|Liberal Catholic Church
Diocese of Arizona
Lenten Calendar Information
|A Liberal Catholic Lent
The Most Reverend Bennett D. D. Burke
INTRODUCTION TO THE LIBERAL CATHOLIC LENT
Traditionally, Christians have observed Lent as a time of sacrifice and suffering. Lenten disciplines have
focused on giving up the things of the world – foods, addictions, habits, etc. – in remembrance of Jesus’
forty days of temptation and suffering in the wilderness. While sacrifice in the service of others certainly
has redemptive power, Lent can also be a time of joyful reflection, learning, and service. By following the
example and journey of Jesus, we can find for ourselves a path of spiritual renewal and greater faith. We
can use this time not just to give up, but to take up – to take up the cross of Christ. This Lent, we can
share His burden, and the burden of others who hunger and thirst. Serving in joy, we truly show our love.
“Say, then, from the heart that you are the perfect day, and in you dwells the light that does
not fail. Speak of the truth with those who search for it and of knowledge to those who have
committed sin in their error. Make firm the foot of those who have stumbled and stretch out
your hands to those who are ill. Feed those who are hungry and give repose to those who are
weary, and raise up those who wish to rise, and awaken those who sleep. If strength acts
thus, it becomes even stronger.”
The Gospel of Truth, The Nag Hammadi Library
INTRODUCTION TO THE LENTEN CALENDAR
Spiritual seekers in modern America often struggle between rigid and outmoded religious practices on the
one hand, and an “anything goes” approach on the other. Seeking to offer an alternative to these extremes,
the Liberal Catholic Church combines the Catholic form of worship - its stately ritual, its deep mysticism,
and its abiding witness to the reality of sacramental grace - with the widest measure of intellectual liberty
and respect for the individual conscience.
The Liberal Catholic Lenten calendar offers a 40-day structure of study, prayer, worship and service,
designed to help us move closer to God, and to our neighbors. This approach follows closely our Lord’s
admonition, when asked to name the greatest of the Ten Commandments, that we should “love God, and
love our neighbors as ourselves.”
When asked how to detect the sign of the Father in the truly faithful, Jesus said, in the Gospel of Thomas,
to look for “movement and repose.” In that spirit, this calendar asks us to combine action and reflection.
Reflections include readings, prayers, and attendance at special celebrations of the Holy Eucharist, including
the beautiful and powerful four-day cycle of worship services on Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy
Saturday, and Easter Sunday. Actions include a chosen spiritual practice, and outreach to others in our
families, churches, neighborhoods, and the world. The calendar also includes regular Saturday reflections
on the progress of your spiritual growth, and, in keeping with ancient tradition, Sundays as days of rest
from your chosen practice. Sundays, therefore, are not counted among the forty days of Lent.
THE LENTEN CALENDAR
1) Ash Wednesday. Open yourself to new ideas and attitudes. What have you learned in the past
about your faith that you now suspect was incorrect or incomplete? How can you more fully open your
heart and mind to the teachings and example of Christ? This will be our over-arching theme throughout
the forty days of Lent. As a mark of commitment to your chosen Lenten practice, receive the sign of the
ashes, which symbolize dying to the body, and being reborn in the Spirit.
2) Thursday. Open yourself to new actions or habits. Inertia often rules our lives. If asked, “Why do
you do such and so?” a common reply would be “I’ve always done it that way.” Today, examine why you
have made the choices you have, and for whom. Begin to think about what habits or choices you can
change, to live your life more fully in the service of God and your neighbors.
3) Friday. Open yourself to new people. Get to know someone better - invite a stranger, a friend, or a
church member to a simple dinner. Sharing a meal is a great way to open your heart to new friends.
4) Saturday. After several days of reflection, choose your Lenten practice today. Don’t necessarily
focus on giving up something (though now would be a good time to stop smoking, give up fatty foods, and
so on). Instead, why not consider taking on something that would help you break free of what keeps you
separated from God. Examples? You could volunteer weekly with a hot lunch program, a food bank, or a
committee of your church. You might resolve to begin a practice of daily prayer or meditation. Or here’s
a simple idea: begin a regular habit of saying grace before family meals, thanking God for the blessings you
First Sunday in Lent (attend Mass) - Intent: Self-Examination. Read John 3:16–21.
5) Monday. Find a place of solitude. Practice a few moments each day of silent reflection, prayer, or
meditation. Many of us wonder why we don’t seem to hear God’s voice. Sometimes His voice is a quiet
one, drowned out by the noise and busy-ness of our hectic lives. Sit quietly and listen, in the spirit of the
Creator’s advice to “be still, and know that I am God.”
6) Tuesday. Resolve to begin a program of spiritual reading or study. Attendance at church
discussion groups is one way to learn more, while also strengthening your relationships with fellow
members of your community of faith.
7) Wednesday. Do you feel God has turned away from you when bad things happen? Recall that even
Christ Himself had doubts in His hour of crisis, asking God to “take this cup from me.” Read Matt 26:36–
42 to find out how Christ resolved His own doubts and fears.
8) Thursday. How do you relate to God in good times? We have all been told that we should turn to
God in times of sorrow or need. But do we also turn to God with thanks in times of plenty? Remember
that “Eucharist” simply means “giving thanks”. Resolve to attend the Holy Eucharist, or Mass, as often as
you can, even in the best of times, as a sign of gratitude for the many blessings you have received.
9) Friday. How can you make God more a part of your life in both good times and bad? Think about
how participation in your church community can be a way of living the example of Jesus, an example of
sharing both joys and sorrows with those who travel with us on our faith journey.
10) Saturday. Reflect on your practice. How is it going? What have you learned about yourself?
What have you found most difficult about establishing and maintaining a Lenten practice?
Lenten Calendar Page 2