Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Approaching Lent

As we approach the season of Lent, it is important to remember that this season, whilst involving penance, fasting and almsgiving, has its origin and meaning in the preparation for baptism. ‘Lent’ means ‘Spring’; it is a reference to our new birth in Christ, and has the happy effect of drawing our eyes towards the grandeur of creation as nature begins to awaken from its winter hibernation. This ‘new Springtime’, this new life is our annual refreshment in Christ. It is an opportunity to take stock of how closely we follow the Lord, and maybe to ask ourselves some tough questions. What do I put in the way of following Christ? How do I make it difficult for myself to know the Lord, and how do I make it difficult for others to meet him?

Take a moment to look at these difficulties, and prune with care: It does no good to cut off living branches! If the branch is dead, you probably know it already, and are having to carry the extra weight. If it is dead let it go, rise up, and let us be on our way. With fasting and penance, the tools we have for pruning, there can be a tendency toward misery. This misses the point entirely – Lent should make us lighter, more attractive disciples.

One part of every person’s life that always needs to be nourished is prayer. As our lives race forward, always pushing us on to the next event, the next job, the next person, meditation and reflection can be squeezed out all too easily. Whatever you give up for Lent, whatever penance you undertake, do not forget the importance of ‘wasting time with God’.

Please remember to pray for our Catechumens, as they prepare to be joined with the Lord in Baptism.

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