I like the season of Lent, it is a time to ‘reset’ my balance point. It is a spiritual time for fresh seeds and new growth. The word Lent is derived from Old English lencten which means ‘lengthen’ and refers to the increase of daylight hours. It is a period of transition from late winter to early spring…the time of developing roots.
When I returned to the church as an adult, Lent took on a new definition from that which I had been taught as a child. I no longer saw Lent as a time for suffering through meatless Fridays and weeks without candy, or attending solemn church services under the dedicated watch of habited nuns.
I’m not a catechist who teaches about the Church and don’t know all the formal rules and fancy words for this liturgical season. What I do know is that it is a time to practice prayer and charity, a time of offering up to Our Lord little bits of myself.
I and many Christians ‘give up’ something during Lent. I don’t remember exactly when the concept took hold, but at some point I chose ‘to do’ something rather than ‘not do’. One year during a late winter retreat a small handout was distributed and the idea of ‘giving up’, or fasting, took on a whole new purpose. Here is what it said:
o Fast from bitterness; turn to forgiveness
o Fast from hatred; return good for evil
o Fast from negativism; be positive
o Fast from complaining; be grateful
o Fast from pessimism; be an optimist
o Fast from harsh judgments; think kindly thoughts
o Fast from worry; trust in Divine Providence
o Fast from discouragement; be full of hope
o Fast from anger; be more patient
o Fast from pettiness; be more mature
o Fast from gloom; enjoy the beauty around you
o Fast from jealousy; pray for trust
o Fast from gossiping; control your thoughts
o Fast from sin; turn to virtue
Maybe I should consider hanging this list on the fridge for more than the 40 days of Lent.