As the Catechism of the Catholic Church says, “Lent is the primary penitential season in the Church’s liturgical year, reflecting the forty days Jesus spent in the desert in fasting and prayer”. By fasting, Jesus shows his humanity and teaches us the importance of sacrifice, self-denial and bringing our human basic needs under the control of our will. But He also tells us that our will alone can’t do it. We need to be in contact with God through prayer that the real long lasting strength comes from above.
Jesus, like us, was also tempted by the devil. He understands what we go through every day. He knows our weaknesses and shows us the way to overcome temptation. Lent is the time to look deep into ourselves and find what keeps us away from God; what habits we have which have turned to vices and enslaved us. It is a time to meditate on our selfishness; how we are more concerned with our feelings than what we can be and do for others. For example, when we get to work in the morning and we are tired, how do we react to our coworkers that are asking for help? When we get home and have to help with the dishes, cleaning, or simply listening; when all we might want to do is put our feet up and have a beer. What determines what we will do, our feelings or our will?
Lent is the time of the year where Christ invites us into the desert. He is offering us a time to pray, to be alone with God and put our lives in order. He will always give us the strength and wisdom to do what is right and make those around us happy. Prayer requires that we silence our hearts, our minds and our spirit, so we can listen to God and understand what He wants to make us happy. He wants to give us His joy. He wants to Love us. Lent is an opportunity through sacrifice and penance to purify our feelings and bring our thoughts and actions closer to Christ. God’s gift to us is time, and the freedom to choose what we do with it. We are invited to spend some time with Him and receive His strength and love.