Lent.... 'What will you give up' ?
Today, the church celebrated Ashe Wednesday and the start of our Lenten journey. It seems like only yesterday (and for me it was) that we stored away the last of the Christmas decorations. Now today, we begin to consider and contemplate what we will be ‘giving up’! For many, it is the same each year sweets, alcohol, TV, attending Mass more regularly or helping out more around the house. Whatever the choice, self-denial is difficult and many good intentions will die the same death as our New Year’s resolutions!
One way we can be successful in keeping our fast is to understand the purpose and goal of our behavior. When we make sacrifices we are seeking to achieve and/or gain something. One example that comes to mind is a parent working two jobs so that they can send their children to private schools. Another, is someone who spends time each day at the gym in order to maintain good health and the perfect weight. Whatever the sacrifice it will hurt and demand something from us if we are to reap any rewards.
Now, let’s us consider the purpose and goal of Lent and what we are seeking to accomplish in the next 40 days. First, we need to ‘remember’that Jesus took our place on Calvary and gave His life so that we might live. Second, we are asked ‘to return’ to God recognizing our need for mercy and forgiveness for the times we have not loved Him, others and ourselves well. Thirdly, we are called ‘to change’ the indifference that dwells in our hearts so that we can see and respond to the needs of others with the gifts and resources we have been given. Lastly, we need ‘to prepare’ ourselves in order to celebrate the greatest Feast of all; Easter and the Resurrection of Jesus Christ!
When we remember, return, change and prepare we will reap a joy the world has never known and will experience a peace that surpasses all understanding. The joy of the Lord will become our strength in times of weakness and His peace will give us the courage to remain faithful despite our circumstances. We will receive the gift of everlasting life and one day see God face to face and be re-untied with those who have gone before us.Therefore, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9.
So my friends .....What are you giving up for Lent?