“Turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospel”. This is one of two prayers that is said by a priest, deacon, or lay person when they make the sign of a cross on your forehead with ashes at Ash Wednesday mass. This prayer of made me think about people who are in a state of sin…. Publicly or otherwise…. But more importantly caused me to pause to reflect on the entire Lenten season and ask two questions. A) What is the season of Lent really all about? and B) What is God wanting us to do during this Lenten season anyway? Let us now to tackle these two questions.
The first question asked us, “What is the season of Lent really all about?” The season of Lent begins on Ash Wednesday and lasts 40 days and ends on Holy Thursday with a mass of the Lord’s Supper. The Lenten season commemorates the 40 days that Jesus spent in the desert fasting and praying to God. To imitate Jesus’s 40 days of fasting and prayer the dessert we abstain from ANY meat products (Including foods such as chicken) on Ash Wednesday and all Fridays throughout the season of Lent, along with also having all they want full meatless meal for the entire day on past Wednesday and Good Friday. But, it’s that although season of Lent is really all about? The answer is no. Lent is a time of penance, reflection, prayer and introspection. It is a time for us to take a look at ourselves…a self-evaluation, if you will…and see where we stand spiritually.
The second question asks, “What is God wanting us to do during this Lenten season anyway?” Well, it begins with the introspection mentioned earlier and prayer. That introspection should include us take a look at our past (public and private)….how we have been towards others as well as how we have been towards Jesus. We need to ask ourselves where we are at in our journey this Lenten season….whether we need to improve on anything or not.
Some questions that we might want to ask ourselves in this regard include the following:
How charitable we have been to my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ?
Have I discerned what God is wanting me to do during this Lenten Season?
How faithful have I been toward the Gospel of Jesus Christ, as the prayer that is said on Ash Wednesday Mass I mentioned at the beginning says “Turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospel”?
What do I need to change and/or fix to be more in sync with the Gospel of Christ and my faith?
As the February 2004 edition of Catholic Update states, “As the beginning of Lent, Ash Wednesday calls us to the conversion journey that marks the (Lenten) season. As the Catechumens enter the final stage of their preparation for the Easter Sacraments, we are all called we are all called to walk with them so that we will be prepared to renew our baptismal promises when Easter arrives.” (“History of Ash Wednesday, the Beginning of Catholic Lent” -Catholic Update [February 2004]). Later, that same article also reads that “From the very beginning of Lent, God’s Word calls us to conversion. If we open our ears and hearts to that word, then we are just like the Ninevites not only in their sinfulness, but also in their conversion to the Lord. That, simply put, is the point of Ash Wednesday!” I would like to say that the above quote also applies to Lent as well. Another question we need to ask ourselves in relation to out introspection is this…..how good of an example have I been in my faith and life for others?
Our faith says that we are always called to a constant conversion, and this is especially true during the Lenten season. This demands that we spend time in prayer…whether spending time in prayer in Adoration before the Blessed Sacrament or otherwise, examine ourselves and at the same time discerning a call to conversion….while drawing closer to our faith during this Lenten season.
And that is the Big B Files. Click on the comments link below and let me know what you think . . . . I’m Bryan Hewing.