Friday, February 6, 2015

OH NO!!! Lent is less than 2 weeks away.

You know its not Christmas any more, the priest has gone back to his green cloths and you are settling into ordinary time.  Then it his you lent starts in less than two weeks and it has crept up on you.  But fear not, there is still plenty of time for you to prepare and get ready. 

"What are you doing for Lent?” he asks me. Or the more prevalent “What are you giving up for Lent this year?” As innocent as these questions seem, I find them problematic for several reasons. The motivations behind the asker may be only curiosity, but often times it goes beyond that. The asker may be soliciting at response so that they can compare their sacrifice to God to mine and see “who God will be more pleased with”. Other times they are just asking so they can tell me what they are planning to. “Oh, that’s great you’re doing that, let me tell you what I am going to do.” Neither of these things helps us do what the real mission of Lent is. 

The Church sets aside a large chunk of the year so that we might grow closer to God through penance, sacrifice and almsgiving. Whether this is through sacrifice or through giving more of one’s self doesn’t matter. Less important is the means of which someone else is trying to accomplish this same thing. This is true in the fact that what fits one person’s spirituality and is bad for someone else’s. You are only drinking water for the entire 40 days, that’s great. If I don’t drink some kind of juice in the morning to give my blood sugar a boost I get a headache and am cranky the rest of the day. That won’t help me or anyone else. Your doing the Rosary everyday for Lent, that’s great. Someone else finds the Rosary repetitive and gets easily distracted, they prefers the Divine Mercy Chaplet. That is better for them. 

My point is that Lent is not a time to show off or put our piety on display for others to marvel at. It is a time to renew our relationship with God through self-giving in thanksgiving for the actions Christ accomplished in the cross through the means that do that best for our self. Maybe your Lent is doing nothing external, but taking a long hard look at your internal self and seeing what can be improved, then doing it, that’s great too. 

So, when some one asks me this year what I am doing for Lent, I will tell them “Taking these 40 days to drawn closer to Jesus Christ in the way that works for me and by imitating his love for others in my everyday life.” Hope you have a good fruitful Lenten Journey