Dearest Brothers and Sisters in Christ:
Lent is a time for us Christians to slow down a little in our fast-paced and often directionless world. It is perhaps a time for us to "fast" from the unnecessary things that easily distract us, to heed Lent as a timely "wake-up" call for our souls or spiritual lives.
During Lent that wake-up call is accompanied by the message that the Lord proclaims through the lips of the prophets: "RETURN TO ME." If we are called to return that implies we have wandered off. Lent becomes a time to rediscover the direction of our lives. As with every journey what really matters is that we not lose sight of the goal - a more perfect life in Christ.
Sometimes during a journey we get distracted and when that happens we don't get far. So we have this time to ask ourselves whether we are seeking the way forward in the journey of life or whether we are satisfied with living in the moment and thinking only of a supposed feeling good and solving problems sometimes and just having fun.
What is the path of our lives? Just searching for health, possession and well being? Those not altogether bad they cannot be just the only focus for us as people of faith.
As believers, the Lord is the goal of our journey in this world. The direction we take must lead to him who is our salvation and our light. We begin Lent with Ash Wednesday when we are marked with ashes that symbolize the many things that preoccupy our thoughts, the worries we chase after each day, the fear that nothing will remain. All these "fade away like dust in the wind." Possessions are temporary, power passes and success wanes. The prevalent culture of appearance persuades us that we are chasing allusions, which can become a great deception. Once ended, only ash remains.
Lent is the time to free ourselves from the illusion of chasing after dust and for rediscovering that we are created for God, not for the world, for eternal life not for earthly deceit; for the freedom of the children of God, not for slavery to things.
Where do I stand? Do I live for fire or for ash? Lent reminds us that prayer reunites us to God; charity binds us to our neighbors, and fasting leads to finding ourselves. So we fix our gaze on him to show us how to live, to fix our focus on Jesus, our life's compass.
Have a blessed Lent!
Fr. Denis +