As we embark on the first week of our Lenten journey I would like to offer you a reflection by Henri Nouwen (one of my favorite spiritual authors). This is a reflection that just might help put your Lenten Season of prayer, fasting and alms-giving in better perspective. It’s entitled, “The One Necessary Thing.”
“Jesus does not respond to our worry-filled way of living by saying we should not be so busy with worldly affairs. He does not try to pull us away from the many events, activities, and people that make up our lives. He does not tell us that what we do is unimportant, valueless or useless. Nor does He suggest that we should withdraw from our involvements and live quiet, restful lives removed from the struggles of the world. Jesus’ response to our worry-filled lives is quite different. He asks us to shift the point of gravity, to relocate the center of our attention, to change our priorities. Jesus wants us to move from the “many things” to the “one necessary thing.” It is important for us to realize that Jesus in no way wants us to leave our many faceted world, rather He wants to live in it, but firmly rooted in the center of all things. Jesus does not speak about change of activities, a change in contracts, or even a change of pace. He speaks about a change of heart. This change of heart makes everything different, even while everything appears to remain the same.”
I think these are beautiful words to meditate on as we begin Lent. What is the “One Thing” in your journey over the next 40 days that will help change all the rest of the ‘things’ you are already doing? In other words, it does not have to be complicated! It does not have to add to our already very busy schedules. It can be just “One Thing” an attitude, an acceptance, a surrender, a time of silence, a book to read, or as Henri Nouwen says, “A change of heart.” For each of us this may be very different, but for all of us, it should touch upon our life!
Speaking of “things,” on a very different note, I would like to say a few words about the current status of our Area Catholic Community (ACC) and diocesan plan for parish groupings and re-alignment. Although our Bishop’s meeting with all the priests with Diocesan Planning Committee has been stalled due to weather conditions over the last several weeks, this past February 27th we were finally able to meet and discuss the “Final Version” of the ACC Plan as presented by the Diocesan Planning Committee . Now, we can move forward onto our next steps! Starting this week then, we will be starting a continuing bulletin article entitled: “Area Catholic Community News.” The purpose if this on-going column will be to remind everyone what our ACC is about (its vision and values). As well as keep everyone up-to-date on what is transpiring right now. I have already named the Transition Team members from our twinned parishes who will represent us in our ACC discussions. These people are selected from our current Parish Trustees and Parish Council Chairs. St. Michael and St. Joseph are in the process of selecting their members for this committed as well. My next step then is to set up a “ACC Parish Hall Meeting” which is open to the public and anyone who is interested in seeing the Final Diocesan ACC Plan, learning more about it, and hopefully hear answers to any questions or concerns people might have. The date we have set for our ACC Parish Hall Meeting will be Tuesday, March 26th at 6:30 pm at the Church of St. Peter. This will be the first of other meetings we may have over time. To help our meeting move quicker, we have placed a physical ‘Mail Box’ in the entry of each church for anyone to submit any concerns or questions they might want addressed at this gathering. Look for it, and please keep yourself posted in our bulletin regarding our ACC News! In the meantime, thank you for your input and patience and God bless!