|THE GIFT OF LENT - Mar 13|
|2011 - Editorial|
|Thursday, 10 March 2011 13:53|
The Christian community has begun the celebration of the season of Lent, a preparation for Easter and reminder of baptism. But the season can speak an important word to people of all creeds.
All people need to consider the deep questions about life to which the season directs us: What is life all about? Why are we here? How can I make life better for someone in need? Lent provides a particular pocket of time to ponder the ultimate questions about our existence which influence how we deal with everyday matters.
It is easy to think of Lent as that season stuck in between Carnival and Easter, to see it only as another aspect of the annual Christian cycle. Lent is a reminder that our lives are meant to progress in meaningful ways: it is meant to help us in this.
Pope Benedict XVI makes baptism the central theme of his 2011 Lenten message (see page 14). He describes baptism as the Sacrament that celebrates “the great mystery in which man dies to sin, is made a sharer in the new life of the Risen Christ and receives the same Spirit of God who raised Jesus from the dead”. But, “baptism is not a rite from the past, but the encounter with Christ, which informs the entire existence of the baptised,” he stresses.
For the Christian, baptism marks the beginning of life in Christ that must mature to adult faith. Pope Benedict calls the way we get from one point to the other, “the itinerary of faith”. Lent is an important aspect of that itinerary, offering us a unique path.
“Without the light of faith,” says the Pope, “the entire universe finishes shut within a tomb devoid of any future, any hope.” Again, “without the perspective of eternity and transcendence”, to which Lent invariably points us, “time simply directs our steps towards a horizon without a future”.
The traditional practices of fasting, almsgiving – “the capacity to share” – and prayer which invite Christ’s followers to a searching look at their own lives invariably draw them “to recognise God in the face of so many brothers and sisters” and to live in what the Pope calls “the logic of gift and love”.
To live with this perspective every day of our lives is not easy. Mature faith demands perseverance but it also requires the help which the encounter with Christ brings.
In the Gospel of the First Sunday of Lent, which tells of Jesus’ triumph over the devil in the wilderness, lies an “invitation,” says the Pope, to see our own fragility and to receive the help from God on which we must rely.
Christian faith implies, says Pope Benedict, “a battle ‘against the ruling forces who are masters of the darkness in this world’ (Ephesians 6:12), in which the devil is at work and never tires – even today – of tempting whoever wishes to draw close to the Lord”.________________________________________________________________________________________ **DISCLAIMER**: User comments posted on this website are the sole views and opinions of the comment writer and are not representative of Camsel/Catholic News or its staff. Camsel/Catholic News accepts no liability and will not be held accountable for user comments. Please help us keep our site clean from inappropriate comments by using the flag option. Camsel/Catholic News reserves the right to remove, to edit or to censor any comments. Any content which is considered unsuitable, unlawful or offensive, includes personal details, advertises or promotes products, services or websites or repeats previous comments will be removed. Before posting, please refer to the Comments Policy under Resources