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The spiritual healing of Lent

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Iíve heard a few people saying lately, ďThank God, itís almost Lent.Ē I have to laugh, because I couldnít agree more. I am ready for Lent to begin next week. I think many of us are feeling the effects of the lunar calendar on our lives this year which has caused Lent and Easter to be later this spring than we are accustomed.

What do I mean by this? Well I think many of us look forward to Lent as it provides us the time to refocus on our faith and reconcile our lives with Christ. Itís a time for spiritual healing and renewal. When I spend time in prayer, I can recognize times when I have made some poor choices, when Iíve neglected to care for some important relationships in my life, and most significantly, when perhaps I havenít tended to my relationship with Christ the way I should have.

Do I need to wait for Lent to change these things in my life? Could I start today and not wait until March 9 to begin? Absolutely! The goal is that at the end of each day, we all take a moment to examine our day. Where did I encounter joy in my day? Where did I encounter sadness? How did I respond to each? Where did I encounter God in my day? How did I respond to that encounter? If we partake in an exercise like this as a part of our daily prayer, then the idea is that we would be less likely to stray far from God in the first place. This was the practice of St. Ignatius of Loyola and is the practice of the Jesuits and many Christians today.

It is the Churchís central mission and the mission of all the baptized to evangelize in the name of Christ. In order to carry out this mission and ministry we must stay close to Christ through prayer and sacrament. The phrase ďyou canít give what you donít haveĒ has been running through my mind as Iíve typed this blog. As we all carry out the Churchís central mission of evangelization, we must remain rooted in Christ and the Church. We canít fulfill our baptismal vocation if we donít do the hard work of keeping ourselves well formed and informed for the mission.

Iím so grateful that the Church provides us liturgical seasons such as Lent, when we can as a Catholic community gather together to reconcile ourselves to Christ and the Church, to give us strength and hope for the mission ahead.

Comments from readers

Maria Jose Mitsoulis - 03/03/2011 10:15 AM
I agree with Cheryl, Pat, and Bishop Estevez.
Lent is a special time in the Church. Let us be open and listen to what God is saying to each of us through the symbols, the liturgies, and the people in our lives. Let's get ready.
Pat Solenski - 03/01/2011 08:42 AM
As you said, Cheryl, Lent has not surprised us since Ash Wednesday is so much later this year. Some years Ash Wednesday arrives before we have put our Christmas decorations away. But not so this year. However, as a DRE I have been planning for Lent almost since the new year began. Each year as I consider the materials for the boys and girls in the school and the religious education program, I find myself exploring more and more the depth of the season and the potential for change that the season offers. The publishers continue to provide excellent booklets and other materials for young and old. I feel gifted to have the opportunity to review these materials and in the reviewing I am renewed in the spirit of the season not only for myself but for others. I, too, feel grateful to the Church for this liturgical season.
Bishop F. J. Estevez - 02/28/2011 09:04 PM
This article is wonderful in remote preparation for Lent. When we are about to do something important we set in motion many initiatives leading to our goal, Chyril is invitating us to get ready. Today I was reading in the Catechism three paragraphs (538-540) which give an excellent context to the meaning of Lent.
Bishop Felipe J. Estevez

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