Let Love Make Your Lent Better

Clergy Corner by Fr. Ray

Every year, we go through the season of Lent.  As far as we all remember, it always begins on Ash Wednesday.

 

On this day, we impose ashes on our foreheads as a sign of our willingness to answer the call to repentance and conversion of life, and not only because we want to remember that we are dust and unto dust we shall return. There is no use remembering that we are dust and that someday we will return to dust without turning away from sin and believing in the Gospel. Our bodies decay but we are more than just bodies. We are embodied spirits. When breath is snatched away from us, our bodies return to dust but our spirits live on. However, this does not mean that we are imprisoned by our bodies. On the contrary, our bodies, though they are dust in origin, are the means for our spirits to touch eternity. Our spirits long for God, our bodies turn to Him.

 

But our bodies can also turn away from God. We sin, thus we need to train our bodies to do good and hate evil.  Our Lenten discipline of prayer, fasting and almsgiving are means to focus ourselves only on what is truly essential for our spirits, thereby making our bodies turn away from sin and cling to God.  But sometimes, our  discipline can be punishing. It is love that makes our  Lenten discipline count.

 

We should not simply pray, fast and give alms; we must pray with love, fast with love, and give with love. If we do so, then we will pray even for our enemies, we will fast but not keep for ourselves what we save from our fasting, and we will not only give to the grateful, but we will not give only from our surplus. Love will make our prayer, our sacrifice, and our works of mercy truly      life-giving. And that is the whole point of Lent.

 

Lent is springtime in the Church, it is not about punishing ourselves because we realize how bad and sinful we are.  Lent is about realizing that sinners though we are, God loves us more than we know, and so we strive to grow in and through that love until we become more and more like Him, who Himself is love. Lent is springtime in the Church because it is about life that comes from loving and about loving that gives life. So as we take the first step in the 40-day journey ahead of us, may we do so much with love. But it is not perfect love but love being perfect.

 

Tags: Fr. Ray, Clergy Corner
 

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