Updated: Aug 17, 2022
Lent began on Wednesday, March 2. Any observance that draws millions of people of many Christian religions to church in the middle of their workweek possesses a unique power. What chord does it strike within us? We are reminded, somberly and bluntly, of our common humanity. "Remember, you are dust and to dust you shall return." Hearing those words and having ashes smeared on one's forehead does give one pause. That is exactly the response the ritual is supposed to elicit from us. God gives us a time out. We are asked to stop right in the middle of our busy week, in the middle of our busy lives, to reflect if the direction we are heading will ultimately help us become the person we were created to be.
"Turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospel, " is another reminder we might hear as we receive the ashes. Remember, God is not expecting perfection from us. Our only task is to be our truest selves. To aid us in our Lenten journey, we are given three aids: prayer, fasting and alms giving.
Lent is not about adding more, more and more practices to our lives. How about this Lent in our prayer, we listen more and talk less? God might have something say to us. Fasting can be so much more than giving up certain foods during Lent. Fasting can be a positive experience if we also refrain from words, actions or things that keep us from being our best selves. Alms-giving pulls us out of ourselves to focus on the needs of others. Giving ourselves as well as our money to work for social justice is another way to practice charity.
Wishing everyone a Lent full of growth.