Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Keeping a Holy Lent...

Keeping a Holy Lent…

Next week our journey toward the sacred celebrations of Easter begins with Ash Wednesday.  Lent is a journey – a pilgrimage – through the wilderness toward the glory of Easter.  Another way to think of it is as an extended retreat from ‘regular life’ to purify ourselves, shake ourselves awake, and reconnect with our need for a Savior so that we can approach Easter Sunday with awe and wonder, and genuine thanksgiving and gratitude.

We can think of it as joining the Israelites in their ‘wandering’ journey to the Promised Land, learning once again to follow God step by step, day by day, trusting His lead in this journey of life.  Or we can think of it as entering the Ark with Noah, letting the same old patterns of living and sin that have dulled life into an endless, numb routine die away until we ‘land safely’ in the new life of Easter.  Some think of Lent as joining Jesus in the dryness of the wilderness to encounter our own temptations face to face, claiming God’s Word as our strength.  However you think of it, its time for us to prepare for Lent.

The Church guides us along this journey by giving us a discipline.  All Catholics (unless unable due to illness or age) observe Ash Wednesday and Good Friday as days of fasting & abstinence.  On these days we eat no meat, and limit ourselves to one meal, with whatever other nourishment we take those days being less than another meal.  In addition, we abstain from meat on the Fridays of Lent.  By restraining our normal patterns in these ways, we turn our hearts and minds more intently toward God.

In addition, throughout the season of Lent, we choose to practice daily other Prayer, Fasting & Almsgiving.  Sometimes the most spiritually fruitful Lenten practices are overlooked small ways to engage Lent throughout our days.  Fasting from watching our favorite TV shows, or fasting from complaining and replacing them with writing a kind note to friends & family or offering an encouraging word.  Fasting from ‘fast eating’ and instead spending time cooking together and sharing a meal with family.  Our Lent is just days away…how will you and your family set out on the journey toward the new life of Easter?

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