Skip to comments.Getting the Most Out of Lent
Posted on 03/01/2006 9:25:10 AM PST by NYer
|OK, OK, I admit it: I like Lent. Theres something about self-deprivation and deferred gratification that brings out the best in me. And even though I sometimes slide reluctantly into the traditional Lenten practices of prayer, fasting and alms-giving, I know they result in deepened devotion and discipline and, ultimately, joy.
Year after year, its happened for me and confirmed my belief that everyone might benefit from observing Lent in a deeper fashion.
It is said that preachers tend to preach what they themselves need to hear... Working on that premise, my homily for the 8th Sunday in Ordinary Time will set my Lenten agenda. I found in yesterday's scriptures some amazing images of God's desire for intimacy with us. Unfortunately, we often filter out such imagery, not expecting the scriptures to offer it.
In Hosea, the Lord was doing nothing short of seducing Israel: Come apart from the others... come with me into the desert... come and be alone with me... respond to me as you did in your youth... I will espouse you... I will know you and you will know me...
Paul uses an image of intimacy with the Corinthians, telling them he needs no letter of introduction because the Corinthians ARE his letter of testimony. His letter of introduction is written not on paper but on the flesh of the Corinthians' hearts of...
And Jesus? He tells us in the gospel that he is the bridgegroom - and who is the bride but us, the church? He uses the most intimate human relationship to describe his relationship to us...
Seduction is not a bad thing in itself. It all depends upon who is doing the seducing and to what we are being seduced. The word seduce comes from Latin roots meaning "to lead aside." In Lent the Lord leads us aside, out to the desert, where we, in his company, can take account of the other powers, desires and influences that seek to seduce us away from intimacy with our God. (Isn't this just what happened to Jesus when he was led into the desert by the Evil One to be tempted?)
So, through the ancient Lenten practices of prayer, fasting and almsgiving, my Lenten hope is that I will more freely allow the Lord to lead me aside, to a desert of intimacy with him, where he might espouse me afresh and I might come to know and love him more deeply. I want to go with the Lord to a place where once again he can write his love and his law on my heart.
The good news is that long before we make our Lenten plans, the Lord already has a Lenten plan for each of us. Perhaps prayer, fasting and almsgiving are simply the best ways to open ourselves to discovering what the Lord wants to accomplish in us in these 40 days...
Thanks for posting this. I know one of my failings is a tendency to hold a grudge. I am working on it.
Many thanks for posting this, NYer.
One of the most moving statements I have ever read.
"In Hosea, the Lord was doing nothing short of seducing Israel: Come apart from the others... come with me into the desert... come and be alone with me... respond to me as you did in your youth... I will espouse you... I will know you and you will know me... "
Very nice! And thanks (as always) for the post NYer.
Nice article, thanks for pinging me.
awesome thanks :-)
Do you have any sites/blogs you would care to recommend?
Always a pleasure!
So glad to be of service!