Happy Advising Day! I hope you are all using it fruitfully!
Here's your update from CCM for this week.
WEDNESDAY - SUPPER @ THE CENTER
This week for our fellowship dinner Joseph and Brandi are cooking, and the theme is Chinese! No, you don't have to eat with chop-sticks. :-) After dinner, I'll be giving a short "Primer on Lent" because Ash Wednesday is just around the corner. After that, Rebecca will lead us in a fun game night. Catholic pictionary, anyone? It all starts at 6:30pm.
SATURDAY - DAY OF SERVICE
We have organized a volunteer day of service for anyone who is interested. We will gather at CCM at 9:30 for an opening prayer and to sign up for service sites. We will have a variety of service opportunities for you, including the Smoky Mountain Pregnancy Care Center, splitting and distributing fire wood to needy county residents, painting & clean up work here at CCM and possibly more. We'll wrap up around 2:30 in the afternoon. If you wish to participate we ask that you RSVP by joining our Facebook Event here. (We need an idea of how many people are participating so we can be sure to have enough work sites).
SUNDAY - MASS
Mass at 7:30pm. Rosary & Confession 30 minutes before Mass. For our Credo discussion after Mass, the topic this week will be "liturgy". Come with questions! Please also note that this coming Sunday, March 2, will be the last Sunday we will have Mass at 7:30pm. There will be no Mass on campus on Sunday, March 9, due to spring break. And on Sunday, March 16, we will begin our new 4:00pm Mass time. Please help pass the word!
Our small group Bible studies continue to meet at 6:30pm on Mondays (3rd floor UC), Tuesdays (Benton Lobby), and Thursdays (UC balcony). If you are not participating in a small group, please consider coming to one. It's never too late to jump in, and more people are always welcome!
ASH WEDNESDAY & LENT
The season of Lent is right around the corner. Ash Wednesday is March 5. We will have a Liturgy of the Word and Distribution of Ashes here at CCM at 12:30pm. As I stated previously, we will have a little Lenten primer after dinner this Wednesday, but for those who can't be there, or just can't wait, Lent is a penitential season before Easter that is traditionally marked by prayer, almsgiving and fasting. It begins Ash Wednesday and runs through Easter (40 days, not counting Sundays). You will be hearing more from me about Lent next week, but for now, here is a helpful article by Deacon Mike Bickerstaff entitled "Practical Advice for a Deeper Faith This Lent."
It is typical for Catholics to "give something up" for Lent. This relates to the practice of fasting, which is integral to the Lenten season. Often people are tempted to give up a vice in an attempt to better themselves, whether that be consuming alcohol, candy, smoking, etc. Or they will give up swearing, or lying, or gossip. Some of these things are sinful in themselves, such as lying and gossip, and others can be sinful if abused or misused, such as alcohol or even over-eating. And so it would certainly be good to use Lent as a springboard to help us get rid of these harmful vices.
However, as good as that is, it's not really the spirit of fasting that Lent is all about. The Lenten fast is about making a sacrifice, and for our sacrifice to be meaningful we ought to be sacrificing something is good. If I give up coffee for Lent, it's not because coffee is bad for me and I ought not to be drinking it anyway. If I give up coffee for Lent, it's because I view coffee as a good, something I value. But as much as I love coffee, I love Christ more and I want to give up my enjoyment of coffee to remind myself of all that Christ gave up for me.
I say this to hopefully inspire you to start thinking now about what you might want to give up this Lent. As I said, you'll be hearing more from me about Lent in the weeks to come, not only about fasting, but also about prayer and almsgiving. The purpose of all of these activities is to draw us closer to Christ. I pray that the Lenten season may, for you, be a time of grace that draws you ever nearer to our Lord.