Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Examining the Purpose of Lent

The beginning of Lent, is one week away. We will be hearing more about penance, fasting, abstaining, etc. People will be talking about what they are "giving up" and when they "are allowed" to do this or that.

It can be easy to lose sight of the real meaning of Lent if the focus is solely on rules or on penitential acts and not on the interior transformation that the Church intends to guide us to and that God is calling us to.

Christians are called to be transformed and conformed more closely to Jesus. We are called to a conversion that is constant and continuous. Lent presents an opportunity to more closely examine our commitment to this conversion and to reorient our lives in a more Christ-like manner.

Rightly ordered though, it is the interior which prompts the exterior. This means that our Lenten practices should be internally motivated. This internal desire to become more like Jesus finds meaningful expression in outward signs and actions. These outward signs and actions in turn call us to an even deeper exploration of the meaning of the Christian life, increasing our desire to become more like Jesus, and so on, and so on.

To become more like Jesus should be our goal during Lent. Observing its practices with an understanding heart truly open to that end can help to shape and transform our lives and thus "the world."

In the coming weeks I will write more about the Lenten journey and hope to encourage you along the way.

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