Newsletter – Seventh Sunday of the Year A – 19th February 2023
Seven Tips for Lent
- Take an honest inventory of what you typically give up for Lent. If what you give up makes you moody, grumpy and irritable all the time that’s not good, don’t do it. We have to ask ourselves and discern; are those little sacrifices really leading to a real transformative and spiritual growth in my life? So instead of giving up sweets or something, maybe go to bed 15 minutes later and spend 15 minutes meditating on the Word of God of the day and let it speak to your life and your circumstances. You will find the Word of God always bring forth fruit in our life.
- Ask the Lord to make this Lent a true spiritual wake-up call. There is a real danger whether it be in the liturgy or just in our daily lives of just going through the motions. What John Paul II called hollow ritualism. It means we’re no longer present to the one we love, whether it be to God or our loved ones.
- To live Lent with engaged expectations that something new and beautiful is being birthed into our life. Let this Lent be like a new beginning for you. And new beginning is embedded into the very spirituality of these 40 days. I was once told by a rabbi that 40 is the symbolism of the 40 weeks in our mother’s womb. 40 represents a period of growth, of incubation, of preparation, of maturation for a new birth, a new beginning, a new life. So there’s a calling to live this period of Lent in anticipation of the beautiful new life and new birth that God can bring forth in our lives.
- That Lent is a time for us to stretch spiritually. The word Lent comes from the same root as the English word to lengthen, to stretch. In the springtime the days are lengthening but it’s also a very rich spiritual image. Lent is a time where we lengthen and stretch our times of prayer and compassion for others. The average Briton they say spends about two and a half hours every day on social media and news platforms. Give 10 of that 20 minutes to God or maybe say a rosary in that time?
- See Lent is a time of spiritual spring cleaning. The beginning of Lent usually corresponds to that time in the gardens here where people are beginning to clear off the dead leaves, open up the soil. Why? So that growth and life can come for that. It’s a wonderful analogy for the spiritual life, getting rid of all the muck and the barriers and the leaves and the roots and the whatever the dead matter that blocks our spiritual life. There’s no better way of doing this than doing a proper and thorough confession during this time.
- See Lent is a time of renewing the theological virtues, faith, hope and love.
This is what Pope Francis invited us to do last year in his Lenten message and he said during this season of conversion; “Let us renew our faith, draw from the living water of hope and receive an open heart the love of God which makes us brothers and sisters in Christ faith is the grace of God in our minds causing us to accept and to testify to the truth”.
- Finally, take stock of your joy during the Lenten season. Although Lent is definitely a solemn season it is also a season of joy. What is the sign that we’re living Lent in the proper way, that is a transformative and spiritual moment? Our joy, the levels of our joy. Lent of course is a journey towards Golgotha with Christ but also a journey towards Easter, a journey towards the resurrection and the joy of the Resurrection. May the Lord bless your journey towards Lent.