Just to be is a blessing… (Abraham Heschel)

Observing sacrificial practices for Lent seem to be in the bones of Catholics. Prayer,
Fasting and Almsgiving are the traditional ways to prepare for the Holy Triduum and
celebrate the pascal mystery; the dying and rising of Jesus Christ, which broke the
chains of death for humanity. It is a penitential season when we examine our lives and
own the sinfulness. It is a time to try to transform our lives to more reflect our faith in
God, our desire to follow Jesus, to simply become a better person.

This week when visiting a friend in Hospice, it came to me, that one sin I could claim, is
that of taking the good things in my life for granted. As I walked out to the parking lot I
thought, I am going home. My friend and his wife were not going to sleep peacefully,
that night, with their children in their home. I shouldn’t take going home for granted.
I shouldn’t take for granted that I can walk to my car! After helping my sister for several
months as she recovers from an accident that left her with shattered legs and now is
learning to walk again, I shouldn’t take that I can still walk for granted.

I write this after just finishing our uplifting Confirmation Retreat and listening to witness
talks of the hardships some of our friends have endured. I thought I shouldn’t take my
health for granted. I shouldn’t take this community for granted. I shouldn’t take that I
was born to a family that raised me in a faith-filled and loving home for granted. It is so
easy to take the everyday goodness of being alive for granted. The Confirmation talks
were a witness of faith because each person found strength and goodness beyond their

How would we be better people if we weren’t taking things in our life for granted? What
if we practiced being grateful this Lent and renounce the sin that takes the many gifts of
life for granted?

Unshakable faith develops as we take each moment, and thing, and person and
experience, as gifts from God, not for granted.