Live Lent! What does that mean? Is Lent coming up that soon you may ask? Not really, but pre Lent will begin on Valentine’s Day, how fitting, on February 14. Ash Wednesday may or may not change how you celebrate Valentine’s Day, how you honor the beloved in your life whether with a thoughtfully written card, a bouquet of flowers or a nice meal to celebrate the love you share with that person. In a way Valentine’s Day calls to mind celebrating those people we sincerely love and cherish, celebrate the relationship which did or does change your life every day.
Similarly, the church offers us the season of Lent to experience in a new way God’s love for us, not so much by giving up something, but giving ourselves to something, someone or some part of our spiritual lives. It is not a giving up chocolates for six weeks and then going back to a box of chocolates per week after Easter, or giving up going to movies and then resuming movies on Easter Sunday. Rather, Lent is a time to consciously surrender to God. What are we going to do to honor God in a new way? Next, let go of old self-images, let go of those thoughts that say we are not good enough instead we are made in God’s image and likeness, reflecting God’s love to others. We can witness God’s love and care to others regularly by being our best selves. Letting go of false images will allow us to find our true selves.
Lent is not a time of starvation but a time of feasting on all the wonders that God makes available to us: creation, sunrises and sunsets, walks in the evening, or spending time quietly in reflection. You may say, but I’m so busy, I don’t have enough time in my life right now. Then consider joining a small faith sharing group, participate in the Lenten program Live Lent and discover how we can be open to God’s amazing transforming grace. 90 minutes a week for six weeks, that’s all! 90 minutes to pray, reflect, discuss and understand more clearly what we can glean from the Lenten scriptures. There are also thoughtful personal daily reflections for each day of the week. Sign up today and live this Lent, don’t give up, don’t starve yourself, don’t make it more difficult than it is, and most especially, don’t hold back! Each of us can have a more authentic faith after just six short weeks. Try it!
Blessings, Father Larry Hendel