And here it is Lent!
It is Lent, and it seems like Christmas was yesterday. I don’t know if that is good or bad, but it is how I feel.
And I think that makes a good starting point to talk about the similarities and differences between Advent and Lent. Both liturgical seasons are colored in purple and both have the ‘break’ in them – Gaudete Sunday in Advent and Laetare Sunday in Lent. Both are seasons of preparation for the next liturgical season.
But if you look at the readings you find that Advent readings are all about expectation, about the hope we have for the Savior to come into our world. The Lent readings are God’s covenants with us and preparing for the final covenant of Jesus’ salvation. It is like we spent Advent waiting for someone to come into our home for a visit and now in Lent we are preparing ourselves to leave and go with them to their home.
Lent is the time to ready ourselves for what is to come, for our final travels to another home. Lent is the time to take our faith seriously and to do the things that will help us follow Jesus more closely, all the way to Heaven.
The Church tells us to do three things during Lent – pray, fast and give alms. So, this is where we start:
- Pray: If you are not spending time each day in prayer, start now. Please do not impose any expectations on yourself about what you will achieve from prayer time, just be quiet and say, “Jesus, I am here to be with you.”
- Fast: Yes, sacrifice something! Most specifically, no meat and less food altogether on Fridays.
- Give Alms: Donate your time, your talent and your treasure during Lent. Volunteer somewhere, help someone in need, part with some of your money and give it to a charity.
If these are things you already do, then you already know what more you can do in each of these areas. Listen to Jesus in your heart and respond to His call.
It is simple enough, and I am not going to complicate it here. I know you can do this!
God Bless all St. Elizabeth Seton parishioners this Lenten season!