The 40 days of Lent are upon us. Preface II for Lent tells us, “For you have given your children a sacred time for the renewing and purifying of our hearts…to hold rather to the things that eternally endure”. The previous translation called it a “happy time” [in the Koine Greek of the New Testament “Blessed” can = happy]. So renewal…sometimes I think this is a bit like the carpenter’s hammer, “I’ve had the same hammer all my life, it’s had three new heads and seven handles over the years but it is still the same hammer!” We too are offered the grace to renew ourselves. When a bit of our spiritual life is wonky we can spend this privileged time fixing it.
We are also given three specialist tools to help us do this. Prayer, Fasting and Abstinence. Prayer is our daily regular conversation with God, especially the best part of any conversation, the listening! Fasting is not spiritual dieting but for me it is a discipline of contingency that speaks to my soul the issues facing God’s creation such as a fifth of the world living in hunger-poverty. Abstinence is partly based on the adage “absence makes the heart grow fonder” we give stuff up for Lent. Meat on Fridays, chocolate, alcohol whatever so that when the return to our lives we relish them as God’s gift to us. Also perhaps we can work on abstaining from getting our own way all the time at work or trying to score points over friends or siblings etc., or abstain from doing that little thing that you know annoys whomso-ever!
So enjoy Lent, do your spiritual spring cleaning, burnish your soul so that it will be more able to fully reflect the resurrection light of Easter glory when it shines.
God bless you, your families, and the week ahead.
Fr. Aidan Peter, CJ