Lent is upon us, as of last Wednesday, Ash Wednesday. It is the time of preparation for the celebration of Easter. It is the time for us to look honestly within ourselves and name those things we need to “give up” or “let go of”, and also to name those things we need to “work on”, or to “do”, that we keep putting off. And, to take it one step further, it is time not only to name those things we need to “let go of” or “do” but to actually “let go of” them and actually “do” what we are called to do. It is time to fast, but not only to give up chocolate or pizza or extra food and beverages, etc. but to discern what we need to give up in our behavior that stands in the way of us and Jesus, or keeps us from him, or gets us to not even notice him. Lent is a time not only to “not eat meat on Friday” but to “fish” for what will feed us best, or what will lead us more clearly to connect to the Lord at Easter, and at all times of life – and ultimately, to connect more to others as well.
Lent is a traditional time not simply to give up things so that we can “get credit” or “earn credits” with the Lord, but at the heart of Lent it is about honestly seeking to learn how, whatever we end up doing, to include the Lord more in our lives, so that we may share even more in all that he shares with us. Lent is opening up to the Lord and to others, and by implication, of letting go of all that holds us back. Lent is unlocking and opening our doors, our windows, our hearts. And, as much as we may try to do so, and as far as we have come, there is always need to open ourselves even more to the Lord. And, by implication, this involves “letting go” of what holds us back, or separates us from him, or blocks our doors or window, so to speak, and keeps us from “letting him in”. In our more honest moments, and especially in this Lenten time, we are called to admit what we need to “let go of” and what we need to “open up to” with the Lord and with others – as we prepare for Easter.
Do you need to be more honest, to be less busy, to be more open, to be more inclusive, to be less selfish or self-centered, to be more centered in the Lord and in your relationship with him and with others? So, how might we become more centered in trying to love and to seek peace and to truly unite with one another and the Lord?
Lent is a traditional time of giving up some things so that we may open up more to others and to the Lord, to get around to “doing” what we are called to do, and not just sitting back and “waiting for the Lord” to come and do something – for he already has come and is with us and gave his life and died and rose for us, and showed us the way, and continues to show us the way, to his kingdom, to new life. It is we who often don’t notice, I’m afraid.
Let us prepare the way for the Lord. Let us prepare for his gift to us of his life, death and resurrection. Let us open ourselves to the grace of Easter – this Lent ad at all times!
Fr. John E. Krumm, Pastor of St. Brigid Catholic Church in Xenia, St. Augustine in Jamestown & St. Paul in Yellow Springs.