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Lenten Faith Sharing

Reflections, Prayer and Small Groups

Our parish Lenten theme is “Rooted in the Cross, a New Creation Springs Forth.” Even though we have just completed our “REBOOT” efforts during Advent, we’re not done yet. Rebooting is an ongoing process, and we will be extending it into Lent by revisiting the five REBOOT habits ‐ Love Yourself, Pray, Share the Faith, Friendship and REBOOT. We’ll work together to continue these lifelong habits that help us become ROOTED IN THE CROSS, and grow into a NEW CREATION that will SPRING FORTH on Easter.

Thank you to Donna McDonough and her contributors, for compiling 2019 Lenten Reflections: Rooted in the Cross A New Creation Springs Forth (AVAILABLE AS PDF DOCUMENT ABOVE). This booklet contains a reflection for each day of Lent, written by St. Michael Staff and Parishioners, based on the Scriptures of the Day. Also available at the parish are our small pocket size booklets: Daily Reflections for Lent: Not by Bread Alone 2019.

We invite you to take home and use one or both of these booklets and the outline below for small faith sharing groups, or your own personal / family reflection. This outline is flexible and adaptable, and invites your creativity. BELOW, you can find our Parish Lent Prayer (should you lose your prayer card) and some weekly questions that could be used for individual prayer, family sharing, or small faith sharing groups.

St. Michael Parish Lent Prayer 2019


Faithful God, we ask you to inspire our parish with bold, contagious faith.

May our Lenten prayer, fasting and almsgiving bring us to a closer friendship with you, and help us to joyfully share the beauty, truth and love of your gospel.

Rooted in the saving mystery of Christ’s Cross, and nourished by His Sacred Body and Blood, may a new creation spring forth in our midst Transform our lives, our parish and our world. through the power of your Holy Spirit.

Amen.

An Outline for a Small Group Faith Sharing Session in your Home


We suggest you try the following format for your small faith sharing group if you are looking for a guide.

  1. Set up a sacred space… find a nice candle, a bible, and some symbols of the church season and place them at the center of the space where you will be meeting.
  2. Meetings are most effective if they are kept to one to one and a half hours.
  3. Begin by praying our Parish Lenten Prayer. Prayer cards are being passed out at the doors beginning on February 23-24, and the prayer is posted above!
  4. Perhaps choose a song to play or sing together. You can get many “church” songs on itunes for only .99 to 1.29 each. Something familiar or beloved like Change Our Hearts by Rory Cooney might be a good choice that can be used throughout Lent. You can also search www.thefiveloaves.com and subscribe to Between Sundays. It contains a video reflection and a song that correlates with the upcoming Sunday’s scriptures. It will come to you in an email each Monday with material for the upcoming Sunday. For those of you who are tech savy, you can connect your phone or computer to play these short videos on your TV.
  5. Read aloud the scripture for the upcoming Sunday. It is always a good idea to pre‐read the scriptures before coming to the group meeting.
  6. Read the reflection in our St. Michael Reflection Booklet or in the Not by Bread Alone book or from any other source that you may find online or elsewhere.
  7. Discuss how that meditation may also apply to your lives.
  8. Discuss the questions of the week, and your own questions that arise in the group.
  9. Offer intercessory prayers for the needs of the parish, your family, the world, etc.
  10. Conclude with a prayer chosen by the group. You can use something as simple as an Our Father or Glory Be, or someone may sum up the group reflection in spontaneous prayer.
  11. End with a song – the same song that was used at the beginning or another.

Socializing and enjoying refreshments after the closing prayer helps to build community.
Just be sure to share the responsibility with preparing and cleaning up!

Sunday, March 24 – 3rd Sunday of Lent


LUKE 13:1-9

WEEK 3 – SHARE THE FAITH

Why does St. Luke propose two seemingly disparate ideas in today’s gospel? Luke 13:1-5 deals with human tragedies that occurred at the time – Pilate’s massacre of Galileans, and a tower that collapsed on 18 unsuspecting individuals. Luke 13:6-9 deals with the barren fig tree. How are they related? Why are they read together? What does this gospel have to do with sharing the faith?

Those who lost their lives to Pilate and to an accident did not think their deaths were imminent. Human tragedy can strike unexpectedly and haphazardly. When someone we know or even don’t know suffers tragedy, we feel for them. The sharing of our compassion and sympathy dissolves barriers, makes friends, builds community. And community has synergy: the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. This is what God intended for the human family. To share His love and our lives in communion with one another.

And why the parable of the fig tree? Jesus tells us that although our God is merciful and patiently waits for our lives to bear fruit, eventually death and judgment will come to us all. We need to be on guard against false reassurances that we have plenty of time – that God won’t mind if we put off sharing our faith for a day or two. We may never get the chance.

It is not a daunting task to share our faith. If we all do one small thing – a card, a smile, a phone call – it will make the world a different place, a world where God is acknowledged and loved. Our only job is to spread the seeds, and Jesus makes them grow. How can He do his part if we don’t do ours?

