Every Lent is a new beginning. Sometimes new beginnings are welcomed, other times not so much! We welcome Lent as a time to make our faith fresh, but we know from other Lents that it’s hard to keep going, and it’s for a long time! We might ask ourselves what Lent is really for.
The focus of Lent is not so much on what we give up but on what we have been given. We focus our minds on the self-giving love of Jesus which we will celebrate in Holy Week. We allow ourselves to believe in this love. Often it’s difficult to believe in the tender love of God. This conquers all else in the world; it is given in the mercy and compassion of God.
Lent reminds us of the grace of forgiveness into our world, a grace we need individually and as a people. We need to know that God is bigger than any of our sins, our faults, our failings; greater than every war and violence and hatred that disfigure our world. Every time we pray the Lord’s Prayer we pray that God’s kingdom may become a reality in our own time. Lent is our time of saying ‘yes’ to a partnership with God in building a more caring, just and equal world. Maybe we need to ask ourselves what our Lent does for others rather than just what we are doing for Lent. If Lent is truly a time of renewal, then it will manifest itself in acts of love and forgiveness and a heartfelt compassion and care for others.
© Donal Neary SJ www.messenger.ie