Archbishop Paul Coakley Answers “What is Lent?”

Archbishop Paul Coakley Answers “What is Lent?” March 3, 2015

Catholic Relief Services and the CRS Rice Bowl program have created a compelling Lenten video series that asks “What is Lent?”. For eight days, I am sharing each of the videos here at the blog. I hope you’ll join me in this brief retreat. I believe you’ll find, as I have, that these videos lead to deeper reflection and increased motivation.

Today, we hear from CRS Board Chair and Archbishop of Oklahoma City, Paul Coakley:

CRS Board Chair and Archbishop of Oklahoma City, Paul Coakley discusses how Prayer, Fasting, and Almsgiving enrich our Lenten experience and push us to love and serve our neighbors.

In the close of his video, Archbishop Coakley challenges us with the words, “Lent builds a foundation, so that you can serve others.” In uniting our Lenten fasting and prayer with true acts of “almsgiving”, we open ourselves up to the grace that God showers when we serve others generously.

Time and time again, I have to remind myself that this season is not about giving something up solely for the act of discipline. I’ve learned the same lesson so many times: fasting that is not tied to prayer and true giving is doomed to fail. I may successfully abstain from a food or practice for the full forty days, but ultimately I’ve grown no closer to Christ if my Lenten devotions are simply empty acts of willpower.

Today, I’m heading the words of Archbishop Coakley as I redouble my commitment to this year’s Lenten season and my chosen devotions. They are helping me to build a solid foundation, so that I can better serve others.

Who are you serving through your Lenten devotions this year? How are they, for you, construction a foundation of holiness and service?

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