He will renew your strength, and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring whose water never fails. (from Saturday's first reading)
Reflection for Saturday: Lent is springtime for the soul
Did you know? The word "Lent" comes from the old Teutonic English, "lencten," which means "spring." The Church of that period (Anglo-Saxin) connected it to the Latin term quadragesima (in Spanish "cuaresma"), meaning the "fortieth day". Did you notice that "Lent" means "40 days" but there are actually 46 days between Ash Wednesday and Holy Saturday? This is because every Sunday of the year is a celebration of Easter. Even Passion Sunday.
After I became Catholic in 1977, I began to think of Lent as a harsh, difficult period that drags on and on, because it focuses on fasting and examining our consciences for sins from which we need to repent. But I now believe that Jesus wants us to have a more joyful mindset about it!
We're actually supposed to enjoy repentance, because it means growing closer to Christ. It opens us to experience more completely our life in the Holy Spirit. Sure, purification is not easy. It's a wrestling match between us and God. And God, who is far, far stronger than we are, lets us win if we really want to win. But do we really, really, truly want to win? The presence of Christ within us says no, what we really do want is the freedom to be who we truly are as baptized children of the Father: holy, beautiful gems.
Lent is supposed to be a season of faith-growth, and that's an excellent reason to be joyful about repentance. Facing our sins is the only way to overcome them. And facing our sins is a lot easier when we stop picturing God as a punisher who is wagging his parental finger at us in disgust. The devil knows our name but calls us by our sins. He is the awful accuser. God knows our sins but calls us by our name. He is the wonderful believer in our goodness (because he put that goodness into us, duh!), so let's allow this year's season of Lent be one of renewed strength. Let's be like a garden watered by a spring that never fails to renew us.
It's not too late to join GNM's Lenten faith community!
Who in your life is away from the Church or away from Jesus completely? Think, right now, about how much you care, really care, about the condition of their soul. What if there is something you could do this Lent that makes a difference for their soul? There is! Sign up for our new (temporary, only for this season of Lent) elist, called the Lenten faith community.
Jesus gave his all, even to the point of horrific sufferings, to make a difference in your soul. How much are you willing to do, with Jesus, to change the lives of others, carrying them with your love away from the path of destruction to the healing of Christ and the glory of Heaven? What are you willing to sacrifice for them? Are you willing to sacrifice for them? How about a sacrifice of prayer?
Join GNM's Lenten faith community. Sign up now! Beginning on Ash Wednesday, GNM's daily Lenten email will include:
1. Daily offering of sufferings and service: a prayer for you to adapt as best befits your circumstances.
2. Rosary of Liberation: a prayer that began in Brazil and is spreading fast around the world due to its amazing effectiveness. It's based on, "What Jesus sets free is free indeed!" You will choose someone to pray for throughout Lent, or a different person or cause each day, to pray for their escape from whatever is holding them back from coming fully alive in true faith.
3. Praise reports: share with the rest of this Lenten faith community what happens as a result of your sacrifice of prayer. We will build each other's faith, thus strengthening the effectiveness of all our prayers.