Hallelujah, it’s Lent! (OK, forgot to bury the alleluia last night.)
Excuse me if I’m excited, because I know part of the tradition is sackcloth and ashes, sorrow and repentance, fasting and more fasting. But oh, isn’t it wonderful to have a justifiable opportunity, an excuse, if you will, to take time out from the world, simplify a bit, and focus on what’s most important in our lives?
Today’s Ash Wednesday ritual is one of our most powerful, which I’m sure contributes to its popularity for Catholics worldwide. That bold smudge of a cross on our foreheads reminds us of our unshakeable humanness and efforts at conversion. It signals a willingness to be sealed with the sign of the divine, a mark of ascent, descent, and transformation rolled into one.
This lenten battle cry of conversion pushes us to examine where we stand in our relationship with God and others, and reflect on how that can change and grow. It’s a no-holds-barred invitation to step into the desert experience and face the demons in our lives without the trappings of the world to buffer us.
Fasting, prayer, almsgiving—these three traditional lenten practices all offer a means to make changes, either subtle or large, in ourselves. Whether we choose to focus on one or on all three, don’t miss the opportunity to grow in faith and spirituality this Lent.
What’s on your agenda this Lent that will help you grow in your faith and love for God?
Photo: Shutterstock/Mike Truchon