Ever since we were small kids we have been told that lent is the time to prepare ourselves for the great, climatic, and salvific event of the easter, and it is. To do this, we are given the three foundational actions lived and preached by Jesus- fasting, praying and giving alms. It is In imitation of these actions in our own lives we connect ourselves more and more to Jesus. We begin to transform our own lives and become more and more centered on God and others. This really is the goal of lent, that we conform our lives more closely to that of Jesus’.
We began lent on Ash Wednesday being marked with ashes on our head. These ashes, are the reminder of our mortality as humans- that we are simply mortal beings passing on a journey through earth with the goal of paradise with God. The ashes, marked on our heads with the words, “Remember you are dust and to dust you shall return” are reminders that we are temporary, that our bodies are temporary and not meant for this world. Venerable Fulton Sheen once said “Lenten practices of giving up pleasures are a good reminder that the purpose of life is not pleasure.” Our life is more than pleasures, more than the dust of this earth, more than the temporary things that surround us. Our lives are meant for something greater, something more and that something is the pursuit of Jesus Christ, the author of happiness and creation.
Lent is the season in the church in which we reflect on our own lives so to grow awareness of the depth of Christs divinity. We begin lent acknowledging that we are mortal beings, beings that pass through this journey of life. As we journey through lent we are called to reflect on our human nature, our character and our actions, and to repent all those things which are not Christ-like. We do this so as to become closer to Christ, that our lives may become more like his. We rid ourselves of our filth throughout the forty days and in doing so, we prepare ourselves to understand the amazement, the power of the paschal mystery. That Christ is not limited to death- that there is and always will be a resurrection that follows.
In preparing ourselves for the great mystery of the paschal mystery, we lessen ourselves so that he may become greater, as John 3: 30 says. We become less so that Christ might become more. We repent so that Him, Christ, may shine through our human mortality and raise us up with him as well. We allow ourselves to be free from the sin of this world so that we can be amazed and enter more fully into the unique mystery of the pasch. In preparing ourselves we can enter more fully, spiritually, into the great event of Easter.
Easter is the highest feast in the church, it is a reminder that Christ, in his divinity, is not bound by the earthly realities that we mortal humans face. It is a reminder that Christ, has the power, to break the chains of the darkness of death and to rise again. With this known, lent prepares us so that we can enter into this feast, openly, and fully. Lent transforms our lives and allows us to rise with Christ on the third day.
As we enter into lent, let us continue to pray, to fast, and to give alms. Let the ashes that marked our forehead on Ash Wednesday remain with us throughout these forty days, as a constant reminder of our mortality and that there truly is something greater, something more to life. Let us reflect on our life, and continuously pray, fast, and give to others so that we may be able to transform our lives to that of Christ. Let us use the foundational actions to help us dive into the paschal mystery, and to endure it fully, following in the footprints of Christ, even to the cross.
Have a blessed and meaningful lent.