For many of us, Lent signals a period of spiritual housecleaning, a focused look at the state of our relationship with God and how we may need to make some adjustments. Perhaps we will emphasize simplifying our lives—less consumption of goods, for example—noting those things desired but not actually needed. Our fasting might take on new dimensions: letting go of angry retorts, envious thoughts and self-centeredness. The prophet Isaiah is quoted within the first days of Lenten scriptures, stating what God asks of us: Set free the oppressed, break every yoke, share bread with the hungry, shelter the homeless and clothe the naked. Rather than focusing on ourselves, we could spend Lent with the emphasis on a greater love for others—while fostering a “contrite and humbled heart” to strengthen our relationship with God. We acknowledge our sins but rely on the mercy of our God.
By Carol Berg, OSB