Self reflection essential during Lent

Rev. John Mark Ford of St. Catherine’s Episcopal Church in Chelsea knows some of his congregation members could easily skip a soda at lunch or dessert with dinner. What he truly wants them to discover is what keeps them from having a deeper relationship with their heavenly father.

“We’re not just about taking chocolate away from someone,” Ford said. “We encourage members to consider focusing on something that is getting in the way of them having a stronger relationship with God or being more focused in their spiritual life.”

So, St. Catherine’s decided to take a different approach by focusing on health concerns, financial concerns or relationship issues.

The church begins its wellness series tonight at 7 p.m. with Brent A. McLarty, a board certified family practitioner. The series continues with a financial wellness program March 11 featuring Scott D. Cole, founder of Cole Financial Planning.

“My understanding of Lent is that it’s a time of sacrifice,” Ford said. “But it’s also a time to take a look at yourself and figure out where you want to be in your life.”

Ford encourages members to not only give something up, but to take on a sacrifice as part of their Lenten discipline. He encourages taking up a daily reading or moment of meditation. Any action allowing someone to reflect more deeply on God and the world around him or her counts. The idea is to draw closer to Christ as the season approaches his greatest sacrifice, Ford said.