As lent grows near we are increasingly reminded of the importance of penance through fasting, prayer and giving to the poor; we reflect on the great sadness of the death of our Lord, His burial – and the joy of His resurrection. Denying oneself other luxuries for lent remind us of those less fortunate than we are, and the humility of Christ – nowadays many make a token sacrifice, others something much larger. I quite like the idea of giving up those expensive coffee chain drinks for 40 days and using the money saved for a worthy cause, there are so many ways one can become more like God by taking steps towards selflessness, no matter how small those steps may be.
Similarly with prayer – the more we pray, the more we want to pray and the easier it becomes; in contrast, the more we sin the easier it is for passions to grab hold of us by the neck and spiritually strangle us.
But why limit our sacrifices and personal reforms to Lent? Each Friday of the year commemorates the crucification of Christ, and each Wednesday His betrayal by Judas; Christians of many denominations abstain from meat then for this reason, others pray more or participate in a liturgy. However you choose to better yourself and your relationship with God – make it count and make it last.
From a personal perspective, I have grown to frequently examine myself, my actions, my words – over the years many of them have not been gracious. Even now I indulge in political conversations using quite matter-of-fact language that causes upset or embarrassment in those I debate with. It’s one of my many flaws.
Who am I, an imperfect wannabe-servant of God to criticise or shame anyone else for their shortfallings while allowing my own to flourish like a great oak tree in my eye? I am nobody.
So, this work in progress is about to get a kick up the behind – beginning this week spent at the hermitage with my Godmother and spiritual Father and hopefully, I might just come out of the other side of Lent a slightly better person for it.
Examine your conscience always – every time you open your mouth or make one step in any direction and you will find the right path.
God bless you.