Today is the beginning of the Lenten Season. Something I think that is quite misunderstood outside the Catholic church and a few other denominations that celebrate it. Even I, attending a Presbyterian church while growing up, was under the assumption that simply giving up something .. fasting from something I enjoyed was all it was about.
I attended St. Micheal’s Parish Ash Wednesday Mass this morning and during the sermon I came to realize that Lent isn’t about cutting chocolate or food or technology or “fill in the blank” out of your life until Easter. But it is about the realization of the sacrifice and atonement that Jesus made for us. Fasting is only one part of the celebration of Lent.
Coming to God with whole heart, all spirit, complete mind. Realizing in the next 40ish days (Sundays do not count during Lent) that offering yourself to God as a whole living sacrifice for his will in your life, that is what Lent is about.
Lent is about forgiveness. It’s about how Jesus, in one death and resurrection, removed our sins, gave us eternal life and sacrificed all he was/is for us. Lent is about forgiving those who have done wrong to us. It’s about extending that love that only God can provide to those we have a hard time loving and forgiving. It’s a struggle for us as humans to understand and comprehend slow anger and rich love. But that is exactly the purpose of Jesus.
Lent is about removing distraction from our lives that blocks a relationship with God. Lent is about diving head first into the word and understanding that God doesn’t want part of us, he wants ALL of us. Every part of our being
Lent is about becoming the follower of Jesus that we were meant to be. By participating in sacrifice, fasting, love, reading, teaching, praying and discipling.
This season of Lent, I am convicted that I am to let go of my human weaknesses. Not be convicted to giving up something, but be convicted to take on the cloak of Jesus. Live my life so that others can see him. Witness that his loving sacrifice was not in vain. And show that through his word, any and all can come to the foot of Christ and be saved.
In some prayer and meditation materials that I received at Mass this morning, it talks about repentance and forgiveness. One highlighted quote is “When we repent, we learn how to forgive.” I hope this Lenten season is one of repentance and forgiveness. One of peace learning, and one of love.