February 25, 2016
Now that we are fully engaged in the holy season of Lent and with the added bonus of this Lent occurring in the Jubilee Year of Mercy, we may want to take a moment to examine just what we are doing to prepare ourselves for Easter. While we are at it, we might want to ask ourselves if what we are doing has made a difference in our lives both spiritually and morally.
The spiritual aspect would reveal to us that if what we are doing has made a true difference, we would find ourselves wanting to pray more, either in Church before Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament or elsewhere. We can take a few minutes to thank the Lord for His blessings or ask Him for strength to do what is right or ask Him to forgive us for our lack of faith and trust in a certain situation. The moral aspect would reveal to us if what we are doing has made a true difference, we find ourselves better able to resist the temptations to sin, we find that we can discern better what is morally good from what is morally evil, and whether or not our words and actions each day are setting a good example for others.
This is the intent of what the Church refers to as the “discipline of Lent.” The traditional practices of prayer, good works and penance are meant to rid us of the obstacles we have allowed into our lives to being better and holier persons. Each of us knows from personal experience that we exercise these Lenten practices in the ways we are able. We also know from personal experience that it is never easy to persevere in these practices, but it is never impossible to stick with them. We know that when we do them we have a real and tangible sense that we have made some progress in being good and holy persons.
If we are really serious about observing Lent both for our own spiritual and temporal good, as well as helping others do this, God blesses all of our sincere efforts with His actual grace. God neither asks nor expects the impossible of us. What He does ask and expect of us is an undivided heart. He asks that we love Him unconditionally and first, last and always; this is precisely the way in which He loves us!
If our Lenten efforts have begun to slip or even stop, do not let this happen! Get back on track by going to confession and Mass and be recharged in faith, hope and charity. The only way we can become the saints God has created us to be is to follow Him. Jesus has reminded us that that no one can come to the Father except through Him because He is the Way, and the Truth, and the Life. The Way is the Cross, the Truth is we need Him, and the Life is heaven. Let us use this holy time of Lent wisely and well.
Let us be ready to see and embrace Him with the joy of being saved on Easter Sunday!