Many see Lent as ‘Service Check’. Though this imagery is very fitting, it is not the total picture of Lent. Lent is not a temporary adjustment that we make for a period of 40 days; nor it is a hibernation period for ‘hypocrites and tax-collectors’. The season of Lent is called the ‘Season of Grace’ since the season of Lent brings a sense of urgency and utmost importance to be near God. Lent is most often thought of as the preparation to the suffering and death of Jesus; Lent is also the preparation of Jesus’ and our own resurrection. The commitment that we show in taking part in the suffering and death of Our Lord reflects in God rewarding us with the Spirit of Resurrection.
The common benchmarks of all Christians who wear the Cross on their foreheads, Lent consist of prayer, alms giving and fasting in a stricter sense. These three comprises the essence of our life: Prayer – our relationship with God, Almsgiving – our relationship with our neighbor and Fasting – our relationship with self. These three disciplines have a sense of generosity in them. We fast with a generous heart; give alms generously and pray with a generous heart.
This is not a season to fast our prayers; not a season to fast our generous giving rather fasting on the desires of the self to make it the temple of the Holy Spirit. When we fast we need to look happy. Joy is the gift of the Holy Spirit. The happy faces are the symbols of freshness and enduring faith in God.
Almsgiving is a wonderful form of giving. Our relationships need (alms) giving. What can I give to make him/her reflect God’s goodness, love and generosity? Modeling on the total self-giving of Jesus, every giving during this season is a great sign of following Jesus. Lent is also a time where not only the quality of prayer, but also the quantity of prayer is stressed. Let us pray that this Lent takes us close to the Heart of God. We all need a share in His suffering and death to share His resurrection.