Lent is a reflective time when Christians look into their lives and take self inventory looking for conditions that detract from our relationship with Christ.
The Act of Contrition is a very important prayer: "O my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended You, and I detest all my sins because of Your just punishments, but most of all because they offend You, my God, Who are all good and deserving of all my love. I firmly resolve, with the help of Your grace, to sin no more and to avoid the near occasion of sin".
We are to avoid the near occasion of sin! However, how many times do we think that because we are adults, we think we have the right to participate with, entertain ourselves with, sin.
Ephesians 5:11 states, "Take no part in the fruitless works of darkness; rather expose them".
There is certainly an addiction to much of this; pornography, abuse of alcohol, drugs, all of which contribute to domestic violence, divorce, rebellion.
"Bad company corrupts good morals" (1 Corinthians 15:33).
St. Paul warns us to "Become sober as you ought and stop sinning. For some have no knowledge of God; I say this to your shame".
Hosea 4:6 warns, "My people perish for want of Knowledge! Since you have rejected knowledge, I will reject you from my priesthood; Since you have ignored the law of your God, I will also ignore your sons".
When our religious leaders fail to teach us the truth from the pulpit and teach what is right and wrong, the people fall away.
I recently spoke with a Seminarian from Kenya who laments the problems his Country faces with premarital sex, abortion, violence. I told him that we face the same problems here.
In Africa, there is a huge epidemic of AIDS's and other Sexually Transmitted Diseases. It is a terrible plight there among the people.
Last year (February 2011) Missionary Intention, Pope Benedict made this statement: "That in the mission territories where the struggle against disease is most urgent, Christian communities may witness to the presence of Christ to those who suffer".
The problem is that the world is moving farther and farther from Christian foundations moving to a Secularized State.
The Culture of death continues to push Planned Parenthood around the world giving access to abortion. This is reality.
The Church cannot remain silent about these matters and we need to get back to the basics of prayer and devotion.
To get back to good religious instruction forming right consciences based from the gospel through the teaching of the Catholic Church.
There are Priests who do not see a need to evangelize people. Hosea's warning really comes to mind. We need to pray for our Priests because they are under attack.
The Catholic Church is under attack, the family is under attack. What a great opportunity this Lent can be for the members of the Church to renew their faith and commitment to live their call to follow Christ.
We can change hearts only as we clean ourselves and rid ourselves of those things that bring us down. We need to talk the talk, but also walk the walk!
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