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This Lent, push pause on Netflix and binge on OSV Talks

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There was a meme I saw recently that said, “All I want is for our kids to go to bed so that we can watch TV meant for adults and eat hidden snacks.” And all the parents said, “Amen!”

In our house, despite starting bedtime at 8 p.m. or so, it’s 10:00 or by the time everyone is asleep and we’ve finally — finally! — gotten a chance to sit down, enjoy the quiet and start a show that isn’t animated or irritating. Like many parents, while the show changed every few weeks, the routine did not.

That is, until Lent started.

This year, we have given up watching TV as one of our Lenten sacrifices. We’d become a bit like mindless (and definitely sleepless) zombies. We’d stay up way too late, and while the shows we were watching were entertaining, they weren’t exactly spiritually fulfilling. So we decided to cut Netflix and Hulu and Prime Video out of our lives for at least 40 days and replace them only with content that would inform or inspire our faith lives.

We couldn’t have picked a better time.

Just a week or so before Lent started, the folks at the OSV Institute for Catholic Innovation released their latest round of OSV Talks — 22 motivational, educational and inspiring talks by Catholic leaders. Like Catholic TED Talks. And they’re short — each only between 15-20 minutes in length.

I watched three incredible talks in the first few days of Lent. I encourage you to watch each of them and more.

In the first talk, Katie Prejean McGrady, a Catholic mother, writer and radio host, gave an inspiring presentation entitled “Unleashing the Power of the Millennial Catholic Mom.” Throughout her talk, McGrady testified to the numerous gifts young mothers have to give to the Church.

“Catholic moms want to be heard,” she said. “We long for it. And we’re hoping to find a Church that listens. We want to be seen. We want a Church that affirms and supports us, perhaps even seeing how I, as a mom, can be an asset to ministry — a Church that amplifies and applauds my role in the home but also invites me into spaces where these conversations are being had. … I long for a Church that sees my contributions are not just to grow, birth and raise a kid — but do that in really profound and beautiful ways — but also serve this Church, offer my wisdom, and maybe even mother beyond just my own kids. I long for a Church that sees moms as an asset. … The Church is my mother. I would love for nothing more than my mother to make space for me to be a good and holy mother.”

The second talk we watched was from a speaker readers of Our Sunday Visitor will surely recognize. In his talk entitled “Why Christians Lose on Purpose,” Leonard DeLorenzo, who for more than a year has written the series “Letters to a Young Catholic,” spoke about the sacrifices his father made for him and his brother — sacrifices that he likened to those of John the Baptist, who faded into the background once Christ was ready to begin his public ministry.

“It’s tempting — always tempting — to measure our lives according to our successes,” DeLorenzo said. “But success, it turns out, is not one of the names of God; sacrifice is. … All of that begins by daily sacrifices in small ways, so that when the pivotal moments of our lives come, we are ready to lose — and to lose on purpose — in obedience to the call of Christ. … That is how we claim our Christian identity: through sacrifice — losing on purpose.”

The last video we watched was entitled “Archbishop Noll: A Model for Innovation.” Kyle Hamilton, Our Sunday Visitor’s CEO, explores the life and legacy of OSV’s innovative founder, Archbishop John Francis Noll, who countered the rampant anti-Catholicism of the early 20th century by publishing the first national Catholic newspaper. Hamilton explains how OSV continues to carry on Archbishop Noll’s spirit of innovation more than 100 years after Our Sunday Visitor was first printed.

“Innovation and creative process will go on with or without us,” Hamilton said. “We need to be there to catch it and grow the Church because of it. The pressures today come in many different forms, and we need to understand them so we can reach people where they are with the truth of the Gospel. This is our call to evangelize everyone. On behalf of all of us at OSV, I want you to be a part of this innovation revolution for the Church. We want to walk with you and collaborate with you. Archbishop Noll modeled this for us, and we want to live it out today.”

This Lent, whether you’ve given up Netflix or not, take 15-20 minutes a couple of times a week and watch one of the incredible OSV Talks. After you’ve been challenged and inspired, it will hardly seem like a sacrifice at all.

Scott Warden is managing editor of Our Sunday Visitor.

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