Fr. Bloomfield's Blog

I am a Roman Catholic Priest of the Archdiocese of Detroit, currently assigned to Divine Child Parish in Dearborn, Michigan. When I manage to keep the page updated, hopefully something interesting can be found here!

Monday, February 26, 2007

Faith Seeking Understanding for February 18, 2007

The celebration of Mardi Gras (Shrove Tuesday, Paczki Day, etc.) is this Tuesday, which means that Lent begins the following day. As Catholics, we have the unique blessing to be able to enjoy this day of revelry and merrymaking before the austerities of Lent begin, because we are able to understand that Christ is the cause of all our joy and that our sins require yearly penance. Even so, we should always remind ourselves to be temperate in our indulgences before Lent begins and to deny ourselves good things to prepare our hearts to really celebrate the Resurrection.

Ash Wednesday is a day of Fast and Abstinence, requiring those 14 and older to abstain from eating meat, and requiring those 18 to 60 to fast, eating only one complete meal and two lighter meals that would not equal the larger meal. We will celebrate Mass at 9 am, Noon, and 7 pm on Ash Wednesday, and have distribution of ashes throughout the day. We also recall that Lent is a time of Prayer, Fasting, and Almsgiving; may this Lent be an opportunity to grow in holiness and experience the mercy of God in a deeper and richer way for all of us.

The tradition of self-denial through Lent is part of the traditional Catholic discipline that helps us recognize that our appetites are “disordered.” That is to say, unless we are able to discipline our wills through the grace of the Holy Spirit, we will always be tempted to excess in our desires. We can always eat more, drink more, watch more television, buy more clothes, electronics, or other toys, or indulge ourselves in any number of ways. The discipline of Lent acts as a yearly corrective, reminding us of the need to rely more perfectly on God for our sustenance, and to seek to continually perfect ourselves. We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us.

To share some family news, my brother 1LT Charles Bloomfield left for Iraq last weekend to begin a one-year tour there. He is a field artillery officer and was stationed at Ft. Riley, KS, before his deployment. Please pray for my brother and all our men and women who are serving in the military, but particularly for those who are so far from home. The sacrifices they make on our behalf truly are heroic.

In less than three weeks, I will be traveling to Israel with 100 other pilgrims to spend ten days in and around Jerusalem. You have seen the fliers in the gathering area and the advertisements in the bulletin; I can hardly believe that this trip is almost here. Having never been to the Holy Land, I’m not sure what to expect, but I am confident that many graces will be poured out upon our pilgrimage. In fact, every time I open the Scriptures now, it seems that another geographical location jumps out at me: Judea, Jerusalem, the Sea of Galilee, Capernaum, etc. I am eager to see these places in person, and to be able to bring your prayers and intentions with us to the ground upon which Jesus himself walked.

We will finish our exploration of the Apostolic Constitutions next week, followed by the beginning of the great St. Augustine. Have a blessed week!