For me, it seems like the Christmas season glided so quickly into Ordinary Time, and how soon Ordinary Time is coming to a close—Lent begins next week! It’s time to pray about how we can enter the desert and prepare for the resurrection of Christ. Although Lent is difficult, as it should be, I find it a certain kind of exciting in that the Church, in her wisdom, dedicates a part of each year to help me focus on cutting off sin, remembering that I am dust and to dust I shall return, and reflecting on bearing the cross of Christ. Lent grabs my attention with its many aspects that point my gaze towards the seriousness—and at Easter, absolute joy—of our call as Christians.
Each year is different. Each year, the Lord may be calling us to sacrifice and pray, fast and give alms in certain ways that will draw us closer to Him at this particular point in our lives. There are all sorts of ways in which we can make the most of Lent.
This year, I feel called to focus on the works of mercy. The corporal works of mercy are feeding the hungry, giving drink to the thirsty, clothing the naked, sheltering the homeless, visiting the sick, visiting prisoners, and burying the dead. The spiritual works of mercy are counseling the doubtful, instructing the ignorant, admonishing the sinner, comforting the sorrowful, forgiving injuries, bearing wrongs patiently, and praying for the living and the dead. I’m praying about how exactly this focus will come about. I do know that I will need to go out of my way and sacrifice time, energy and resources to serve God’s people and Him. I will dedicate extra prayer time, and I plan on learning more about how these works of mercy can become more part of my and my family’s life.
In addition to this new focus for me, I will also aim for a stereotypically sweets-free Lent. When I desire cake-in-a-mug like I ate while writing this, I will be reminded to long for the Lord. I pray that we all can allow God to use Lent to draw us closer to Him and keep us on the path to heaven.