It’s Lent again! So what, it’s going to be the same thing all over again. I will go to Church on the days required (as if I had a choice) and do a bit of fasting (imposed on me by others) and praying and some almsgiving and soon – real soon it will be Easter (wow!). But wait a minute. Can I make this Lent different? I know it is not going to be different unless I make some effort towards that. What can I do to make it different? Maybe I should just for once open myself to “What God wants to give me”. After all He is giving me all the time and I am deaf and blind to His actions.
So I am going to just begin the process of preparation from now – a few days before Ash Wednesday. Anticipation increases the excitement. Yes together with my friends and community I am going to prepare for a good Lenten Season, knowing that it will culminate in Easter and the beautiful season of Spring. All that I need to do is to desire it and focus on it.
How about beginning each day by the edge of our bed (as we look for our slippers) and asking the Lord for the grace to be open to His action in our lives? And then we could also close the day at the edge of our bed, thanking Him for all that has happened during the day gone by (once again in those few moments it takes to get out of our slippers and into bed). This simple pattern (at the start and end of each day) can stir our hearts to look forward to each day of the Lenten season with anticipation and to allow God to change us gradually and gently.
This Lent could also be a time to practice new patterns; new patterns of prayer, eating, generosity, and of life in general. I could, for instance, start giving more time to God in my daily life – a short time for personal prayer, the daily reading of a few verses from the Bible, attending mass with greater attention. The idea is to start something that is good and continue it even after the ‘penitential’ part of the season is over. In the area of eating – I may be able to think of some dietary habits I have that are doing me more harm than good. I need to discipline myself and this Lent could provide me with the perfect opportunity and the good feeling of being more in control of my eating. In the general tenor of my life, too, I can make many changes. Maybe I spend too much time in one particular activity that is not doing anything good for me. Anything that does not contribute to my general well-being (physical, spiritual, emotional, professional) needs to be seriously questioned and in time changed.
The Lord invites me at Lent to “COME BACK” to Him. This return can be in myriads of ways. All that it takes is the first step – which as all of us know is the hardest. Lent can provide each of us with that impetus to get back on track, to ‘return to the Lord’ and to journey to a better more committed life as a Christian. I will surely ‘rise again’ at Easter, if I have taken the journey seriously. And, what can be better than feeling that I have grabbed a wonderful opportunity to grow and be a better person. Conversely, how sad it will be if I ‘miss out’ once again on a chance to make a new start.