With the celebration of Ash Wednesday, we begin a new Lenten journey that spans 40 days and leads us to the joy of the Lord’s Passover to the victory of life over death. Lent is a time of conversion, a time to change the route of our hearts, to leave our selfishness, which closes in on ourselves, and to turn to the love of God and our brothers.
Just as Jesus was led by the Holy Spirit into the desert (cf. Mt 4,1), this liturgical time wants to put us in an attitude of concrete revision of life through prayer, fasting and the exercise of charity, so that we become sensitive to the call of that same Spirit, who wants to take us into the desert to speak to our hearts (cf. 2: 2,1).
The prayer should throw us in God, in His unconditional love for each of us because He loves us as we are, so do not want to leave us as we are. He wants to make us better, freer and happier. However, only with a praying heart, in constant dialogue with the Great Friend, will we be able to hear His voice and accept His will.
Illustrative photo: Wesley Almeida / cancaonova.com
The benefits of fasting
The practice of fasting wants to bring us back to balance. Often, with the rush of our lives, imbalances take us to the point where we no longer control anything and live driven by our most instinctive desires and impulses. The Holy Fathers of the Church already taught that those who cannot control their mouths do not control anything else in their lives. Fasting is the effective weapon to tell our most primitive wills that they have a place in our life and not control of it.
The exercise of charity reminds us that, in addition to us, our lives and our problems, there are brothers, their lives and their need. In an individualistic society, the exercise of charity makes us go beyond ourselves, overcoming our indifference and reaching out to the other not only to give him something material, but, above all, to give something of ourselves, our lives, from our hearts.
If we dedicate ourselves, during these forty days of resumption, to living the Lenten practices in a coherent, assiduous and concrete way, we can – at the end of this time – celebrate the Easter of the Lord in a totally renewed way.
:: Make your Lenten Retreat!
:: The Holy Spirit puts us into the heart of God
:: Lenten exercises of conversion
:: Make time for God’s time!
So we want to leave a suggestion for this year’s Lent: add something to your life instead of taking something away. As well? Give God more time in your day, even if it’s a little, but give it to Him. Instead of just stopping to eat things, eat those that you don’t like so much or even those that you should eat – even by medical order – , but it doesn’t. Also, instead of just giving alms to the poor, give them a little bit of yourself. Add forgiveness, love, solidarity, patience and so many other virtues to your life.
Let yourself be led by the Holy Spirit and live your Lent in a new way, so that, at Easter, when you sing “Hallelujah”, you can truly be a new man, a new woman.