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A Quinquagesima Sunday at the Starting Gate

It's Quinquagesima Sunday in the Church's traditional calendar. We're heading for the starting block. The great race lies before us. It's not a sprint; more of a long-distance affair. We call it Lent.

A lot happens before a track athlete - specifically a runner - walks up to the starting block and takes his or her stance. Great preparation precedes the race. Exercise, good nutrition, endless practice runs - all prepare the runner. We need the same preparation for Lent.

The runner conditions his or her body for days, weeks, months, years, depending on their age and experience. What about us? Have we done the same for our soul before the gun goes off on Ash Wednesday? Have we taken the time to pray, read Scripture and good spiritual works, study our Catholic religion? Do we avail ourselves of the Sacraments on a regular basis? Depending on our age and experience, we should have done so for days, weeks, months, years.

On race day, the runner doesn't just saunter onto …

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