Preparing for Lent - A Reflection
Here we are, in the “ordinary time” of the Church Year and almost on the brink of Lent. During the year, we have many special times – among them, Advent, Christmas, Easter…and …Lent. I love each of the seasons and I’m always happy to begin the next one. Except, perhaps, Lent. Each season has its own character and Lent has usually been a troublesome one. As a child, I understood it as a time of dreary days, “giving up,” not much fun – all sorts of things that made me want to hurry through it or even skip it altogether.
But in recent years I’ve learned that there is much more to Lent than “giving up.” I was intrigued to read, “from the early ages of the Church, Lent was the immediate and solemn preparation given to candidates for baptism.”
The RCIA program is drawing to a close for those nearing Baptism, and Lent – the last weeks of the program – is a special time in their journey. During Lent we are invited to travel with them, support them as they draw closer to Baptism and reflect on our own Baptism.
Most of us probably don’t remember our own Baptism so this is an opportunity to rediscover what our faith means to us, to re-hear the invitation to follow Christ and to recommit our lives to Him in the company of the Communion of Saints – the canonized and those we rub elbows with every day!
While this is an approach to Lent that I can embrace with enthusiasm, it obviously has its own demands. It is a daily challenge and would be unthinkable alone. Aside from the Saints and saints with whom we travel, Pope Francis reminds us: “The Spirit is the guide for this journey along the way of Christ, a stupendous but difficult journey that begins in Baptism and lasts our entire lives.” May we journey in peace – together!