Traditionally Lent has been used as a season of penitential preparation. In imitation of the forty day ascendant journey of Christ Jesus to Mount Calvary, the faithful often use this time for fasting, penance, repentance, almsgiving, and self-denial. For many this takes the form of giving up certain types of luxuries or things of the world that they have become attached to, such as certain foods, electronics, or forms of entertainment.
I’ve always said that one of the best things about becoming Catholic was discovering Lent. This season, along with all the others on the liturgical calendar, are awesome because they are there to help us to refocus our minds on the most important thing. In particular, what I love most about the forty (plus) days of Lent is that it interrupts my life to afford me the time that I need to reflect upon my life and examine those areas that have become detached from God and need to crucified (die to Him). I also love the commitment to discipline that comes with ‘giving something up’ for the Lenten season. And I’ve often found that after I put down for Lent, I don’t pick it back up after Lent is over.
In recent years what I have begun to do, in addition to ‘giving something up’, is truly imitate Christ Jesus more fully. His journey to Mount Calvary was not giving anything up . Yes, He ‘gave up’ His body to be crucified for our sake, but more than that; what Christ Jesus was doing was giving MORE of Himself – giving ALL of Himself – for the love of His Father and of us.
I think if some of us examine our life we might find that we could be doing more – giving more, and I think that is a satisfying and more outwardly beneficial and sacrificial way to approach the Lenten season; that is, with a loving attitude of give more of yourself than you ever have before. Whether that takes the form of giving more of your time to the ministries of the Church, such as Saint Vincent DePaul, or increasing your offering at Church, or devoting more time to prayer, or committing to going to daily Mass, or whatever, it’s up to the results of your own introspection and what you find there.
I firmly believe that there are always ways that we can all give more, because very few of us give all as Christ Jesus did.
Blessing and Shalom