Age 25 / West Chester University
St. Rita High School: Campus Ministry and Student Activities

Greg Tosto was born and raised in Springfield, Pennsylvania, about twenty minutes outside Philadelphia. He spent the first twelve years of his...
 
 

Lenten Reflections

Hello!


Welcome to this year’s edition of the Augustinian Volunteers Lenten Reflections.  Each year, we ask people from all different roles in our program ranging from current and past volunteers to Augustinians to advisory board members to site-supervisors and others who work with and support us to contribute a reflection on the readings of a particular day of Lent.  We then give this to our volunteer communities as well as the Augustinian community at the volunteers’ particular site as well as to the greater Augustinian Volunteers community for prayer and reflection.


You may read the Lenten Reflections online here at http://osavol.org/learn/lenten-reflections or request to receive a daily email from us with the day’s reflection at osavol@gmail.com  Free feel to share this with family and friends, send them the link to the website or have them sign up for the daily email if you would like!


We would like to thank those who contributed a reflection in this year’s edition as the tradition of the Lenten Reflections would not be possible without you and your generosity with your time and effort.


We hope you enjoy this booklet and find it fruitful on your Lenten journey this year.


Joanna, Hannah and Taylor

The Augustinian Volunteers Staff


Ash Wednesday, February 10
Thursday, February 11
Friday, February 12
Saturday, February 13

(rest of reflections will be made available soon)



Ash Wednesday, February 10
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/021016.cfm

I know a couple that every year on their anniversary they sit down and take stock of their relationship, and what they find meaningful, what they find difficult, where they thrive as a couple and where they have failed one another. I imagine this must be an amazing yet challenging conversation to have at times, but like many difficult conversations once they get going there are sure to bear fruit. In fact, this couple told me that they never look forward to the conversation. It often brings embarrassment and guilt to the table. But they expressed that they also have always left the conversation knowing that they are loved more than they knew by their partner, even the times where the admission of failure seems to be overwhelming.

Ash Wednesday always seems to be that anniversary for me and my relationship with God. I try and succeed at coming up with countless options to distract me from this difficult task, and often Lent is here long before I have invested any time in thinking about my successes and my shortcomings. But there is a sense of relief with Ash Wednesday in that I get to stop pretending that I am not broken. Maybe because we have this social pressure around the question of “What are you giving up for Lent?”, which is a less patronizing way of saying “How could you love more?” but once I have had the opportunity to pray with the questions that the Lenten season poses, then I can come to terms with who I am in the eyes of God. In naming how I could be better, I find the energy to be better, to build the kingdom, to live in the Love that I know embraces me. It is in the coming to the conversation with God that is hard and I may drag my feet, but I trust that the conversation will end with the revelation that I am loved more than I ever knew.

Griffin Knipp
AV 2010-2011, Chicago


Thursday, February 11
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/021116.cfm

The Lord has made a covenant or alliance with the people of Israel. This Alliance has as its foundation that the Lord God would provide all that Israel needed as long as the whole nation of Israel would live lives following His commandments—namely that they would love Him and walk in His ways.

What is of interest is that this covenant was not made with just a part of the nation of Israel. Rather, it was made with all the people of Israel. They all had to agree to what they would do and then also expect God to keep His part of the Covenant. Thus, if some of the people chose not to obey “His commandments, statutes and decrees,” then that would cause problems (being censured, not having crops, etc.) for the whole nation.

This for me is always a point of reflection. As a person, I am responsible for my own life. I need to live in a way that my actions are based upon my core values. I am also a member of many communities such as my faith community, my family, my work place, etc. In all of these “communities” I have said yes to a certain way of living or of being part of those communities.

During this Lenten Season, it might be a time for me to reflect upon the communities that I am part of and my role within them.

What are the challenges they have presented to me?
How have I grown because of them?
How am I present to the other members of these communities?
How have the other members been present to me?

Fr. William Lego, O.S.A.
Augustinian Site Supervisor, Chicago


Friday, February 12
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/021216.cfm

Recently, I attended a worship service in which the pastor’s sermon emphasized the inherent difference between a student and a disciple. A student, eager for knowledge, seeks to gather information and to postulate and theorize with their newfound knowledge. A disciple, however, seeks to take the lessons they have learned and apply them to their actions and interactions. This reading, I believe, highlights this characteristic distinction as well.

There are times, sometimes more often than not, when we go through the motions of our day and of our faith. We go to mass, listen to the readings, learn a thing or two that maybe we didn’t know before; but our lives remain ultimately unchanged, and therefore neither do we do anything to change the lives of others around us. But when we internalize the lessons we listen to and read about in church and take the commandments God sets before us, they are an opportunity to not only act in a Christian way, but to uncover the power and the truth that resides in them.

Putting faith into action is, of course, much easier said than done. But it starts, I believe, with first realizing that it doesn’t take much to do the small things that God asks of us—small things that can have profound and rippling effects. Being an Augustinian Volunteer has shown me the power in the simplicity of selflessness as well as the integrability of “fasting” in your everyday life. But this understanding has also showed me that this kind of intentionality isn’t exclusive to a year-of-service program—its purpose is far-reaching and its application is lifelong.

Francis Cunningham
Current AV, San Diego


Saturday, February 13
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/021316.cfm

Our response in the Psalm reads, “Teach me your way, O Lord, that I may walk in your truth.”  How often do I sit asking for that grace?  Teach me your way O Lord.

In the Gospel we see Jesus living out his way, seeking out those whom society and the leaders have ostracized and inviting them into relationship.  Do I make time and space in my own life to go outside my typical schedule and comfortable places to encounter those who are suffering?  The Pharisees and their scribes complain, presumably feeling overlooked and dismissed in their attempts at righteousness.  Where have I allowed my own “being right” to prevent my ability to see the pain and needs of another.  This Gospel in particular calls to mind the fact that it is our deep brokenness that not only allows the love of God to enter and transform our lives but is also that which unites us as brothers and sisters.

Teach me your way, O Lord.  Help me to see myself as you do: perfect only in my imperfections.  Help me to see others as you do: reflections of your love, but also in need of the works of mercy embodied by human hands.  Help me to see the world as you do: imbued with your love but in need of healing and care.  Teach me your way, O lord that I might walk in your truth accepting your healing love and in turn be that love for others.

Brian McCabe
AV Advisory Board Member