Before beginning His public ministry, Jesus went into the desert for forty days and fasted and was tempted by the devil. As Christians, we too are called to go into the desert of Lent for forty days. But why? Is it just to suffer a little? What is a desert like? Usually, the desert is hot and dry and there is not enough vegetation or water to sustain much life. We go into the desert to realize our greater need and total dependence on God. We all need material things in this life like food, clothing and shelter to sustain us. We need other people and relationships. These are all good things provided by God himself, but it is when we go to these things instead of God for comfort, security and our sense of who we are that they become a hindrance to our relationship with him. The funny thing is many times we continue to go to these things over and over again even if they leave us feeling dry and unfulfilled. When we give up our comfort foods, distractions and other attachments and seek him in prayer, we can allow him to enter those dry parts of our hearts that are in need of healing. Lent is really about freedom. We become freer to love Him and others.
The Church gives us three ways to do that: Prayer, fasting and almsgiving.
Here’s what I’m hoping to do this year,
Prayer– Instead of praying more, I will try to go deeper. It is a temptation for me to read every good thing or subscribe to every devotion, novena, or meditation on the internet or social media and to order every spiritual book a friend recommends, but too much can sometimes cause us to be superficial and not take the time to go deep and let Christ truly transform us.
Fasting-.Instead of only controlling what I put into my mouth, I need to control what comes out of my mouth like unkind words and yelling.
Almsgiving- It’s all about giving more to others, sacrificing more of our time, money and ourselves. To do that, I have to give up my self- will, and that’s usually the hardest thing to give up.
Jesus was led into the desert by the Holy Spirit; Let us ask the Holy Spirit in these next few days to lead us this Lent .
Here are links to several Lenten videos: