Most people see Lent as a means to an end, or to achieve different goals such as a means to reduce weight or starting a new diet exercise and so on. Catholics grapple with the concept of sacrifice and change of habit during Lent. Some times we reluctantly avoid beef or red meat on Fridays. We boast about our loyalty to fasting on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday and seem to easily rise to the challenge of sacrifice during Lent. However, our major problem lies in the fact that we are ignorant of the important goals of Lent and our sacrifices are misguided.
These are the important goals of lent we should keep in mind
Lent should be about living the Gospel in our daily lives
The Gospels are explained as the life, teachings, Passion, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ and to really understand this, It is very important that we must get to the heart of its message, we must examine how Jesus lived. He spent every moment pulling the lost and forgotten back into the fold. Jesus chose the ignorant over the scholars, He sort for the sinners instead of the righteous. He preferred the flawed, instead of the flawless, and the poor over the rich.
In fact, the ministry of Christ was the first Lent. The Good Shepherd urges all of us to follow his approach. In living our lives, we usually push away the unlovable in favor of those more accepting and agreeable, or the poor just to associate ourselves with the high-class individuals. Our attitude must be the same as Jesus.
Lent should activate our sensitivity towards those who need the most attention. The internet and constant new blitz heighten our awareness of global suffering but there are many others who live in need of our help that we know not of.
Lent requires a redefinition of the word “sacrifice.”
As we often assume that the word “sacrifice” means giving something away or denying ourselves something. Lent should also raise our awareness of the things we take for granted because the sacrifice of Jesus Christ makes us realize that what we possess is even more powerful than what we are giving away. The abundant nature of God’s love outweighs sin, selfishness and even death.
Our Lenten sacrifice highlights our free will. Right from the time of creation, God has left us to our own devices to choose our own path. During this season, we must reflect on what we have and what we need to change. We hear how Christians are persecuted in other countries for their faith. In a country where we are free to say and do as we please, are we giving Jesus and those around us all that we truly can?
Lent is a time for spiritual “spring cleaning.”
Make this Lent your new beginning. Just like we long to throw open the windows and clean up our homes of unwanted dirt and dust most especially during the harmattan or winter, Lent urges us to the same. What are those unwanted habits that you would love to get rid of? What are the certain behavioral patterns that make you less than the perfect Christian does?
Answer these questions through reflection and prayer. Older Catholics speak of a type of Lent where music and television were put on hold for the season. Although this practice has faded, we must discover our own peace and quiet during Lent. The only way to reveal the interior life is through silence. Separate from the chaos and surrender to prayer. Put yourself in the presence of God and just talk to Him.
Follow the advice from Blessed Teresa of Calcutta because conversion requires a complete turn in a different direction. Leave the old you behind
“As Lent is the time for greater love, listen to Jesus’ thirst…’Repent and believe’ Jesus tells us. What are we to repent? Our indifference, our hardness of heart. What are we to believe? Jesus thirsts even now, in your heart and in the poor — He knows your weakness. He wants only your love, wants only the chance to love you.” Blessed Teresa of Calcutta.