Lent is upon us. This reflection will appear on the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday. And, as is obligatory, it is about Lent, which, for Christians, has one key: it is a time of preparation for Easter. Not only for its liturgical celebration, but also to reorient the path of our life towards its goal, which will be our Easter, united to the Easter of the Lord. He invites us, therefore, to prepare ourselves throughout our lives for his most decisive moment, which is at the end. It will be an end of passion, death and resurrection: a good end.
We would be wrong to turn “Lent” into “quarantine”, understanding this term as the RAE defines it: “preventive isolation to which people or animals are subjected for a period of time, for sanitary reasons“. Rather than precautions, we Christians understand Lent above all as a time of concentration and training to free our energies for what is essential. To achieve this, three essential exercises are proposed to us:
– Taking care of oneself. This is the territory of fasting. When the experience of deprivation is lived with simplicity of heart, it leads to a rediscovery of God’s gift and an understanding of our reality as creatures in His image and likeness, who find their fullness in Him. The important thing is not a culinary diet. It is more an intensive and intelligent therapy of restriction or elimination of what gets in the way: uncontrolled consumption, saturation of information – true or false -, excess of noise, stress caused by unnecessary haste, lack of control of sleep and rest, solipsistic isolation, harmful addictions, excessive spending…
– Taking care of relationships with others. This is where almsgiving places us. It requires us to get out of ourselves, to get close to others and to do them good. This is impossible without detachment from what binds and enslaves us. More than giving a few coins, it is an interior impulse to give and to give ourselves – the latter being more important -; to get closer and to communicate; to serve those in need; to repair wounds and damage; to be more humble and meek; to practise the art of the sincere smile; to rejoice in seeing others grow; to suffer when others are distressed, lonely, sick, homeless, despised…
– Caring for our relationship with God. Prayer is the third exercise of Lent. We often live too far away from the God of tenderness and, whether we recognise it or not, we are torn by the need for a Father-Mother-Spouse (Three in One) who loves us unconditionally, sustains us, consoles us, and consoles us. Also to set boundaries and guide us on the path of life so we don’t get lost. We are not orphans. We are thirsty for meaning and love. In the recollection and silence of prayer, an inner inspiration and light illuminates the challenges and decisions of our mission.
Juan Carlos cmf