Consider God's call in our lives as we enter Lent - Catholic Courier
Matthew H. Clark Matthew H. Clark

Consider God’s call in our lives as we enter Lent

Next Wednesday we begin our celebration of the season of Lent. It is a time of blessing and grace. During these holy days we pray for our sisters and brothers who will be baptized at the Easter Vigil. And we humbly open our hearts to the grace of God who calls us to repentance and conversion of heart.

Our catechumens, sisters and brothers preparing for baptism at the Easter Vigil, are a blessing to our community in many ways; among them, the reminder they are to all of us already baptized of the gift that has been ours for many years. Their openness and eagerness renews my own spirit and impels me to approach Lent in a similar spirit.

The call to repentance and conversion of heart, while not always easy to accept, also is a gift that I need and cherish. The Lord’s Gospel reminder that even the just person sins daily — seven times 70 times — is a salutary one. I know that it makes me more able to accept my own sinfulness. It encourages me as well to place my need for forgiveness before the mercy of God.

I will try to go deeper in those dispositions through the season of Lent by adapting in some way each of three classic forms of expressing them — prayer, fasting and almsgiving. Another way of saying that is that I will attend to the time I spend with the Lord; to the way I exercise stewardship over the spiritual and material goods that are at my disposal; to the manner in which I share with others those same gifts. I have not yet decided what those ways will be, but I do sincerely ask your prayers that they will be honestly decided and generously followed.

You can be sure that you have my prayers as you consider God’s call in your life as we enter the Lenten season. While we can all find classic guidance and help through prayer, fasting and almsgiving, I do think it’s important for all of us to be attentive to how God’s call ordinarily comes to us.

It may be a call to tone down a hyperactive schedule to allow time for less urgent but more important realities. It may mean finally reaching out in a reconciling way to one from whom we have been estranged. Or sacrificing something we like so that others may have things they truly need. Or trusting enough to venture helping another in need even though we feel inadequate to the task or can not clearly see the end of it all.

Two notes for your encouragement: 1) Whether we start our Lenten observance in the classic categories of prayer, fasting and abstinence, or in responding to the call that God plants deep in our hearts, the odds are very high that God will lead us in unexpected ways through the experience. For that reason it is good to consider what we’d like to do not so much as an exercise in willpower or discipline but more as a gift of self to the best friend we have. 2) Please remember that, while your gift of self may be great and deeply personal, you enjoy the prayer of the church at every step of your Lenten journey.

Peace to all.

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