We make grand resolutions during Lent; we’re going to give up ice cream, chocolate, coffee, or the snooze button. When we were children we were told that we would give up candy for Lent and we did. Sunday was always a “free” day so we ate more candy on that day than we normally would have during the whole week. To be quite honest, it was an empty practice for us.
Do any of these intentions help us to repent and return to God? I was away at a workshop a couple weeks ago and Father Anthony Gittins said that “repentance is not about feeling guilty; it is about a change of attitude and action. Lent is about starving the false-self so that the true self can live.” We can do this by:
- Fasting from judging others and feasting on the Christ dwelling within them
- Fasting from words that pollute and feasting on phrases that purify
- Fasting from complaining and feasting on appreciation
Each of us must come to grips with our personal Lenten journey. It is much more than 50days on the calendar; it is an attitude. In her book Awakening to God, Fran Salone-Pelletier says: “Lent can be a time when we fast and remember it is not by bread alone that we live. It is a time to feast on the satisfying presence of God.”
What can we do today to help ourselves learn to hear the voice of God within?
Today’s readings give us both HOPE and PROMISE.
We have no idea what it took Abraham to leave home and follow God’s call. Maybe he was like many people today; perhaps he was an economic migrant or a person fleeing war and persecution. Imagine this old couple travelling without papers, hoping for a future, too old for children, and far away from home. Now in darkness, the promise for a future with many descendants is given.
Paul’s faith was evangelical calling others to love, compassion, and forgiveness. His was an invitation to “join with others”; being a Christian is not a solitary venture, but rather a communal one.
The promise comes to Peter, James, and John on their way to Jerusalem. Their faith experience on the mountain transformed their lives. They experienced Jesus as the one who fulfilled the law. Their faith was deepened: “This is my beloved Son; listen to him.”
How well do we listen with the ears of our hearts?
As we take time to review our lives during this Lenten season in preparation for renewing our baptismal promises at Easter, we might look at how our faith has grown and deepened over the past year.
As we soon move from the Table of the Word to the Table of the Eucharist, may we remember in deep prayer the cardinal electors that they embrace openness to the presence of the Spirit present in their midst and throughout the world.
Let us go forward in hope and filled with God’s promise.