My Dear friends and fellow workers in Christ,
This year Lent starts on Ash Wednesday, February 17th. The words used by the clergy when giving ashes are very appropriate for the season of Lent and should set our view for this Holy time. “Remember you are dust and to dust you will return”. There is no greatness in us except the greatness we share in our Lord Jesus Christ. No matter how we puff ourselves up, how big we think we are, one thing will make us all equal and that is death. None of us wants to think about it and none of us will escape it.
Our only salvation is in Christ and His Sacrifice given for you and me. Lent is, or should be, a time of reflection, penitence, and self-denial.
1. Reflection - We should take an objective look at ourselves our strong points and our weak points and our sins. Pray that God will give you the strength and grace to build up your strong points and pull down the weak ones. Most important look to your sins, those sins that put Christ on the cross. Can we abolish our sins? No, but we can with God’s help sin less. Pray for God to help us overcome our sins.
2. Penitence - We are all sinful by nature. Pride rules us. We want it and we want it now. Pride was the backing of the first sin of Adam and Eve, and it is behind every sin since. We must look at our desires and with God’s help, work to curb those desires that lead to sin. Part of this is to acknowledge that we are sinners. Only when we accept our sins, can we be forgiven. Yes, Christ died for my sins, but His act has no meaning if I do recognize my sins and accept His forgiveness. Penitence is acknowledging my sins and approaching God with a heart and soul begging for forgiveness and with the desire to amend my life.
3. Self-denial - I can remember way back in Roman Catholic School we were expected to give up something for Lent. Most of us gave up candy or ice cream or soda or the like. If we wish to deny self, it should be something of meaning to us not just sugar coating but something of substance in our lives. If we do not wish to give up anything how about taking on something of meaning? A good thing to do is to read the daily offices, Morning and Evening Prayer. How about spending more time in prayer or reading the Bible. All of us could learn from the Bible. As Christ suffered for us so can we all put ourselves out a little this Lent!
Yours in Christ