March 3-5, 2000
volume 11, no. 45

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    "Getting to the Heart of the Matter" is what Sister Mary Lucy Astuto pinpoints in every issue when she takes a common sense approach to living our faith with her practical columns.

    This weekend Sister sets her sights on Lent and shares with the readers ways we can all make this a meaningful 40 days of fasting and prayer. She emphasizes that the greatest offering we can give is by daily participation in the greatest of prayers - the greatest offering we can give - the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. She also points out that we can make it a grace-filled, fruitful Lent by doing whatever we do to the best of our ability in small ways in patterning our behavior after the ideal example of humility and simplicity - Saint Therese of the Child Jesus who was known for doing the ordinary in an extraordinary way, something we can all strive to do as she points out in her column this weekend, Doing everyday duties well.

    Her column provides effective, vital insights into our faith and ways of fulfilling God's Will every day in every way. You can visit Sr. Lucy at her web site for Heart of Mary Ministry at or you can reach her at Srmarylucy by e-mail.

        Lent will be here soon. It is time for us to consider what Lenten practices we shall observe. Scripture advises three categories: prayer, penance, and almsgiving.

        Attending Mass more frequently is the greatest act of worship. It is wonderful to see an increased number of Catholics going to daily Mass during Lent. This includes business people who use part of their lunch hour to attend Mass.

        Other suggestions may include: daily rosary individually or as a family; praying before Our Eucharistic Lord on hour a week; making the Stations of the Cross every day or at least once a week; daily spiritual reading that leads us to talk to God from our hearts; going to confession every couple of weeks; meditating on Our Lord's Passion for 10 - 15 minutes a day; studying Scripture with family, friends and neighbors.

        Almsgiving can certainly include: working at a local shelter to help feed or clothe the poor; donating monetarily to charitable causes; donating blood to the Red Cross; visiting those who are sick or elderly; spending time with someone who is hurting through the loss of a child or spouse; giving some of your clothes to the poor.

        When we think of doing penance for Lent, the usual comes to mind, i.e., giving up candy, gum, and movies. Other ideas may include: giving up smoking, drinking, watching television, deserts; taking the stairs instead of the elevator; being prompt for appointments; doing our work with extra attention; cleaning out the garage or attic; giving more of your time by becoming more active in the pro-life movement. It has been said that one of the best things we can give others is our time.

        When Our Lady of Fatima appeared in Portugal in 1917 and asked for prayers and penance, one of her suggestions was that we do our daily duties well. Doing everything we do during the day as we should do them, can be a great penance. Getting up on time; not wasting time; being patient with the kids (and spouse); keeping the house neat and clean; not gossiping; ceasing to be an enabler; being courteous in traffic; holding a door for a person following you; praying before and after meals; being pleasant when one doesn't feel like it. (The latter, by the way, is not being a hypocrite. It is acting as a Christian should.)

        In reality, we can become great saints simply by doing our ordinary daily duties well. This is the whole spiritual message of St. Therese, the Little Flower. This was her "Little Way."

        I hope I've been able to give you some food for thought, dear reader. Certainly, all possibilities are not exhausted here, but perhaps this article has given you a few ideas. It is time to begin thinking about how we shall make this Lent a truly "Catholic" one.

        You are in my heart and prayers. I ask to be in yours, as well.

        God bless you!


March 3-5, 2000
volume 11, no. 45

To print out text of Today's issue, go to:

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