Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Lent is just around the corner, as they say. As I mentioned last month, we have the Solemnity of the Presentation on February second, at which the candles will be blessed before Mass. Then the next day, the memorial of St Blase, we will bless throats with those same candles at the community Mass. On the 10th we celebrate the Feast of Blessed Hugh, the first Abbot of the order (of the Abbey of Premontre, as St. Norbert was ordained a bishop early on). On the 13th we will have a requiem Mass for all the deceased of the order (including the deceased lay order members). The 14th is Ash Wednesday with the distribution of the ashes at the community Mass. Finally St. Evermode is on the 17th. I am sure I am leaving something out, but this is enough to keep you busy!
In preparation for this time of Lent, it is good to consider two aspects of the Lenten practices each one of us will perform. First there are the penitential acts, often acts of negation. Examples of these are: not having desserts (or eating what you don’t like and is good for you), not eating in between meals, not watching TV or listening to the radio (which you can apply to any forms of entertainment on the internet), mortifying the desire to “keep going” rather than going to sleep at the proper time, etc. Then there are what I call positive acts or act of virtue (not that the above are not, but you will see what I mean). Examples of these are: doing daily spiritual reading (with the time you have from not being on the net), getting up early (thus going to bed early) to pray and do reading, picking a specific virtue you need to work on along with specific acts for situations/individuals you can apply it to, spending more time with family or lonely individuals, and the like. So as not to have too much which ends up being “getting nothing done”, I suggest concentrating on two or three acts of negation (depending on how simple they are) and one act of virtue. In general the acts of negation are primarily for the penitential season, whereas the act of virtue should be something you hope to continue for the rest of your life (and due to weakness, it may be something you have done in the past, but have not ”kept it up”).
Just remember that the purpose of all this is so that we may come to return to God (to some extent) the love which He has shown for us. And be sure to ask Mary to help you!
May God bless you.