We will be about halfway through this year’s Lenten season this week. At the beginning of the lent, some of us decided to abstain from certain foods or activities. Others resolved to add some foods to their diets or activities to their daily routines. Still, many people choose to consolidate some additions or subtractions that they already have. Many of us simply have been doing something since the beginning of our Lenten journey.
Where are we now? Have we stopped with our Lenten observances? Have we forsaken Jesus in the wilderness? Have we forgotten that he is still in the desert preparing himself for the ultimate price of our salvation? A price that must involve severe tortures, persecution, beatings, whipping, spitting, and individual and public condemnations? Have we quickly forgotten that he is still in the wilderness, lonely, hungry, thirsty, weak, and isolated? Lent is just halfway. It is not over yet.
The whole idea of making Lenten observances is to deepen our relationship with Christ, to unite ourselves in fraternal solicitude to the suffering Christ. His sufferings and all the hardships he endured are to free us from our sins and show us how to embrace suffering for salvific reasons. The scripture puts it better when it says:
For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example that you should follow in his footsteps. “He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.”When he was insulted, he returned no insult; when he suffered, he did not threaten; instead, he handed himself over to the one who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in his body upon the cross, so that, free from sin, we might live for righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. For you had gone astray like sheep, but you have now returned to the shepherd and guardian of your souls.1 Peter 2:21-25.
As we continue our Lenten journey, let us increase efforts to stay firm in our Lenten observances. Let us remember that those sacrifices and mortifications must be geared towards bringing us closer to Jesus Christ. Because of this noble reason, we must not entertain any distraction or discouragement in fulfilling our Lenten resolutions.
The Church encourages us to ensure that whatever we are doing to make a good Lent, we should pay special attention to prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. Some activities and lifestyles we have embarked upon during this Lent may express less direct connections to these Lenten virtues (prayer, fasting, and almsgiving). When this happens, one should not be discouraged. The important thing is that we must all be doing something to deepen our relationship with Christ this Lent. He continues to endure bodily and emotional torments in the wilderness of our sins. So, let us not back down from our Lenten observances now that we are only halfway through the Lenten season.
May God continue to bless our efforts with more courage and desire to persevere in our Lenten resolutions. Amen.