March 5, 2014
By Father William Muench
Lent means nothing without first renewing our faith in Easter.
The Lenten journey begins each year on Ash Wednesday when accept some ashes as a sign of our readiness and dedication to immerse ourselves in the prayer and fasting. These Lenten practices make sense only when we remember Easter – the Resurrection of Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Jesus rises from the dead to new life.
Lent leads us to our own resurrection, our own share in the new life of the Lord.
Lent is about Baptism – our Baptism –that has united us in a unique way with our God. In Baptism, we become members of Christ’s Body, the Mystical Body of Christ. In Baptism, we have been baptized into the death of Jesus so that we can rise again with the Lord, united with Christ in his resurrection to new life. This is a fantastic reality. We are one with our Savior.
Baptism makes each of us one with God. I am united in a special way with Jesus Christ, not just as a follower, not just as a disciple. Baptism changes my life; baptism leads me to new life with the Lord.
As the baptized, our life on this earth is all about discovering our new life – our life in the Lord. Lent – as with Baptism – is all about experiencing a death, a spiritual death, in our effort to find new life in Resurrection. Lent leads to Easter. Our baptism leads to Easter. There we shall all celebrate Christ’s Resurrection and our Resurrection.
For the baptized, each Lent is important so we must do something for Lent, something good, something important. These weeks of Lent make our life better, even change who we are, even change our lives bringing us ever closer to the Lord. Lent is an ongoing process on our journey to the Lord. So, we give up something for Lent and that is good. Each day that something we have given up reminds us that it is Lent, reminds us that this is our way to draw closer and closer to Our God. So, choose well. Do something that will bring you closer to the Lord.
Each of us must make our own choices – more prayer, Scripture reading, daily Mass – whatever it takes to transform our hearts and minds and draw us closer to the Lord. Do it!
Do you remember when we were children – it was usually chocolate that we gave up and, as I remember, it was painful. As I rule I didn’t think about candy so much until I decided to give it up for Lent. I always wanted to cheat – and I did. I could always find a way – an excuse. However, that was a long time ago. Now I must approach Lent as a gift from the Lord. Lent brings weeks – several weeks - to consecrate to the Lord. This is a special time to make my life closer to my God, a special time to live the life of a baptized person.
Is there more? Of course! I have one more suggestion: offer your Lenten program up for someone, someone in need, someone you love, someone in your family or a friend who is in need, maybe someone whose life has been confused, maybe a married couple going through a very difficult time who are possibly going to break up.
How about offering your prayers and Lenten good works up for our Bishop or your pastor or possibly, our Holy Father, Pope Francis?
Pope Francis has meant so much to the new life of our Catholic Church. We should and must pray that he continues to refortify our Church. I am certain he could use our prayers and support.
Pope Francis has already worked several reforms for the Church. His major reform has been a spiritual one – a conversion of hearts and minds – a change of attitudes. He, himself, has been our model – an example of humble prayerful lifestyle with a constant concern for the poor.
What a wonderful way to dedicate our Lent – that Pope Francis will continue to revitalize our Catholic Church.