Wednesday, February 22, 2012
Lent is here
The time is now, the Kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news. - Mark 1:15
Today, Ash Wednesday, marks the beginning of Lent. Ash Wednesday gets its name from the practice of placing ashes on the forehead of believers as a sign of repentance and mourning. Ashes were a common sign of mourning in the Bible and are appropriate for this season. While this is an ancient tradition, developed long ago, we can still claim it in new and fresh ways today.
Ash Wednesday reminds us of how small, frail and temporary we are. We live in the shadow of death. This is not a happy thought but it is our reality. Contemplating our mortality can motivate us to live fully for Christ with the time that we have on this earth. We only get one life to live, how fully are you living it?
At a basic level, Lent is a 40 day journey into the wilderness of our souls in order to know ourselves, our faith and our Savior in a deeper and more honest way. We intentionally suppress our hunger for certain foods or activities in order for the deeper hungers to emerge.
This may sound really mystical and strange but consider for a second all that you do in a day. How much of it is to cover what is really going on inside? Do you eat for pleasure and nourishment or to cover a deep sense of inadequacy? Do you get on Facebook to engage in relationship or to cover up feelings of loneliness that really have nothing to do with being alone? Do you not pray because you really don’t have time or because you are frightened by what you might find? These are some heavy questions that may be left unanswered without fasting, praying and having the guts to go to that place.
God wants us to be the best human beings possible. He desires our flourishing and our healing. This involves refining our character in order to reflect God’s image in the world around us. It requires our journeying with him into the deepest and sometimes darkest places. He is not content with the management of symptoms, he wants us to be cured. Lent is designed as a way for the community of God to actively engage in the process of deepening our faith.
If you are ready to be transformed...
If you are ready to deepen your walk...
Begin by practicing Lent for the next 40 days
Scriptures for Consideration and Meditation
Jesus 40 days in the wilderness - Matthew 4:1-11, Mark 1:9-13, Luke 4:1-13
1 Corinthians 9:24-27
40 Ideas for Lent
"40" - A Short Cartoon depicting Jesus 40 days in the wilderness
Video explanation of Lent scriptures by Father Robert Barron