Lent is a time of spiritual preparation for Easter, purifying our action and motives from spiritual obstacles and participating in the passion and death of Christ through self-sacrifices, in the belief that with Christ we will rise again.
Lent is Preparation. Israel prepared for forty years before entering in to the promised land.
Jesus prepared forty days to enter into his public ministry, which led him to death on the cross; so too we, prepare during the lent in order to enter into the depth of Christ’s passion and then into the fairest garden of the purest Easter joy. We must take prayer seriously, specially during Lent; and find time to be alone with God in solitude for the solitude is the audience chamber of God. We not only need to prepare through regular attendance of Holy Mass and reception of the Sacrament of Reconciliation but also through the daily mediation of the Word of God.
Lent is Purification. If we want to be friends with God, as in all friendship we have to keep it in constant repair. We have to get rid of those spiritual obstacles which hinder us from responding fully to God’s love. Our actions need purification. In our actions, if we give priority to the physical rather than to the spiritual, we deny, that “man does not live by bread alone” (Mt.4:4). Not only the end of our actions but the means we use to obtain them have to be also good. Jesus refused to cast himself down from the pinnacle of the temple (Mt.4:7), for that was not God’s way to make his mission a success.
Lent is Participation. It is an invitation to deny ourselves, some of our cherished pleasures as penance. We do all these and many other sacrifices not out of duty, but our loving participation in the Passion and Death of our Lord. If we are to be remade, reborn and turned around, we need to be first broken to pieces. After all, suffering does not have the last word. Those who suffer in union with Christ on the Cross, only they make spiritual blessings from their sufferings.
Lent is Proclamation. In lent we proclaim that “God who brought our forefathers out of Egypt with a strong hand and outstretched arms” (Deut 26:8) will bring with a strong hand and through the cross of his Son, for it was on the cross that freedom’s battle against evil was won. Throughout Lent we profess our faith “Jesus is the Lord who died and rose from the dead” (Rom10.9), not only breaks our chains here and now but also finally to lead us into the land of the free and the home of the brave. Hence during the Lent, we have to cling not just to the forms of faith, but to faith itself. Faith is not a feeling but a conviction.
With an active faith and fire within, Lent can offer us a new beginning and it is never too late to begin. It is better to begin in the evening, that not al all.