ST. MICHAEL'S LENTEN SERVICES
An extra weekday Mass will be celebrated during this Holy Season at 7:00 P.M. We will need Eucharistic Ministers to serve at these Masses. Also, the Sacrament of Reconciliation will be offered on Mondays after 7:00 P.M. Mass
Stations of the Cross will be prayed on the Fridays of Lent at 12:30 P.M. following the Noon Mass and at 7:30 P.M. following 7:00 P.M. Mass.
Lenten "Prayer-Breakfast-Reflection" for Women
Wednesday mornings of Lent from 6:00 to 6:50 A.M.
Location: SMS Auditorium, enter through side door of school, directly across from the Sarah Black Room of the Parish Center
If you're unable to attend all weeks -- it's okay! Please let us know your interested by calling the Religious Education Office at 908/276-2050, and we'll plan accordingly.
Young Adult Prayer and Pizza Fridays
Continue on Lenten Fridays. Join the St. Michael's Young Adult Group for the Stations of the Cross in the church at 7:30 P.M. followed by pizza and fellowship in the parish center. Join us for both or arrive when you are able. Contact Fr. Tom for more information.
Lenten Series on Prayer and the Spiritual Life
How does God speak to me? How do I know God's will for me? How can I grow in my prayer life? If these questions have ever passed your mind then join Fr. Tom and your fellow parishioners as they journey through the spirituality of St. Ignatius of Loyola and his teaching on the "discernment of spirits." Begins Thursday, March 9 at 2 PM and 7:30 PM in the Pat O'Keefe Room. Attend the session that works best with your schedule.
SAINT MICHAEL CHURCH: BEST LENT EVER
Join us as we live Lent together. Pick the method that works best for you. Either (1) sign up for daily emails or (2) each day of Lent, go to http://dynamiccatholic.com/bestlentever/lent-reflections-2017 or (3) read a chapter a day of the book Resisting Happiness by Matthew Kelly of Dynamic Catholic. You get mostly the same material in all three methods. As a sample, here is the material for the first two days.
Day 1 Resistance
So the alarm clock goes off in the morning, what do you do? Do you get straight out of bed, bound out of bed, with fabulous energy? Or do you slap the snooze button and roll over? You slap the snooze button, you roll over, you think, “I get a few more minutes of sleep.” What just happened? No big deal, right? You just slapped the snooze button. You just took a few extra minutes of sleep.
Wrong. Resistance just kicked your butt.
Resistance is that sluggish feeling that stops us from doing the things that we know are good for us. It’s that sense that, “I don’t want to do that,” even though we know it’s the thing we should do. Sometimes it’s the sense that, “You know what, I’m going to do whatever I want even though I absolutely know it’s the wrong thing to do.”
That’s resistance too, and resistance is a big part of the reason why we often feel like we’re our own worst enemy. Resistance is a big part of the reason why we often feel like happiness is just outside of our reach.
Lent is, I guess in some ways, sort of a funny time to be talking about happiness. But not really, because it’s important to understand that God created us for happiness.
Open up the Catechism of the Catholic Church to the first point in the first chapter, which I think turns out to be point 27 (because of the preamble): God created man for happiness. Man’s greatest desire is for happiness because God created us for happiness. You got to remember that what happened on Good Friday was designed to restore the possibility of happiness for you and me. Not only in this life, but in the next life. Not just for you and me, but for every man, woman, and child in every place and every time. Because God does have this enormous desire that we experience the happiness that he created us for. And resistance absolutely gets in the way of that happiness. It gets in the way of us accomplishing our dreams. It gets in the way of us doing what we know is good for us. It gets in the way of us being the-best-version-of-ourselves. It gets in the way of almost everything that’s worthwhile. And what I want to help you discover in the days and weeks ahead is that resistance is real.
It’s not just a concept, a theory, a figment of imagination. But it is something very real.
We do encounter it every single day—and many, many, many times throughout the day. And it is critically important that we learn to recognize resistance and that we learn to conquer resistance, in those moments of the day, one moment at a time, to learn to conquer resistance.
Focus: Resistance stands between you and happiness.
Act: Write down every time you encounter resistance this week.
Pray: God, I invite you into my daily battle with resistance this Lent. Give me the courage to name, define, recognize, and overcome resistance in my life.
Day 2 Your Quest for Happiness
So, how did you experience resistance in the last 24 hours?
You saw this reflection in your email box this morning, were you resistant to watch it? Did you put it off? Did you watch it straight away? Did you say, “Oh, I’ll do that later,” or “I’ll do that tonight”?
As we make this journey together, you’re going to encounter resistance in a thousand different ways. . . . What we’re talking about here, this concept of resistance, it’s real. It’s something we experience every day. And it’s something we experience in relation to everything.
That’s really the paradox of happiness. It’s that, we know the things that make us happy, we just don’t do them. And very often the reason we give for not doing them is because we’re too busy trying to be happy.
It’s the stunning paradox that surrounds the desire that we all have for happiness. We want to be happy, but we don’t do the things that make us happy, because we’re too busy trying to be happy.
And it relates to all aspects of our lives. So if you think of the four aspects of the human person—physically, emotionally, intellectually, and spiritually—I know the things that make me happy.
Physically, if I exercise regularly, and I sleep regularly, and I eat the right sorts of food, I’m just massively happier than I would be if I neglect those things.
Emotionally, when I give focus and priority to the most important relationships in my life, I’m just happier.
Intellectually, when I make the effort, when I have the discipline to read for a few minutes each day, my vision of myself expands, my vision of the world expands, my vision of God expands. I become more focused, more alert, more vibrant, and I’m happier.
And spiritually . . . silence, solitude, Scripture, sacraments, they make me happier. I am a-better-version-of-myself when I spend time in these disciplines.
But I can come up with a thousand reasons every day why not to do any of those things. And behind every single one of those reasons, we find resistance.
And that’s the happiness paradox. We want to be happy. In 90% of the cases, we know the things that will make us happy, but we don’t do them. Why? Resistance.
Here’s the thing I want you to keep in mind: In every one of those situations, either resistance is going to win, or you’re going to win. There’s no middle ground.
Either resistance wins, or you win. There’s no middle ground. So you’ve got to see that as a challenge. And you’ve got to get out there and slay resistance in the moments of the day.
Focus: Find out what really makes you happy.
Act: Identify 3 activities that increase your happiness. Write them down.
Pray: Jesus, help me to stop chasing the things that destroy my happiness, and fill me with the desire to pursue the things that will bring me lasting happiness.