Lent is a time of preparation, reflection, reconciliation, and penance. Sounds super fun right? Well… maybe fun is not exactly the word that springs to mind when you think of Lent. By definition, Lent is not designed to be a “fun” or necessarily “enjoyable” time in the church. As we see, even the celebratory exclamations of “Alleluia” are removed from our services. We are called to deepen our spiritual life through the practices of fasting, prayer, and almsgiving. It is designed to be a time where we call to mind our short comings, and failings, then seek to make atonement in the form of fasting and prayer. It is to be a reminder of when we did not live up to our Christian values, to look at our mistakes and examine our lives and consciousnesses thoroughly and objectively. For most of us this act of self-examination is not a comfortable one, but it is a necessary one, and a good one.
Many people give up something, or fast, as a penance for Lent, maybe chocolate, or sodas, or maybe video games and television. Why? That sounds hard or inconvenient. However, that difficulty or inconvenience is exactly why this practice is so necessary. Each time we are challenged or inconvenienced, by our sacrifice, is an opportunity to remind ourselves why and for whom we are making that sacrifice. We are providing ourselves a moment of pause in our busy lives, to remember Christ and His sacrifice on the cross for us. We recall that if Christ, sinless and pure, made the ultimate sacrifice to suffer and die on the cross, then I can surely take up the cross I have been given and offer my sufferings up to Him in atonement for my sins and failings.
The second spiritual practice we are called to is expanding our prayer life. In 1 Thessalonians 5:17 we are called to “Pray without ceasing.” That may seem like a tall order. However, we do not need to be constantly knelt before the altar in church to live up to this request. We can do this through our everyday lives. Think about how much more meaningful and powerful our lives would be if you could offer even the simplest tasks to God as a prayer. Well, you can! Simply by changing your mindset. When you are faced with a task, first intentionally offer a small prayer up before starting. Do you have to sweep the floor? Say “Father in Heaven, I offer this task up to You!” Maybe you even offer the task as a prayer for someone else. Think about how much more powerful that mundane task just became.
The final Lenten practice we are called to observe is almsgiving. Many churches offer a Rice Bowl, where you are invited to place your spare change, or any donation amount during Lent, and then it is offered to a charity at Easter. We can do this for any charitable organization that is designed to forward the message, and mission of Christ. We can also do this in the form of good works. Perhaps a small random act of kindness each day, a deposit into another’s “emotional bank account,” is a beautiful gift to be given during Lent. St. Therese of Lisieux said “Remember that nothing is small in the eyes of God. Do all that you do with love.” So even the smallest things we do for others, done with love and devotion can build to great things. During these trying times, we must seek to offer others a loving act of kindness, you never know what difficult battle they may be fighting.
So, this Lent, we are all bearing our crosses together. Let us offer each other love and support. Let us lift each other up in prayer. Let us orient our hearts and minds toward Christ and seek to allow His mission to be lived out through us!
I’m praying for you; we are all in this together.
School Year Program Director
Camp is such an unique experience! Our staff take turns sharing their perspectives of the experience that is CYO Camp Rancho Framasa!
Hot off the press…
Subscribe to CYO Camp Rancho Framasa Blog by e-mail.