We are now in the Holy Season of Lent. Lent is about self-sacrifice. It begins Ash Wednesday and goes until Easter where we, as Catholics, celebrate the Paschal Mystery which is the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. Lent has three (3) pillars; Fasting, Prayer & Almsgiving. We are encouraged to fulfill all three during this solemn season.
As Jesus was in constant Prayer for 40 days and nights in the desert, we are to be like him in constant prayer both in season and out of season. Prayer is simply our conversation with God and without prayer we deprive ourselves from talking to God. However, in Lent, we are called to ‘beef up’ our prayer life so that our relationship with God will amplify.
This is where the self-sacrifice takes effect. Jesus lived in the wilderness for a great time without indulging himself in hearty meals. So the question is, if Jesus can sacrifice a hearty meal, why can’t we sacrifice something we most desire? As Christians we have to challenge ourselves to the extreme to be as strong-minded as Christ is. Why not start by giving up something we absolutely love for ONLY 40 days! The bible says, And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. Why not make that effort for our Lord who endured so much more for us! Let us show him our utmost love by giving up something for him. It will pay off in the long run!
When we give alms we are expressing our gratitude for all that God has done for us and all that he continues to do. Coming to a realization of others who are in great need and giving with grateful hearts is an integral way of Christian living. Giving alms should not be carried out only during Lent or Christmas, but is should be second nature for us Christians. Why should we shy away a stranger who is in need of a meal or clothes or even money? The main thing is fulfilling the works of charity all in the name of Love. If almsgiving is something that you want to start doing, let this season of Lent be a beautiful way to kick start your commitment of giving and let it be a year-round tradition.
There is one other thing to be said; Jesus was tempted by Satan in the desert but he was strong enough to resist all the lures that came his way. For humans, it is natural for us to give in to temptation but for Spiritual Humans, we have the secret weapon just like Jesus, to resist all of Satan’s tactics, and that is the Holy Spirit living in each of us. Call on him and ask him to strengthen you in your weakened states. He NEVER lets us down. Satan can only try but we have won the victory.
Having discussed most of what this Holy season is offering; let us offer up ourselves this Lenten season to Christ as we journey with him to death and rise with him in this New Life! To God be the Glory!
-- B. Durham, 2016