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Dear St. Martin’s Parishioners,

The way we describe the 40-day period of preparation for Easter in English is unique. Lent is an old English word meaning “springtime.” Of course, this refers to the time of the year during which we live these 40 days. It begins in late winter and ends in spring. There is also a spiritual meaning to it. Spring is the season of new life. Lent then is the time of preparing for a renewed spiritual life through the hard and necessary work of pruning our lives. Let’s be honest, no one looks forward to pruning, fasting, self-denial and extra penance. Yet, we can also acknowledge that without these spiritual practices, our spiritual life won’t blossom or produce fruit.

An ancient refrain of the Church in the Easter season is, “See how the cross of the Lord stands revealed as the tree of life.” During Lent we are called to see how all fruitfulness in the spiritual life comes through the experience of the cross. We desire intimacy with the Lord, a greater taste of his salvation and mercy, as well as an increase in divine life. God’s desire to gift us these spiritual fruits—and many others— far surpasses our own. Yet, our fruitful reception of God’s gifts comes to the extent that we die to self. Our particular crosses, unique to each of us, are the chosen means by which we come to life in Christ. Rather than avoiding suffering, this Lent strive to appreciate and embrace the particular cross the Lord has given you. It is not a curse but, in God’s mysterious wisdom, a blessing; through it, God is working out his plan of salvation for you.

In Christ,

Fr. Dave

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