Think about those times in your life when you have felt inspired to something really great. Where does that inspiration come from?
The Holy Spirit. God inspires us to do great things with our lives.
----Matthew Kelly

Welcome to The Not So Perfect Catholic!

Disclaimer: I am not a theologian, just a Catholic empty-nester trying to figure it all out. The views on this blog are my own.

Rejoicing with Grace in the Middle of Lent

The Catechism of the Catholic Church defines grace as favor, the free and undeserved help that God gives us to respond to his call to be children of God, adoptive sons, partakers of the divine nature and of eternal life. (CCC 1996) In RCIA this week, someone had a very good question: What is the difference between grace & blessing? The Catechism explains blessing as expressing the basic movement of Christian prayer; it is an encounter between God and man. In blessing, God's gift and man's acceptance of it are united in dialogue with each other, the prayer of blessing is man's response to God's gifts: because God blesses, the human heart can in return bless the One who is the source of every blessing. (CCC 2626) I interpret that to mean that through God's blessing, we receive grace. Please keep in mind that I am not a theologian and have never taken college courses on theology. This is just my simple mind trying to wrap my head around this week's Readings.

Rejoice in the middle of Lent?

The priests and deacons wear pink (or rose...the deacon is adamant that they are rose!) vestments this week. Lent is a time for confession, penance, and reconciliation. Here we are in the middle of Lent, and it's a day of rejoicing. (Enter record scratch here.) Wait...what? Yes, I said rejoicing. In the middle of Lent!  It's time to come out of the darkness to prepare for our risen Lord. To get to that, first, we have to relive his passion.  But, I'm getting ahead of myself. Today is the day to get a breather. Take a deep breath, look back on how you've been doing during Lent with your spiritual health, and get ready for the "heavy week". As I get older, Holy Week takes on more meaning. As I reflect on how my Lent has been going, I have work to do. Serious work. I slacked off this past week and haven't felt myself getting closer to God. I feel like I'm hiding in the darkness.

Coming Out of the Dark

When I was a child, I'm pretty sure if I did something I wasn't supposed to I would sneak and hide. (Getting sweets when I wasn't supposed to comes to mind!) We have a dog (who is actually my son's...she's our house guest until he graduates) who will run and hide under the bed when she's done something wrong. I think those are 2 pretty good examples of hiding in the darkness due to sin. (You might argue that dogs can't sin, but that's a topic for another day.) In the dog's case, once we cajole her and talk sweetly to her, she'll come out from under the bed. As people, once we're told it's okay and we're forgiven, don't we feel as if the darkness has dissipated? During his Homily, the priest said that Jesus came to bring light to the world. Lent is not about darkness so we shouldn't hide but instead come out into the light. As Catholics, we receive grace when we go to confession and are absolved of our sins. What an amazing blessing God has given us!

Just Go

Communal penitential services are a perfect time to prepare yourself to receive the grace given to us through the Sacrament of Penance. Or, go to confession at your parish's scheduled time. If that doesn't work for you, call the parish office and make an appointment for the priest to hear your confession. Just go to prepare yourself for Holy Week.

During the Homily, Father mentioned that as Christians, we continue to be drawn to God. I momentarily got distracted by Audrey Assad's song coming to mind:


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