Think of the 40 days of Lent as a time of choosing the right spiritual food, Bishop Alfred Schlert told children gathered at his traditional Ash Wednesday school Mass.
There are three groups of foods, he told students of St. John Vianney Regional School who came to his 9 a.m. Mass at the Cathedral of St. Catharine of Siena.
There are foods that are good for you, foods that you should avoid, and foods that could make you sick.
In the same way, there are three types of spiritual food, he explained during his homily.
There are things that are spiritually good — things that bring us closer to God. These are virtues.
There are things that can make you spiritually sick, things like the sins of bullying and gossip.
Finally, there are things that should be avoided.
We all face temptation, the Bishop told the children, “something that looks good but will lead us to sin.” In temptation, we have two choices, to do a good thing, or to do a bad thing. “The good choice is virtue, holiness,” he said. “The bad choice is sin.”
Lent is a time for prayer, fasting, and almsgiving – doing something good for someone else. It is also, the Bishop said, a 40-day period in which God wants us to make the right choices.
“Lent is a time of actively, willfully, consciously, and with all of our heart and soul choosing the good things that lead us to God and staying away from the things that draw us away from God,” the Bishop said.
“When we face a choice,” he told the children. “Choose the right thing, the thing that God wants for us.”