Rejoice, Lent is approaching

In a week from now we will be enveloped by the colour purple.  For a while we will bid farewell to the Alleluia’s; for a while the sanctuary will be devoid of flowers and ornamentation. These are merely external signs and symbols to remind us of the greater calling to shut ourselves from those things that clutter our world and enter a deeper union with God.

Many Catholics perceive the season of Lent as a downer, for linked to it are the three disciplines which in common practice is narrowed down to what you can’t eat. The season of Lent is not about what we can’t eat but what is eating us! So you can stop tip toeing over the contents of your next meal in Lent and devote that same time to examine the contents of your heart. Fasting is merely a discipline, a means to an end and not an end in itself and that ironically is what most Catholics don’t get.

So it’s not about what you can’t do in Lent but rather what you should do in Lent. It’s a positive season of renewal rather than the mournful approach it has been blanketed with. The disciplines are given to us so that we focus on God.  

Hence the disciplines of prayer, fasting and alms-giving are not about what we do for God but rather what God wants to do for us. He wants to drown out the noise that surrounds our lives so that we may find time listen to Him speak to our heart. The sound of silence may not be what we are used to but it’s certainly what we need.

Surely the run up to Ash Wednesday may not seem as celebratory as Christmas but that is because of how we have been brought up to approach this period of grace.  In the week to come we open our hearts to receive Jesus who will be our teacher and guide for the next forty days. Lent is approaching, rejoice!

Fr Warner D’Souza

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