Pre-Lenten Questions

Believe it or not, but Lent is just around the corner!
And I don’t even have my Christmas tree down yet!

Lent is this great period of time where we rid our lives of all the unnecessary attachments that we clutter our lives with and focus more closely on our relationship with the Lord. It should be a time of simplification and purification. It should be a time of prayer, almsgiving and fasting. It should be a time of generosity, love and charity. It should be a time of sober self-reflection.

It should be a lot of things.

What will it be?

That’s up to me.

What am I going to put into it?

God gives us grace all the time. The thing is we have to respond to that grace which is offered. It is too easy to put something off for tomorrow or rationalize our way into spiritual laxity. We can justify all kinds of neglects and omissions, particularly when it comes to our own spiritual lives, because we don’t see that as being harmful to anyone. Then, we arrive at Easter, look back at our Lent and perhaps wish that we had spent more time in prayer, or done a few more acts of charity.

What is the main reason for a mediocre Lent? Poor planning. We need to set our goals in mind NOW and work NOW to make sure that we have a rhythm to our season. Praying is most consistent if you set aside a certain time and place — every day — when and where you pray. Lent needs to be for us not some onerous thing which we take upon ourselves for 40 days. Lent shouldn’t be seen as a kind of self-imposed slavery, but as a practicing in the life which we hope to have one day in Christ. A life where we are prayerful and loving of our brothers and sisters. A life where we truly live out the Gospel. God didn’t make us for slavery, and doing things which are pleasing to Him shouldn’t be seen as such. It’s just our sinful selves which distort the truth of reality and make us to see our unhealthy attachments as the path to happiness, when they are in fact leading us in the opposite direction.

So, my challenge to myself, and to you, if you choose to join me, is to map out our plan for Lent, so that we can reap all the graces our Lord is offering to us.

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