Jesus, Root Us in You!

Weekly questions that could be used for individual prayer, family sharing, or small faith sharing groups:

  1. Where are the barren parts in my life that cause pain or suffering?
  2. How can I transform suffering or tragedies into opportunities that help me to become a new and vital creation?
  3. How and with whom can I share my belief that the suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus still promises new life in our world?

Sunday, March 17 – 2nd Sunday of Lent


LUKE 9:28-36

WEEK 2 – PRAY

What does your prayer life look like? Prayer is described as an intimate conversation with the God who loves you above everything and who wants a friendship with you. I must admit that sometimes I don’t really know what this means. How can I be a friend to someone like God? Why on earth would He want to be friends with me? I disappoint Him daily, I often forget that He’s there, and I can be very selfish in putting my needs before His.

It is wonderful that we, as Catholics, have many beautiful prayers that we can use to communicate with God. How sad, then, when we routinely mouth the words of these prayers and think that our “prayer life” is good. Throwing words at God without our hearts and thoughts behind them would be like aiming prayer darts right at His heart. How hurtful it must be to the God who just wants to know what’s really on our minds, and to share our deepest thoughts with Him.

Jesus often went up the mountain to pray. In today’s gospel, He took His friends with Him. He wanted to show them what true communion (i.e., prayer), with God looked like. And He was transformed into a New Creation. Peter, James and John were never the same after that experience.

Don’t give God the leftovers or spare time you may happen to find in your day. Make Him your priority; think about Him often; imagine Him sitting next to you in your car as you drive to work, or helping you with the dishes, or cleaning the house. Imagine Him guiding your hand as you create a work of art or a delicious meal. Imagine Him helping you to love yourself and all that He meant you to be, and imagine Him standing by your side as you root yourself in the cross and let Him form you into a new creation. This is true prayer.

Jesus, Root Us in You!

Weekly questions that could be used for individual prayer, family sharing, or small faith sharing groups:

  1. In what prayer practice(s) will I root my life this Lent?
  2. Is there something in my life that must die or be transformed so that I may become a new creation in Christ?

Sunday, March 10 – 1st Sunday of Lent


LUKE 4:1-13

WEEK 1 – LOVE YOURSELF

Do I really appreciate who I am? I am a child of God! Created in His image and likeness and destined to be with Him forever. How awesome is this! I cannot let the world and its lies tempt me to believe otherwise. God wants us to shed our misgivings, our doubts and our fear of what a joy-filled, self-loving life would mean.

Fully loving ourselves is not a selfish thing. It does not mean satisfying our every want or desire, or giving in to self-seeking pursuits. Nor does it mean pridefully patting ourselves on the back for all the good that we’ve done. It means loving ourselves enough to remove all barriers to self-respect, and things that prevent us from truly believing that we are a one-in-a-billion-trillion work of art.

Self-love is not easy. After all, Jesus was tempted in the desert to give preference to His physical, spiritual and emotional needs rather than follow the demands of God’s word. He was tempted to take a detour around the difficult path laid out for Him by His father. But at the end of his trials, He showed us that truly loving yourself is really just loving the God within you.

God does not want us to be miserable in our Lenten practices. He knows that self-denial clears a path to loving ourselves enough to open up places in our hearts that only He can nurture into a New Creation!

Jesus, Root Us in You!

Weekly questions that could be used for individual prayer, family sharing, or small faith sharing groups:

  1. What or who is tempting me to uproot my belief in Jesus and his saving power?
  2. What can I do this Lent to avoid temptation and become a new creation?

Sunday, March 3 before Ash Wednesday


Once again, Lent is upon us. It seems like we’ve just gotten through Advent and Christmas and now Lent is knocking at our door. Does God ever let up? Thankfully, not. He’s always challenging, confronting, and coaxing us to come closer to His wondrous heart. And he gives us seasons like Lent to make it easier for us to respond to His love.

I was reflecting on Luke’s gospel (Luke 5:4) where Jesus told Peter to “put out into deep water and lower your nets for a catch.” I originally took this gospel at face value, thinking that it was about faith and trust in Jesus, and about acknowledging ourselves as sinners. But I now realize that Jesus is asking us to put out into the uncharted, deep, and sometimes scary water of our own spiritual depths, and jump into Lent and all the wonderful surprises it will hold for us. We just have to trust Him.

Our parish Lenten theme is “Rooted in the Cross, a New Creation Springs Forth.” Even though we have just completed our “REBOOT” efforts during Advent, we’re not done yet. Rebooting is an ongoing process, and we will be extending it into Lent by revisiting the five REBOOT habits – Love Yourself, Pray, Share the Faith, Friendship and REBOOT. We’ll work together to continue these lifelong habits that help us become ROOTED IN THE CROSS, and grow into a NEW CREATION that will SPRING FORTH on Easter.

So hold your breath and jump in. Remember, you’re rooted in Jesus and He won’t let you go!

Jesus, Root Us in You!


Other Weekly Lenten Reflections / Questions to be added each weekend during Lent!

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