The message of Lent
The Lent is a time of purification, a preparation. How Lent is our wandering in the desert, our need to be purified and purged.
We live in a fallen world and evil abounds. We all have idols, many that we don’t even recognize perhaps. Habits, preferences, ideas. About ourselves, our families, how we see the world, how we see the Church. Scripture says to test all things and Lent is a great time to do that. It’s also a great time to clean, to clear out the distractions of the world and listen for the voice of the Holy Spirit.
This is why the Church gives us the fast so that we can lessen our distractions and draw closer to God. And it’s when we clear a space for God, when we, make room for God– in our hearts and minds that He can set about the ever so important work of cleaning up the mess and tearing down the idols.
It isn’t easy and it’s guaranteed not to be painless. Nothing hurts more than having to give up something we thought was good, just because God asks us to. Most of the time it makes no sense to us. Sometimes it’s our health, worse still a child’s health or, God preserve us, a child himself. Sometimes it means surrendering a plan that was so beautiful to us, an idea we were sure was right and maybe even turning from path that seemed so perfectly directed.
The pain and anguish of all those things can be very acute and so real, but we can be assured that none of it is ever suffered in vain. What looks like darkness now can bring forth a beautiful light that shines so brightly we cannot imagine there was ever darkness.
That is the message of Lent. The darkness of the cross –the pain and anguish that was all so very real and yet just a shadow of the brightness to come. A negative that became the biggest positive ever.
Saju C. Varghese
St. Peters Cathedral, New Delhi