How to Survive Lent

I have many memories of Lent in church. Some are really dreary memories. Why not hold out during those tedious 40 days (Sundays don’t count!) for something better. We think of the 40 days when Jesus was driven into the desert by the Holy Spirit after his baptism by John the Baptist. At his baptism, the heavens open up and a voice proclaims, “This is My beloved son in whom I am well pleased!” A lot of folks go out into the desert for renewal. I think, in a way, that it may have been that way for Jesus. God has just blessed Jesus, and God’s Spirit drives (no cars in those days) him into the desert to begin to understand what the message, “My beloved child,” is all about..

Imagine that the message is given to you. God says to each of us, “You are my beloved child.” What are we going to make of that. Look in the mirror and say to yourself, “I am God’s beloved.” That is what my life is really all about. It is not about how smart, good looking, wealthy I might be. In essence, it is saying to each of us, “Before anything else you are loved. What a difference that is going to make. That is point number one. Point number two: I have often lived my life as if that fundamental truth did not make any difference. But it does. So Lent is a time when we face the fundamental truth of God’s unconditional and unrelenting love. And, you know what? God’s love is the same for your neighbor. And, we are supposed to treat each other that way. So, think about it, pray about it, acknowledge it. As a very wise woman (Julian of Norwich) said, “God Made you. God loves you, and God sustains you. Happy Lent!”

Charles Preble, OblSB

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