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 | By Kanobia Russell-Blackmon

Our Campaign of Christian service

As our lives are filled with countless challenges, how do we allow our faith to strengthen all we do? The Lenten season is around the corner, and while Ash Wednesday is on Feb. 14, a day devoted to love, we are encouraged not only to take love more seriously but also to refresh and deepen our faith. To such an extent that we discern annually our Lenten sacrifice, we purposefully ask the Lord to help us “that we may begin, with holy fasting, this campaign of Christian service, so that, as we take up battle against spiritual evils, we may be armed with weapons of self-restraint.” (Collect, Ash Wednesday) 

The impending Lenten season provides us a 40-day period of prayer, fasting and almsgiving to recall how through baptism we shared in Christ's death, died to evil and sin and began a new life in Christ. We praise God that Jesus Christ paid it all (cf. 1 Cor 15:3; 1 Pt 2:24), for it is to him we owe a great debt of gratitude. Therefore, let’s endeavor to make time to pray and encourage those around us to pray, as we seek to desire conversation with the Lord. Let’s bear witness to one another, particularly those who are not in regular practice of the faith, as we seek to imitate Christ by seeking out the lost and bringing to them the Good News. Let’s minister to the hungry, the thirsty, the stranger, the naked, the ill, and the imprisoned (cf. Mt 25:35-36), as we seek to encounter Christ through the works of justice that are pleasing to God.” (CCC 2462)

May our preparation for Lent, this campaign of Christian service, help us to focus on the Lord, to remain in his gaze, to allow him into hearts and to allow him to guide us. If we are open to it, this Lent can be the most powerful and spiritual season to date.

Kanobia Russell-Blackmon is the director of communications for the Diocese of Pensacola-Tallahassee and editor of The Catholic Compass.