Lent - 2019
What is Lent?
Lent is our time of preparation. A 40-day journey of prayer, fasting and almsgiving, Lent is a journey that spans Ash Wednesday through Holy Week, culminating in the great celebration of Easter. As Catholics, the spiritual pillars of prayer, fasting and almsgiving guide us in daily reflection on our own lives as we strive to deepen our relationship with God and neighbor—no matter where in the world that neighbor may live.
Lent ultimately leads to Easter—and the hope of the Resurrection. And as Catholics, we are called to share that hope with every member of our global human family.
To view the Good Samaritan: Resurrection reflection, please click here.
Lenten Meditation - Week 1
LENT I: “imagine”
by Andy Alexander, SJ, Maureen McCann Waldron
Just imagine that this Lent is going to be different from every other Lent we have experienced. Imagine that there will be many graces offered us this year. Let us even imagine that God is going to help transform our lives, with greater freedom, greater joy, and deeper desires for love and service.
Preparing our hearts is a process of preparing our desires. This means practicing our sense of anticipation. If we imagine Lent as an "ordeal" or a time to dread in some way, then we have already pre-disposed ourselves to not get very much out of it. These days before Lent are a time to start anticipating something wonderful that is about to happen.
This year’s Lent can be different. It will take an openness to God’s grace, and a deep desire to receive what is being offered to us throughout the season. However, if we do these things, God’s desire for our hearts and our desire for greater union with God will meet. Lent will no longer feel like a burden, but rather a blessing.
Lenten Meditation - Week 2
LENT II: “invited by God”
by Andy Alexander, SJ, Maureen McCann Waldron
Lent is a wonderful season of grace for us when we give ourselves to it. And we give ourselves to it when we want it badly enough. We need to prepare our hearts. We can do so by realizing how much we want to grow in freedom, how much we need to lighten our spirits and experience real joy, and how much some parts of our lives really need changing.
Lent is a season of being invited by God in a deeply personal way. “Come back to me, with all of your heart,” our Lord beckons. “We will,” we respond, but we are not quite ready; our hearts are not prepared. We want to squirm, evade, avoid. We note that our souls are not yet perfect. We may think we are not ready for God to love us.
God wants us to realize that our standards, our ways of judging and loving, are very different from God’s way, and so much smaller. God loves each one of us. For this entire Lenten season, for an entire lifetime, God loves each one of us.
Lenten Meditation - Week 3
LENT III: “second chances”
Have you ever thought of Lent as a yearly second chance? Each year the Church gives us six weeks to take a long, loving look at our lives to see if our values and priorities are in line with God’s desires for us. Since most of us find that we have wandered from God’s path, Lent becomes that second chance, or do-over, to “return to God with our whole heart.”
Whether you have decided to do something new this Lent, or have continued your own traditions, our Lenten practices transform us and imprint on us memories that carry deep meaning. Lent invites us to look into our lives and discover our own powerful and meaningful Lenten moments.
As we journey through this annual second chance, let us remember that each step brings us closer to the welcoming arms of our loving God.
Lenten Meditation - Week 4
LENT IV: “weaving joy”
The fast pace of our lives may seem to leave little time and energy for the traditional Lenten practices. But we can weave moments of spiritual awareness and service into even the busiest of schedules. The trick is to see Lenten practice as part of, rather than in addition to, each activity of our ordinary day.
Giving of ourselves does not have to involve dipping into our wallets. We can give encouragement to the doubting, give a word of praise to the insecure, show kindness to someone who could use a friend, or offer a word of thanks to those whose service of others often goes unappreciated.
We can give the gift of attention to someone who merely wants to be noticed, or simply offer smile, a hug or kind word to others.
So no matter how busy our lives are, with some greater awareness and new perspectives we can consciously pray, fast, and give of ourselves this Lent—and be ready to celebrate when a joyful dawn breaks this Easter morning.