The Lenten Stretch
by Carol Lavenz
It is the half way mark in Lent. Do the signs of SPRING and Easter bunny decor distract your Lenten commitment?
I say, no. I think a deeper understanding of our identity in Christ brings jubilation, often a feeling aroused by springtime. The overreaching theme of Lent is repentance, but gentleness in the spiritual life may be necessary to see what we hesitate to see about our un-Christian attitudes and actions. This leads to silence and reflection (often helped by what we ‘give up’ in Lent) that encourages a change of perspective, a deeper belief in the Gospel, Metanoia, which means a change in one’s way of life resulting from penitence or spiritual conversion. This is the peaceful awakening to the Glory of life. Who of us does not desire that joy?
Wonder if we reserve the order to alms, fasting, and prayer? Almsgiving is recognizing the needs of others, whether financially, in action, or prayer. For now, I’d like to image almsgiving as praying for others.
One example would be praying the rosary. Each decade of a rosary could be prayed for a specific intention (people enduring an illness, people in conflict, family), imaging a person with each Hail Mary. Our Lord knows the journey of every person, so why not just be present to the words of prayer on their behalf. One decade at a time could be prayed throughout the day (morning coffee, driving in the car, preparing a meal, going for a walk, etc).
Daily praying for others requires fasting from life’s business and secular interests. The remarkable result of prayer’s solitude and silence is personal self-knowledge. How is that? I don’t know or understand how we are graced in the Mystical Body of Christ but such is the gift of the Holy Spirit. A lifestyle of prayer and sacrament is followed by wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, piety, and awe of the Lord. We have the Lord’s word on that.
This LENTEN STRETCH….brings about a SPRING TIME of life.
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