Saturday, March 7, 2009

Thoughts on Lent

Lent is my favorite time of the liturgical year. Just as we must work at our relationships with others: our spouse, our children, our family and friends to help those relationships to grow and blossom, so too, we must work on our relationship with God so it, and as a result, we may grow and blossom as well. Lent is the time the Church gives us to examine our relationship with God and decide what works and what doesn't; what we need to build upon and what we need to discard in order to break those barriers we have put up between our hearts and the heart of the Holy Trinity.

As I prepare children for First Reconciliation I always tell them that God never, ever turns His back on us. No matter what, He is always there, waiting with open arms, just as the father of the Prodigal Son was waiting in the courtyard in Jesus' parable. Sometimes, however, by our actions or probably more often our inaction, by what we say and by what we fail to say we turn our backs on God. Lent is the time to turn back and fall into the loving arms of a God who wants nothing more than to enfold us in a freely flowing love that asks nothing more of us than that we love in return.

Jesus showed us how. Born a man, he walked this earth in human flesh: he knew temptation, he knew fatigue, he knew sorrow and, he knew pain. Above all, though, he knew and was certain of the unfailing love of Abba, his Father. How certain are we of God's unfailing love? Does our certainty show in how we live? Love? Work? Worship?

To be sure, Lent is about fasting, prayer, and almsgiving, not just for the sake of fasting, prayer, and almsgiving; but, for our sake, for the sake of taking stock of ourselves and our relationship with God and moving forward with hope not only to the resurrection of Christ, but to the resurrection of ourselves and our relationship with Him. And, through it all we have each other for encouragement and support. What's not to like about Lent?

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