I have a new book "Living Happily Jesus' Hidden Life - The spirituality of Charles de Foucauld in Light of the Beatitudes"
The book is about the extraordinary spiritual journey of Blessed Charles de Foucauld, who found Joy and Happiness in the hidden life of Jesus as a way to holiness.
The book is available from Amazon
AN INVITATION TO THE CONVERSION OF HEART
Lent is at our door once more, perhaps earlier than we expected. But, it is here and there is no way of escaping it.
In the Lenten season when some people talk to me, I often hear say: “Hah, I feel bad. I made the resolution of fasting, not eating meat on Friday and of abstaining from chocolate, but I realize that I did not respect at all any of the commitments I made at the beginning of the season”.
There is certainly a lot of sincerity in deploring the no compliance with the resolutions made before God. It is also true that any good Catholic would feel bad for not respecting his commitment vis-à-vis God when it would be in his power to do so.
However, there is always the problem of how we conceive of the Lenten Season. Is Lent a time of grace that God gives us so that, renouncing our sins and everything that sets us apart from him, we strive to come close to God? Or is it a time of diet where, regardless of our sins and of our bad habits, we have to fast and abstain from meat?
The answer to these questions again depends on how we conceive of Lent. When people are confused about what they pledged and did not do, I often tell them that of course there are a lot of things we can do in the Lenten Season in order to improve our relationship with God and our brothers and sisters.
For instance, praying more than we now do, sparing some time for the reading of the Bible, initiating a process of reconciliation with those with whom we are estranged, participating actively in the sacraments of the Church … can help our Lenten season. For that reason, Lent is a time of grace that each one of us has to take advantage of in order to become close to God.
Lent is not only a period of time; it is more than that. If our conception of Lent is limited to a time, it means that once the period is over, we will feel free of the obligation of fighting against evil and all that weighs us down in our relationships with God.
I believe that we have to understand Lent also as a permanent attitude of fight against evil that transcends time and period that the Church gives us.
There is no denial of the importance of fasting and abstaining from things, but we do all that with the intent of getting better and renouncing sins. In that case, the time can pass, but the attitude remains, because that is the goal of Lent, namely to lead us to the conversion of heart as we prepare ourselves to the celebration of the paschal mystery.
Let us enter this period of forty days in the footsteps of Jesus with a firm conviction of fighting against evil and becoming better persons.
God Bless You All!
Rev. Felicien I. Mbala, PhD., STD