For Lent, create a chain of good deeds

Fr. Jack Kurps, SCJ, is executive director of the Dehonians’ Sacred Heart Southern Missions in northern Mississippi. This morning, for the start of Lent, he shared the following reflection with the SHSM family:

As I have grown older, my understanding of – and my appreciation for – the Season of Lent has changed. When I was a child, we were always asked “What are you giving up for Lent?”

Fr. Jack

To give up something we enjoy for Lent for the sake of giving something up seems to suggest that either we believe that God likes to see us suffer or we believe that we can somehow undo our sinfulness by doing without things we enjoy.

While we might treat others the same way they treat us, our God does not treat us the way we treat God. There is no action we could ever perform that totally repairs the damage of our sinfulness. But our God, through Jesus, has done that.

All around us, creation is beginning to burst with new life. Lent is the time of year in which we allow new life to burst within us.

During this great and holy Season of Lent, God invites us to look at our relationships – our personal relationship with God, our relationship with our spouse, our relationship with our family, our relationship with friends and neighbors, and our relationship with co-workers and others we encounter in the course of our day. If during this season of Lent each of us worked at improving at least two relationships – our relationship with God and at least one other relationship – Easter will find us and our lives to be happier and holier. We would have made at least our corner of the world a little better.

So give up cigarettes, alcohol, desserts or whatever if you think you must. But if you do, give the money you save to the poor. But also do something positive to improve your relationship with God and the life of those around you.

Like much of life, being a good Christian takes practice. I’m encouraging the children and staff of both of our SHSM schools to be more aware of the good they do. At the end of each day I’m asking the children and staff to remember their good deeds of the previous 24 hours. For each good deed they remember, they will add another link in a paper chain that each school will create. How long will the chains get???

I’m not suggesting that you should start making your own paper chain to keep track of your good deeds – but I am suggesting that each of us needs more practice at doing good for others.

May this Season of Lent bring you closer to God and those you love.