So what are you sacrificing this Lenten season? Chocolates? But secretly you want to just lose weight. Internet? But you argue with yourself the reality that you can’t get your homework done without it? Text messaging? But then you give the excuse that your social life may deteriorate with that option. So what then do you sacrifice? Does it make sense to still do in our fast-paced, demanding world? In this Lenten season, it is important to highlight that the Lenten season draws us to reflection, prayer and reconciliation to prepare our hearts for the sacrificial love of Jesus seen in the weeks to come.
Lent comes from the Middle English word Lenten, meaning springtime-the time of lengthening of days. Early Christians would use this certain period of fasting and prayer to prepare themselves for their baptism on Easter Sunday. In modern times, the Catholic Church has extended it to forty days with reference from Jesus’ experience of temptation in the desert.
Lent begins with Ash Wednesday, in where individuals go to church to have the cross signed on their foreheads, and be reminded that they were made from dust, and to dust they shall return. This act is a call to humility and a proclamation of Catholics of their sincere desire of reconciliation with God.
The Catholic Church provides guidelines to Catholics with regard to sacrificing for lent. For one they have appointed days of fasting and abstinence from meat. “Fasting means to limit food to one full meal a day with the possibility of two smaller meals (not adding up to a full meal) as needed. Abstinence means not eating meat, although fish is allowed.” (http://www.aboutcatholics.com/worship/lent_catholic_church/)
The Lenten season ends with the Holy Week, which includes Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Black Saturday and finally Easter Sunday. Sure the aforementioned are familiar labels to days and you know that perhaps your religious mom will make you sit down at some point this season to watch the movie, Passion of Christ, accompanied by regular fish and vegetable dishes. But more than these customs, this Lenten season calls us to put ourselves aside, and in doing so we look to God to be our strength. When our human frailties wish to succumb to the worldly things we love, we find ourselves clinging to God in prayer. We reflect on our lives and how we’ve been living it. Have I been glorifying God with the way I speak? How about the way I act?
What people fail to see that beyond our sacrifices of chocolates, internet, text messaging and the like, Lent is a calling to realize that without God we are nothing, and no matter how reckless we’ve been in our lives, it’s an opportunity to turn back to God. You think you’re on the road to doom and you don’t think you can get out, God provides you an opening for a detour back to Him. Just when you think you’re a lost cause, our journey to Easter Sunday reminds us that our God is a God of second chances. The sacrifice of His only begotten son on the cross is a manifestation that He won our war a long time ago. How can you not respond to that kind of love? It’s not too late. We dare you to move. What are you going to do now?