So the season of Lent is underway. It started very differently this year, no crowds flocking for the traditional Ashes on the forehead, instead a DIY service of Ashes offered on line. While the format may be different the invitation is as ever. Lent is offered to us each year as an opportunity for renewal. It's an invite to look within and identify those things in ourselves that need to be pruned - cut away - if new growth is to happen. With all the things we have been forced to give up in Covid times it's hardly likely that we will be giving up much else. This year why not focus on taking up something instead - a positive course of action to enrich our spiritual selves and foster growth. Most of us have a lot more time on our hands now that our wings have been clipped so why not put that time to good use in a creative and useful way. It's a deal more constructive than hours of Netflix!
Luckily the Internet is offering a Smorgasbord of resources that fit the bill. There are online retreats, Bible study classes, prayer sessions, study groups etc etc. each one of us is bound to find some area of interest. On the website of St. Mary's Parish (www.lucanparish.com) I have listed a selection of such courses, this is by no means an exhaustive list as a simple Google search will clearly demonstrate. The ones listed are Irish based. The Dominicans in Cork are developing a great online presence and are offering a Lenten retreat called 'Into the Desert' as well as a Bible study course, an introduction to Theology, The Mystery of the Eucharist among others. Take a look at their website. www.dominicanscork.ie there really is something for everyone.
On the parish website you will also find a course on offer on the Pope's Encyclical 'Fratelli Tutti' on social solidarity and the way forward.
I have included a set of Stations of the Cross from Trocaire which focus on poverty and Justice and is a useful way to make our prayer grounded and real. A site I discovered some time ago is that of the Chaplaincy service at Creighton University in the USA. They are offering some fine material on Lent, well worth taking a look. https://onlineministries.creighton.edu/CollaborativeMinistry/Lent/
While the lockdown can be depressing it also holds an opportunity - why not seize the moment and expand your spiritual horizons? Easter 2021 can still be a great one!
St. Mary's Lucan