PREPARING FOR LENT DURING THE COVID PANDEMIC In many ways it has felt like one long Lent since Ash-Wednesday 2020 – we have been deprived of so much – social contact, parties, shopping, holidays, often attending Mass. We have needed to adjust to all sorts of new measures and our world has become small. It has been a desert or wilderness time for our whole world. Many have had no work and others (like Health workers and carers and other key workers) have been overworked! Perhaps this Lent is a call to reflect upon the meaning of this past year, to embrace lovingly and caringly the deprivations of the past 12 months and the future unspecified months. Lent is a call to serve the common good of our nation and all nations; to care for our Common Home, the Earth and all its people and creatures. This Lent we may have little to give up as so much has been taken away – but perhaps we have many things to do positively to build a new kind of (and ‘kinder’) world.
WHY LENT? We enter this privileged time of personal and community renewal which we call Lent. We join with Christ Jesus’ 40 Days in the desert to journey with Him through the desert of silence and prayer, of deprivation and hunger, of thirst and yearning. Why? To grow to become more like Jesus in generosity of spirit, openness of heart, deeper communion with God, a readiness to give of ourselves to the Mission of the Gospel. These 40 Days express our communion with all catechumens of the Church journeying to the great moment of Baptism (or reception into Full Communion with the Church); these 40 Days are our journey to the renewal of our Baptism at Easter when we say again our ‘YES’ to being plunged into the Mystery of Christ and become truly Christ People, filled with His Spirit and knowing ourselves to be ‘Beloved of the Father’. Let us embrace these most precious days of renewal.
THE TRUE FAST – ACCORDING TO POPE FRANCIS
“Fast from hurting words and say kind words. Fast from sadness and be filled with gratitude. Fast from anger and be filled with patience. Fast from pessimism and be filled with hope. Fast from worries and trust in God. Fast from complaints and contemplate simplicity. Fast from pressures and be prayerful. Fast from bitterness and fill your heart with joy. Fast from selfishness and be compassionate to others. Fast from grudges and be reconciled. Fast from words and be silent – so you can listen.”