On Wednesday, the Season of Lent began with Ash Wednesday. We have launched Project Compassion and its theme for 2021 is Be More. Caritas undertakes important work both locally and globally to support those communities that are in need. We are invited to make donations that we know will be put to good use and are also a part of our Lenten commitment to prayer, fasting and giving alms. Pope Francis has said that 'Lent is also a privileged time for prayer. Prayer offers us all a very special opportunity to grow in our relationship with God and to deepen our commitment to a way of life, rooted in our baptism. In our busy world, prayer provides us with an opportunity to reflect upon our patterns and sins. We should pray more deeply, experience sorrow for what we've done and failed to do and to be generous to those in need. “Fasting is tied closely to almsgiving.” Pope Francis added, "Fasting makes sense if it really chips away at our security and, as a consequence, benefits someone else if it helps us cultivate the style of the Good Samaritan, who bent down to his brother in need and took care of him."During Lent do you think God needs the chocolate, candy, and other trivial things we give up? No, He needs us to look deep within ourselves and reflect. He wants our hearts. So when you fast, do not proclaim it, do not look hard done by, smile and go about your day happy. We are told this in the Bible. In fact, he wants us to stop our obsession with the ME and start thinking about what truly matters in life.”
Perhaps we could consider that we need to fast from anger and hatred and be more patient and understanding. Fast from judging others and think kindly thoughts. Fast from discouragement and be full of hope. Fast from complaining and focus on gratitude. Fast from resentment or bitterness and turn to forgiveness.
We need the Season of Lent if we are to live in imitation of Christ, to be Christians. We need to work out for ourselves what it is in our lives that needs to die, to be no longer part of our lives, that which makes us candidates to receive the forgiveness that Jesus gained for us when He died on Good Friday. If we are able to achieve this, to sweep out the negatives, then Easter will not be a shallow celebration but one full of meaning, for we will be totally aware of the new birth as stated in the Resurrection of Jesus.
The Season of Lent is a time to review the past, admit to our shortcomings, reaffirm our commitment to the higher values that we had actually lived, and prepare ourselves to try harder in the year ahead. It is a time to acknowledge our less than best choices and to feel sorry for the lost opportunities; it is a time to have a clean room to offer the new life of Easter.
I encourage all our community members to support the Lenten Appeal in whatever way they can.