Lent comes early this year and maybe that's a good thing because with the tsunami disaster our hearts and our minds have been opened to compassion and to an awareness of the fragility of life - and that is a good way to begin Lent.

Lent gives us an opportunity to collect the fragments of our lives and to rebuild. Personal disasters can devastate our lives and leave us empty. At the other end of the scale, we can allow business to fragment us; things get out of control and, let's face it, sometimes church life contributes to this rather than providing an antidote! Either way, we lose that fullness of life for which we were created and redeemed.

We need time and space to allow ourselves to be rebuilt, to regain our lost center. We need the antidote. We need to find renewal in our lives; to find balance; to find God and ourselves.

There are opportunities. You might belong to a parish that has a Lenten retreat or Quiet Day. If not, you will find some other opportunities listed on this page. You might want to ask your own parish to organize a retreat or a Quiet Day.

Saturday February 12 - Quiet Day

Led by the Rev. Don Grayston, St. Catherine's, 2211 Prairie Ave., Port Coquitlam, 9:30 am-3:30 pm. For information phone 604 942-9812.

Friday and Saturday, February 18 and 19 - Lenten Retreat

"Death Means Life" - Time apart to reflect, pray, be still, rest in God. Led by Rev. Wendy Eyre-Gray at Dayspring House of Prayer and Retreat, Sunshine Coast. Dayspring House.

Friday through Saturday March 19 - 26 - Gethsemane Week

"Stay with me, remain here with me, watch and pray" - A Holy Week retreat of deep contemplative silence: meditation, reflection, worship and ritual. Dayspring House.

For rates and registration at Dayspring House of Prayer and Retreat on the Sunshine Coast, call the Rev. Wendy Eyre-Gray, 604-885-3832; e-mail: dayspring@sunshine.net

Friday through Sunday March 11 - 20 - Silent Retreat

"Be Still and Know that I am God," 10-day retreat led by Kathi Bentall and Peter Knowles, Sorrento Centre, $649. For information: 1-866-694-2409.

Saturday, March 12 - Lenten Retreat

Led by Sister Valerie Clark, SSJD, 9:30 am - 3:30 pm, St. Chad's, 3874 Trafalgar St., Vancouver. Please bring a bag lunch. Suggested donation $15. To register or for more information, the Rev'd. Katherine Yeo, (604) 801-0117, or email: kyeo@nwnet.org