LENT: What’s it all about?
As the Lenten season is quickly approaching, I am thinking more and more about how to make this Lent more meaningful and more fruitful. We are so blessed that our faith starts with the anticipation and the wonderous birth of Jesus Christ our Savior and culminates in the glory of the Resurrection. But what happens in between? What is it all about?
We have been stuck in holding for the past two years as we have grappled with the COVID-19 pandemic. This event has brought an already broken and disillusioned world to its knees. Some of us have suffered terrible losses no doubt during this time. All of us have suffered in the loss of the familiar, the comfortable, the way we were used to doing things. Welcome to the new normal!
We have seen the good – neighbours looking out for each other, many tuning into mass on TV when our churches were closed, and the rise of many online connections to share in prayer and to grow in faith. However, the loss of the familiar – the communal gathering for Sunday mass, the collective singing of hymns, and the participation in the Eucharist has been difficult for many of us to bear. Will we ever get back to the “before” times? Will we ever be able to offer each other the sign of peace? Or are we going to be forever changed by this pandemic in how we worship and how we relate to each other?
While it is customary for us to sacrifice something for Lent, I think this year, we should challenge ourselves to be better, faith-filled brothers and sisters in Christ. This Lent, let us continue to pray for the end to the pandemic, and the end to restrictions. Let us also pray that we pay particular attention to Jesus’ teachings: to follow him means to practice forgiveness; to follow him means to practice love; to follow him means to love those who hurt us.
Jesus, through his life and his example is teaching all of us that the old ways of doing things – punishing our brothers and sisters who hurt us, seeking revenge for wrongs, and reacting with fear is not the way. We are challenged to change the way we think and behave. As mothers, we set that example for our families and especially our children. Talking about how you feel is important. But living a life of forgiveness and love is the true path to freedom.
This Lent, let us look within ourselves to be better Christians. Let us strive to love each other, forgive each other, and reflect on our actions, not reacting to things we face. This world needs to know that sin is real, as is love and forgiveness. This is the way to salvation.
Rema Celio is a happily married mom of two young boys and lives in Toronto. She is an active member of St. Benedict Parish.