Sorry this is a little late, but wanted to share this thought with you before we get too deep into the Lenten Season.
Today we begin the 40 days of fasting, prayer, and giving alms in preparation for the great celebration of Easter. Hopefully, we have all made our Lenten resolutions of giving something up, or taking on some extra practice of virtue. Surely, we will all follow the Church’s guidelines of fasting and abstaining at the appropriate times (http://www.usccb.org/lent/fast.shtml). But at the heart of all these good works, do we understand the reason, the purpose, and the ultimate goal? The clue lies in the formula used for the imposition of ashes: “Remember you are dust, and to dust you shall return”.
Each of our lives begins from “nothing”. Each of our lives ends, taking “nothing” with us to the grave. Yet, we as Catholic Christians believe that God is the Beginning and the End, the Alpha and Omega of each human life, indeed of all life and all creation. God, in His infinite love, drew us forth from His very self. We are created from “nothing” but the absolute, eternal, perfect love of God. This will also be the end of each and every human life, to return to the Source from Whom we began, the absolute, eternal, perfect love of God.
So, the reason for our Lenten resolutions is to “respond” to this Love. The conversion of this season is to a greater appreciation and expression of this Love in our lives. The penitential nature of the season calls us to seek God’s mercy for the failure to love in return, and resolve through our Lenten practices to grow in love. The “end” of the season is the great celebration of the Paschal Mystery, the passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Christ is the manifestation of the absolute, eternal, perfect love of God. May this Lenten season grant us the grace to grow in our appreciation for the love shown us in Jesus Christ. May our Lenten practices, by the grace of God, help us grow in the love of the same, Jesus Christ.