I started Introduction to the Devout Life by St. Francis de Sales last night. I was reading the first couple of pages when the message of outward vs. inward piety jumped off of the page, reminding me of Fr. Collin's words during the homily at Ash Wednesday's Mass. His message was a bit different, but the two connected in my mind. Fr. Collin was talking about the outward sign of the ashes meaning penance, and how we hope this Lenten season to bring about inward conversion as we turn our hearts towards God. St. Francis was discussing the outward piety - - fasting, giving of alms, etc - - and how those do not matter if there is not inward piety -- how we cannot be truly devoted unless our hearts are turned to God. The message of the outward and the inward. We can go to Mass, give alms to the poor, fast, and all that, but if we hold grudges or speak unkindly, we cannot know true devotion. Love of God inspires us to love others, to hope for the best in others, to perform acts of kindness. This led me to think about confession and how that would also be a wonderful way to start Lent - - a clean heart to hopefully gain many graces from the devotions and prayers through Lent.
PS - - I've added a new page to the blog called "Sacred Play Places" where I hope to post pictures and ideas about building a home atrium. Our parish doesn't offer Catechisis of the Good Shepherd and I have been intrigued by it, but with mostly older children, I've never really had a reason to explore it. Now, I have reason to delve in - - Thanks be to God!