So again, why Lent?
Doesn’t it seem phony trying to pray more, give more to the poor and abstain from excesses of food or drink or entertainment? Doesn’t it sound like those long-forgotten New Year’s resolutions?
Lent is not about feigning concern either for God, the poor, or our prayer life but a season that the Church offers for communal and individual reflection.
During Lent, we are called to step back just a bit from our daily routines and examine three basic relationships that are central to life, namely relationship with God, others, and the world. This reflection is not meant to be a form either of self-loathing or navel-gazing, but through the mirror of the Gospel readings/liturgies to look at ourselves honestly.
How much of our daily life is focused on Christ? How much time do I give to others and helping the poor? Do I consume too much food, drink, entertainment, and the internet?
Lent not only encourages reflection but action specifically in terms of prayer, fasting, and giving to the poor. Again these actions focus us on the three basic relationships: prayer (relationship with God); fasting (relationship with nature/the world); and alms-giving (relationship with others), We undertake these not to please God or ‘earn salvation’ (which we can never earn!) but to open our hearts, minds, and ears to be more open to the whisperings of God in our life, the cry of nature and the pleas of the poor.
So, this Lent is not about making us feel bad or going through the motions but a chance offered to each of us. Let us use this time for more prayer, self-discipline, and almsgiving.
Mission Doctors needs your prayers and donations as they serve the poor throughout the world. God bless you and have a blessed Lent.
Br. John Kiesler