Lent is a time to houseclean our hearts and soul. Prayer, penance/mortification, fasting and almsgiving are the tools we should take out of the closet and put to work.
It is more than receiving ashes, attending the stations of the cross and the fish fry dinners or giving up chocolate and those lovely coffee drinks. Lent will not help cleanse your heart and soul if you do not also allow time to delve deeper into recollection, to more frequent listening to the word of God, and to more ardent prayer.
In reviewing my spiritual journey, I saw there was too much “I” in this journey. I have been Martha, busy with tasks and fussing about unimportant things. I have been the Pharisee standing in the temple feeling spiritually important. I have been the woman seeking to touch Him to be healed. I have been the doubting Thomas. I have been Peter denying I knew Him. I have wandered in an endless barren prairie of my own choosing and sat alone in my garden of Gethsemane. There have been many lost blessings and graces and spiritual growth.
“Oh God of second chances, Lent is made for me. Fill me, direct me, empower me, bless me that I might walk in the way of your cross.” [Ignatian 3-minute retreat]
Lent is a time for interior renewal, but it is also a journey towards Easter that should be a joyful one as we allow God to transform us. It is a time to get to know Jesus; to listen to His word in sacred scripture, and to learn to love Him more deeply. Morning Prayer, in the first Sunday of Lent in the Liturgy of the Hours, sings praises to God: “I will praise you all my life, O Lord; in your name I will lift up my hands.”
Let us do the same throughout Lent.