Cresson Priest to Be “Lenten Coach”

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Editor’s Note: As the Proclaim! Lenten Coach, Father Leo Arnone will offer daily “coaching” or pastoral insight by email or text message to Proclaim! E-News subscribers to help them have a LIFE-CHANGING LENT. His daily messages will begin on Ash Wednesday and continue throughout the season of Lent. Click HERE to register for Father Arnone’s coaching emails or text messages.

By Father Leo Arnone

In the Book of Sirach, we read: My son, when you come to serve of the Lord, prepare yourself for trials (2:1).

St. Paul said: all who want to live religiously in Christ Jesus will be persecuted (2 Tim 3:12); and again: It is necessary to undergo many hardships to enter the Kingdom of God (Acts 14:22).

As we approach the holy season of Lent, we begin with a new and positive resolve: this is going to be the year when the grace of the season and my personal discipline is going to motivate me to give more time to prayer, fasting and almsgiving, and to help me overcome a particular fault. Then a day or two after Ash Wednesday we find ourselves slipping back into old ways. How then can we make our resolve last throughout the season and beyond?

Our first effort must be in addressing our own awareness of and attitude toward the Spiritual Combat for our souls. Unfortunately, most people – including Catholics – do not take this combat too seriously. For such, Satan just does not have to work very hard for their souls. They are like the footpath, rocky and thorny soil from Jesus’ parable in which the Word of God cannot take lasting root. We must maintain an awareness that we have a duty to participate in that combat for our soul. Our participation is the effort we put into cooperating with God’s graces and avoiding Satan’s temptations.

As we approach Lent, we tell ourselves and God that we are presenting ourselves for His service. The Lenten disciplines we resolve to take on are the ways in which we promise to serve and worship Him. This new and positive resolve will get Satan’s attention, because now he will have to work harder to sway us from such promises – that is why Sirach warned us to prepare yourselves for trial.

So, let’s begin Lent this holy season with our new and positive resolve, while maintaining an awareness that we are entering into a Spiritual Combat for our souls. (Keep in mind that the fear of entering this combat is one of Satan’s tricks – he is already mad at you for even considering such a resolve. But stick it to him! Make the resolve anyway!)

Suggested Lenten Resolutions: The Lenten 1-1-1 Plan

One Sin – Concentrate on one personal sin or fault that is getting in the way of your relationship with God and with others.

One Add-In – Add one positive activity that will deepen your prayer and spiritual life.

One Give-Up – Deny yourself something that you really like or are attached to.

Father Leo Arnone is the Pastor of Saint Aloysius and Saint Francis Xavier Parishes in Cresson and All Saints Catholic School in Cresson.