The use of the word ‘journey’ to describe a spiritual process has become too commonplace, the cliche stripping the word of much of its meaning, and yet Lent is the journey to Easter, and without it, the latter is stripped of much of its meaning.
We, rightly, say much about giving up things, and in imitation of Our Lord’s time in the wilderness, we do that willingly – or not. But for most of us, we have to live in the world and think about what we do for Lent, and that gives us the opportunity to do something new. The Church has been keen that we give alms to the poor, and one way to make any sacrifice double its worth is to think what one would have spent on whatever it is, and to devote that amount to a good charity.
This is also an opportunity to turn again to Christ with a new intensity. Those prayers we mean to make, now is the time to get into a routine and make them; that Bible study we meant to make time for, now is the time to do it. Do not do too much to begin with; like any exercise, small steps at the start prevent discouragement.
For my own part, I shall be abstaining from alcohol – and I know I shall miss the ‘fix’ that comes from the scotch and water after a hard day; well, so be it; it would not have been much of a sacrifice if I did not miss it. I shall take up re-reading the Johannine epistles, as it is too long since I did so – so don’t be too surprised if there is a blog post or two on them. I shall also be saying a daily prayer for all of you here. This place has become a lay apostolate, and if our friend Bosco would give up casting stones for Lent, then it would help us all – how about it Bosco? At any rate, I shall be giving up commenting on his comments, and would suggest it a good Lenten practice for us all.
For those who wonder about the imposition of Ashes on this day, there is a piece on my parish website here.
We might, perhaps, use AATW to help us all have a holier and happier Lenten season. I end with some words of Eliot from his poem Ash Wednesday:
And pray to God to have mercy upon us
And pray that I may forget
These matters that with myself I too much discuss
Too much explain
Because I do not hope to turn again
Let these words answer
For what is done, not to be done again
May the judgement not be too heavy upon us