“Lent is about becoming, doing, and changing whatever it is that is blocking the fullness of life in us right now." – Sister Joan Chittester, OSB
As followers of Jesus Christ, we move through a liturgical year that is patterned after Jesus' life. In the season of Advent, we prepare for the celebration of Jesus' birth. In the season of Lent, we prepare for the celebration of Christ's resurrection. Lent is a season of spiritual discipline and preparation. Since the earliest days of the church, Lent has served as a time for "spring cleaning." I know - spring can't come soon enough - but you get my point. This is a season for Christians to get our spiritual lives in order. So, on this first week of Lent, let me ask you this question: How is your spiritual life? On a scale of 1-10 (10 being BFF's with Jesus), how is your spiritual life? How is it with your soul? My guess is that most of you will automatically answer, "fine." "I'm fine." I remind us that Jesus didn't die on the cross so that we could be fine. Instead, he offered up his life so that we might have life - and have it abundantly. Jesus paid the ultimate price so that God's creation (including you & I) could experience a life that is overflowing with joy, peace, patience, kindness, and (of course) love. I'll close with a quote I saw on Facebook this week. As some of you contemplate what to "give up" over the next 40 days, here's some ideas (paraphrased) from Pope Francis.
Do You Want to Fast this Lent? Fast from hurtful words and say only kind words. Fast from sadness and be filled with gratitude. Fast from anger and be filled with patience. Fast from pessimism and be filled with hope. Fast from consumerism and embrace simplicity. Fast from anxiety and be prayerful. Fast from bitterness and fill your hearts with joy.. Fast from selfishness and act with compassion. Fast from grudges and seek reconciliation. Fast from words; take time to be still and listen.
Prayer: Loving God, may this this holy season of Lent be a time of spiritual renewal and not merely superficial deprivation. Help us to experience anew the depths of your love and grace. We recommit ourselves (our heart, soul, mind, and strength) to learning from you and following you every day. - Pastor Caleb