You may have seen those television shows like “Fixer Upper,” where the houses look like lost causes but in the end get transformed.
Father Ernie Bedard, OFM Cap., used that show as an analogy for Lent as he celebrated Ash Wednesday with the Xavier community. Sophomores were in the gym, where the Mass was held, as the rest of the student body viewed the services from their classroom because of COVID-19 protocols.
“Nothing is hopeless,” he said of those houses. “No matter how bad it looks, there are possibilities. Nothing is beyond redemption. That is the message of Lent, too; none of us is beyond redemption. Each of us has possibilities. Each of us can be changed.”
How to do it? Prayer is the foundation, Fr. Bedard said, and if you have not been to Confession in a while this would be a good time. We also must tear down the walls separating us from God. Those are barriers such as selfishness, cynicism, dishonesty, gossip, Fr. Bedard said. They are walls that close us off. What we must do is build a shelter of love and mercy, giving to others, he said. It might be donating food to those in need, but it’s not just material things. It’s also giving of ourselves, maybe comforting those who are anxious or giving time to those forgotten and neglected.
Mr. Peter Lyons, Director of Campus Ministry, reminds us that Lent is a 40-day season of penance in preparation for Easter. The three pillars of Lent are prayer, fasting, and almsgiving, and he gave suggestions on each as ways to become the best version of ourselves. They ranged from praying for someone in need to praying the Stations of the Cross each Friday, to visiting the sick to giving up tech time for family time, to giving up complaining and focusing on gratitude.