the movies," he said. In parish work, he always encouraged people to go to Mass more often, attend Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, and more.
"Simply picking up the Bible and reading it makes a big difference in one's spiritual life as well," Father Sosa said.
"We share some of the Holy Family's experiences. They are the example for us on how to keep a close relationship with God by praying daily and by loving and serving others, by being merciful. Making Jesus the very foundation of our lives will bring us the gift of true peace," he wrote in the province's Messenger magazine.
The Missionaries of the Holy Family recommend these resources for Lent:
⇒ "John Paul II's Biblical Way of the Cross" by Amy Welborn and Michael Dubruiel, a 32-page booklet from Ave Maria Press.
⇒ "No Greater Love" by Amy Welborn, a 32-page booklet on the Stations of the Cross for young people from Creative Communications for the Parish.
⇒ "The Words We Pray: Discovering the Richness of Traditional Catholic Prayers" by Amy Welborn, a paperback from Loyola Press.
⇒ "Pope Francis' Living Lent with Mercy: Encouragement and Daily Prayers" by Father Warren J. Savage from Creative Communications for the Parish.
[This article, by Mr. Joseph Kenny, originally appeared as "Lenten Resolution: Commit to Live in Ways Pleasing to God," from the St. Louis Review, a publication of the Archdiocese of Saint Louis, first published on 12 February 2016.]