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All Good Things
February 18, 2024

Look for the Good

I am often amazed at how time flies so fast! My kids are growing, the snow has (hopefully) come and gone, the birds are starting to chirp, and those little pops of green are trying to say hello to me as I pay attention to these signs of spring! But it is also Lent. We are in the praying, fasting, and giving alms period of our church life. We are supposed to be repenting and turning toward the gospel. However, those little pieces of joy do keep wanting me to see them! And so, I do! I do remember to repent, turn to the gospel, fast, pray, and give alms, but…the joy comes through all of these Lenten guidelines!

Sometimes when we think about Lent, it does seem a bit dull and slow and a time for us to think. We even start our days of Lent with dark ashes on our foreheads. But we also look around and see others who are part of our community. When we see those ashes, we know that hopefully, those people are thinking about how they will fast, how they will pray, and how they will give alms.

All of these Lenten opportunities will eventually bring joy to us! We will all grow, we will all experience the presence of God by making those sacrifices. But are they really sacrifices? Is spending more time in prayer a sacrifice? Or can we see the joy in it? Is having more of a simple meal really a sacrifice, or does it help us to bring awareness to those who are suffering in another country or even just down the road from us? Does our sacrifice help us to remember our neighbor? Is our handing a $5 bill to a homeless person really a sacrifice, when we would have spent it on a double-shot caramel macchiato with almond milk, really a sacrifice? Or did it allow us to see the face of God in the interaction?

As we continue to walk through Lent, and it will go quickly, I encourage you to see that the fasting, praying, and almsgiving, are gifts, they are opportunities. Look for the good and the joy that comes out of the sacrifice. Look for the small pops of color that are coming out of the ground, look for the smiles, and look for God in the encounters!

Happy Lent!

Debi Haug
Association of Franciscan Colleges and Universities


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