This past week we began the Season of Lent. Ash Wednesday reminded us that this is a penitential season, a time to remember the brevity of our time here on earth and to each day reflect on how we are living our lives as followers of Jesus Christ. The Season of Lent has a two-fold nature.
The first few weeks the Church gives us readings from Sacred Scripture that speak to us on how to live the moral life. Have we put sin behind us? Have we accepted the forgiveness that comes from God? Have we resolved to change our lives for the better and begun practices that lead us to sanctity? These beginning weeks of Lent are really a time for deep reflection on our lives. The traditional practices of Lent— prayer, fasting and almsgiving - give us the opportunity to forget our own wants and to focus on something other than ourselves. It truly is a time for mortification, a dying to our self. Towards the end of Lent, the Church calls us to reflect more deeply on the Person of Jesus Christ, especially as we begin to enter into His life-giving passion, death and resurrection.
The Paschal Mystery is more than just something that happened to Jesus two thousand years ago. The pattern of dying and rising is the pattern that every human being must live out in order to find freedom from sin and eternal salvation. We human beings don’t much like this dying rising business. As Pope Francis said recently, “Humility necessarily involves humiliations!” Not the kind of motto most of us want to get behind! But it is the essence of Lent.
During this Season of Lent, let us never be afraid to be humble (and be humbled). It is paradoxically the only way to Resurrection—and glory!
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