I like Lent. Really, I do. Why would I say something so strange?
First of all, almost everybody gets on board to try to make their lives better. Something about a common effort to improve shows us that being Church is a team effort. We challenge each other; we support each other. We are on this journey to Easter together, even on Sundays – no free days allowed. It has been shown that it takes at least 30 consecutive days to make something a habit, a normal way of acting.
Secondly, we make more room in our lives for God. By prayer, fasting and alms we clean out some attitudes that need changing and allow God’s life and grace more freedom in our lives. And, it’s not for just 40 days. We shouldn’t look forward to Easter with a sense of relief that we can go back to our “old selves”. Nor should we take any money we saved by giving up something to buy ourselves a reward at the end of Lent. Where’s the sacrifice if we do that? This is a change for the better that is intended to last a lifetime.
Thirdly, we are reminded during this season how much God wants to forgive and desires reconciliation. God is anxiously waiting for us and reaching out to us in order to give us fullness of life and peace. God spoke Ezekiel, “I do not wish the death of the sinner but his repentance.” And in Isaiah God also speaks, “You need only to turn to me with your whole heart and say, ‘Father’, and I will listen to you as to a holy people.”
And so we begin this sacred journey together, seeking some changes both by giving up some things like selfishness, judgment, and undue criticism and by giving more time to prayer, reading and contemplating Scripture, and working for justice for the marginalized.
Let us begin!