The Gift of Lent
As the season of Lent approaches, it presents a difficult time for me, as I discern what it is I could add or take away that won’t be too inconvenient. It’s a temptation that most of us face in our daily walk with Christ. We want to follow Christ but we don’t want to do anything that would be inconvenient. Instead of seeing the gift of Lent we see it as a burden on our comfortable lives.
Resolving to add more prayer time, fast from a favorite food, spend time feeding the hungry, participating in a mission, some other form of apostolate, attending a retreat or other formative event offered during Lent, seems like an imposition on our already busy schedules.
Lent is an opportunity for us to examine what it is we are busy doing? If we are busy with things that keep us from doing more for Christ, then we need to reexamine the use of our time. Therefore, Lent is not a burden, but a gift. The question we need to ask ourselves is, how am I going to use this gift?
Often, we make resolutions for Lent and a few weeks in, we find ourselves failing miserably. Feelings of despair can set in. Satan is waiting for this time so he can tempt us to give up. As Veronica Touhey reminded us in her presentation on Apostolate during the last RC Spirituality session, we need to spend time contemplating how God sees us, as His beloved child. He knows we will fall, He knows our weaknesses and He loves us anyway. There is nothing we can do to earn or lose His love.
I propose that whatever specific resolution we make this Lent we end our day with an examination of conscience that includes these two questions:
What have I done today that was pleasing to God the Father?
What can I do better tomorrow?
It’s time for us to take an honest look at how we are living our faith. There are numerous opportunities in our parish, through the events sponsored by Regnum Christi and in our Diocese to offer prayer, fasting and almsgiving. This is part of the gift of Lent, that our Catholic community makes it easy for us to live out our resolutions.
On Ash Wednesday, in February 2016 our Regnum Christi daily meditation included this reminder:
As we begin the Lenten season, we are reminded of the need to make reparation for our sins and be reconciled with God. Any attempt to build a spiritual life that neglects the pillars of prayer, fasting and almsgiving is building on sand. Prayer purifies our intentions and relates all we do to God. Fasting detaches us from our comfort and from ourselves. Almsgiving reflects our brotherhood with the poor of Jesus’ family and reminds us that our true wealth is not in things, but in the love of God. We all need to do a reality check on our spiritual lives to make sure we are committed to prayer, fasting and almsgiving. http://www.regnumchristi.org/en/february-10-2016-fasting-almsgiving/
Another gift of Lent is the opportunity to make reparation for the sins of others. This way we accompany Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane when he took on the sins of others. Leading up to Ash Wednesday, especially Tuesday, is a day when many partake in immoral behaviour. So even before Lent begins we are given an opportunity to offer prayers and fasting to make up for the sins committed during this time.
Here is the excerpt from the Regnum Christi Member Handbook;
In the life of the sections, in addition to those objectives of a spiritual and apostolic nature the Movement offers a series of customs and traditions with which she desires to enrich the spiritual formation of her members, their sense of Church, their participation in the liturgy, and their very lives together.
The period of Lent, which prepares and disposes them to celebrate the Paschal Mystery of the Death and Resurrection of Christ.
The section lives the three days prior to Ash Wednesday-the so-called days of Carnival-with a special sense of personal austerity and reparation to the Sacred Heart of Christ.
About the Author:
Since having earned a certificate in a writer’s program “Breaking into Print” in 2012, Tima has been writing for Faith Catholic and a blog at https://timaborges.wordpress.com. Living out her vocation as a wife, mother, and writer. Tima is a full-time home-schooling mom of four boys. A few years ago, Tima rediscovered a love for her Catholic roots and a calling to serve Christ through her vocation to the Regnum Christi movement. She is now very active in her mission to be a light of hope for others while continuing to grow in knowledge and virtue. She works with engaged couples preparing for marriage, and assists with coordinating faith-based events for women and families through Regnum Christi Ontario. She has occasionally been invited to speak at such events, sharing her powerful testimony of God working in her life.