We are at the beginning of the Lenten season and the traditional question we ask and are asked is “What are you giving up for Lent?” Lent is the season of preparation for Easter, when we, by our actions and prayers, come to realize how much grace and love God pours out on us. So, to help prepare us, we often ‘give up’ something, chocolate, TV, Music, meat on Fridays. These are all good things and they can help us prepare for the glorious resurrection feast when we celebrate with abundance.
The contrast is striking if we observe the fasting and penance of Lent faithfully. But, I think James has a point I would like to highlight.
James 4:24,26 See how a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. 25And in the same way, … For just as a body without a spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.:
James is telling us that we need more than simply saying “I believe” if we expect to be saved. We need to demonstrate our faith by our works.
James 4:16 I will demonstrate my faith to you from my works.
I propose a new Lenten question. “What are you going to do extra to draw closer to God?” What new task can you take up this Lent by which you may show your faith? Not just show but grow. For by working in faith, we can in fact increase in faith as well. Saying “I believe” is good but doing something because “I believe” will strengthen our own commitment to that faith and allow us to grow in faith as our lives become steeped in Christ in our prayers and in our actions as well.
So, what can we do extra that will help us grow in our faith?
We could take up a new study. I have chosen to do some more learning on the meaning behind our Catholic Faith. I want to be able to explain our faith to others who challenge and question my almost daily in my life and work outside the church. I want to be able to encourage others to come to the faith or to come back to our faith, who may have left for one or another reason. I want to learn more about what it means to be Catholic. I have chosen a book “Salvation: What every Catholic should Know” by Michael Patrick Barber. I am looking forward to learning more about my own faith.
There are many other resources for learning something new this Season. The web site/ministry service Dynamic Catholic is offering a daily video reflection you can have delivered to your inbox every morning. It is a wonderful way to take a few minutes each day and grow in your prayer life.
We are Knights of Columbus. We can become more involved in our own council, parish and community. There are lots of opportunities to put in some ‘action’ that will enhance our faith. The Knights are a great group of guys who are deeply faithful and spiritual. Working with my Brother Knights over the years has afforded me many opportunities to grow in faith and to experience God’s love through these men. I am a better Husband, a better Christian, a better man, because I am doing work with these men. Come see what you can do. Come to Demonstrate your faith, as James Challenges us all, with our works.
I pray you all find a way to grow in your own faith and show to the world the strength of God’s Love for you and for all of us with your works. I pray you have a faith-full Lent so that you can rise with Christ in a Glorious Easter season to come.