We are entering the period of Lent (February 26th). Lent culminates when we renew our baptismal vows in the great Easter Vigil of Holy Saturday and on Easter Sunday (April 12th). Lent is therefore a celebration of the greatest gift we received after creation, the gift of baptism that makes us disciples, and sisters and brothers of Jesus Christ, the Son of God incarnate.
Saint Francis de Sales notes: Lent is the autumn of the spiritual life during which we gather fruit to keep us going for the rest of the year. Enrich yourselves with these treasures, which nobody can take away from you and which cannot be destroyed.
There are three special practices recommended for Lent, which we can adopt, and add others of our own. The first is prayer. There are many forms of prayer that may enrich our lives. The Stations of the Cross and the Rosary are very appropriate. We have the Sacraments: we could celebrate may be one more Mass a week other than Sunday Mass, we need not wait for the rush of Holy Week to make a special confession. Bible reading in private or in family can enrich family life enormously. Make use of the several programs available: Parish Lenten Mission, Lenten Reflection Books, Best Lent Ever from Dynamic Catholic and many others.
The second important practice is penance. We have customary practices like less sugar, no smoking, no drinks, or no meat… Apart from practicing exterior penances, there are interior penances like befriending and forgiving people we do not like, shortening our television time and increasing our family conversation, between husband and wife, and with children and elders, (it may result in rich experiences).
Finally, almsgiving: an effort to grow in love with people we normally do not consider. Please share actively in Rice Bowl program. “Love your enemies” our Master commanded. At least, let us not condemn them. And make an effort to befriend marginal and deprived people.
May a personalized Lent lead us to a deep joy of the Easter Hallelujah!