hurt others and be hurt yourself before Lent starts making sense.
Christmas is for the innocent of heart but Lent is for the spiritually
And we who are spiritually experienced need Lent. If we take the
opportunity that is offered to us, these 40 days of Lent allow us a
fresh start in our relationship with God. It allows us time to get our
minds off career, social life, problems at work, at home---all the
things that distract us---and center ourselves in God. It is a time to
put our wounds, our hurts, our disappointments, our fears, our bit-
terness, and our anger firmly in the context of the almost unbearable revelation of the God who
loves us enough to take the form of a man hanging on a tree.
It’s such a loss to skate over Lent because we are skating over the unimaginable depths of
God’s love. It takes courage to do this, but we need Lent to plunge into those depths to take a
frank look at ourselves, to see the emotional and spiritual barriers which separate us from God.
You know what I am talking about, the kinds of things that sap our energy: the family tensions
about how best to raise the children, the slow subtle cooling in a relationship between two peo-
ple who love each other, the agony of watching someone you love suffer, losing a job or a
home, and the shame and fear that may bring. Whatever it is we have done or experienced,
Joel tells us that God is waiting for us “abounding in steadfast love and relent[ing] from punish-
ing.” Lent allows us the grace to find God lovingly waiting for us at the very center of our lives.
Lent helps us to sort through the emotional and spiritual clutter which keeps us from God. And
that is why the Church emphasizes fasting, almsgiving and prayer as ways to strip down to the
bare essentials. We need the absence of some of our gifts during Lent so that we can experi-
ence more fully the only Gift that really counts...the Gift of Godself. We need Lent to under-
stand what this gift means: namely, that we are God’s adopted sons and daughters, so price-
less that God was willing to go to any length to show us that we are loved, that we have value,
and a purpose in life.
Christmas is the revelation of God’s gift to us in the baby Jesus. Lent is all about the fulfillment
of that Gift, the Gift in action, which is the adult Jesus, who turned our world upside down.
Lent definitely has edge, it’s not comfortable, and it takes fortitude to embrace it—but with it
comes the knowledge and joy of the depths of God’s love—a gift like no other in a world
starved for meaning, for courage, for comfort, for life.
Oh God, during this Lent help us to find the time to be with you in a deeper way through
prayer, to share with you the suffering of your son and those around us through fasting, and to
give back the fruits of what you have given us through almsgiving to the needy. We ask this in
the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.
Parish Life Director