Our Lenten Journey – Fr. Joe

Depending on how much radio you listen too, you may or may not have heard various
commentators talking about Lent over the airways this year. Some suggested that there
is no need to give up anything, this has been a tough year, we’ve sacrificed enough.
Others have mentioned their preference for doing something extra, rather than giving
something up. One group of children were heard talking about the things they’d do
without and the familiar giving up of sweets, crisps, chocolate and ice cream will have
the local shops in a sweat.
So maybe it’s worth mentioning that Lent happens in the secular world and within the
Christian community at the same time, but in very different ways. For the world at large
Lent can be a positive moment for self-reflection, for thinking more of others and being
aware of people in need. In the faith community, it is all about God! Imagine. But yes,
this is a season rooted in scripture and tradition. God has created us for perfection, we
stumble and fall, lose sight of the one who loves us unconditionally and stray. Lent calls
us back. Back into a loving relationship, into a deeper sense of ourselves and reawakens
our intense need to be at one with our God. Lent renews our Christian hearts.
So, the three Lenten stepping stones in the scripture are, prayer, fasting and alms giving.
The first means we are in communication with God, giving time and energy to the
fundamental relationship with our creator. Fasting turns our hearts and minds inwards,
we quench our cravings, get control of our choices and hunger for what is best and noble
and right. The alms giving comes from the heart, with out stretched hand we find and
feed, clothe and support the poor.
This year we had to set out on the Lenten journey without the support of gathering
together, being marked with the blessed ashes and sharing in common prayer. Yet so
much of Lent is deeply personal that we can make great progress. The wonderful thing
about Lent is each of us makes choices that are right for this moment in our lives, and
the grace and blessings are experienced by other in the community of our family and
friends and by the poor. So, good luck with the days ahead, make a good effort, the
rewards are wonderful.