LENT IN THE HOSPITAL

“Blow the trumpet in Zion! proclaim a fast.” —Joel 2:15

I have written One Bread, One Body for about twenty years. Most of the time I have written these daily teachings in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament. Occasionally, I have to write these teachings on airplanes and at other sundry locations. Today, on this first day of Lent, I write from my hospital bed with an IV in my arm, as I await potential surgery.

Today, throughout the world, many millions of Catholics hear the sobering words: “Remember, man, that you are dust, and unto dust you shall return.” A hospital bed is a good place to appreciate this command and statement. A hospital bed is a good place to hear another command: “Yet even now, says the Lord, return to Me with your whole heart, with fasting, and weeping, and mourning” (Jl 2:12). We know we should repent. But is it actually a matter of life or death, of salvation or damnation? A hospital bed is a good place to hear the wonderful promise: “Now is the acceptable time! Now is the day of salvation!” (2 Cor 6:2) In the hospital, “now” tends to mean more than “tomorrow.” A hospital bed is a good place to begin Lent and take God so dead seriously that we enter more fully into eternal life.

Have the holiest Lent ever, the Lent of a lifetime, a springtime of your life in the Spirit.

PRAYER: Father, teach me the deeper meanings of an ashen cross.
PROMISE: “Then the Lord was stirred to concern for His land and took pity on His people.” –Jl 2:18
PRAISE: Before becoming Catholic Ted visited a Church on Ash Wednesday. He felt great peace and proceeded to receive instructions on the Faith in an RCIA class.

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