|Don't forget to reset your clocks tonight!|
Researching the etymology of the word Lent, we find that Lent in many languages implies "forty" which signifies the number of days Jesus spent in the wilderness with God the Father. When the six days of Easter week are added to the forty, the season of Lent becomes 46 days.
Historian and priest, Norman Tanner SJ, in his article "A Short History of Lent," points out that the English word Lent comes from the Anglo-Saxon word meaning "lengthen." Norman Tanner explains that Lent is ". . . a time when we can stretch out and grow in the Spirit."
To read more of Norman Tanner's explanation about the joy of Lent, see
At this site, we read Tanner's explanation of how God's grace can work in us, if we but cooperate with God in the process of growing our faith. God cannot grow our faith without us.
Lent is here. What does that mean to each of us?
In Isaiah: 58:1-9a, God tells us that he doesn't want us to wear sack cloth and sit in ashes.That's not the kind of fasting he wants to see. Rather he would have us be active in making ours a better world by loosing the chains of injustice, untying the cords that bind people, setting the oppressed free, by helping to provide food and shelter for the needy. . .
This we can do by loving God and loving our neighbour as ourselves, by doing charitable deeds, and by spending time in God's presence. Saint Teresa of Calcutta has said, "We need to find God, and God cannot be found in noise and restlessness. The more we receive in silent prayer, the more we can give in our active life."
Finding Our Own Wilderness
Without going to the wilderness for forty days as Christ did, we can retreat to the quiet of our bedrooms to pray. We can turn off the television and other technical devices to read God's Word and spend time in prayer. We can put on sacred music or listen to tapes of Scripture or faith messages while we drive, go for a walk, or do household chores.
Resetting Our Spiritual Clocks
"Lent comes providentially," Pope Francis says, "to reawaken us from our lethargy."
For those of us living in a province where the time changes in spring or fall, this is the weekend for resetting our clocks. We can be creative and individual in how we reset our spiritual clocks.
Lent may be the best of times to "breathe new life," as Sandi Somers says in her blog, into one or more of our unfinished writing projects. Our writing, if surrendered to God, may bring a life-changing message to one, or more, of our readers. Whatever our genre--essay, fiction, memoir, blog or poetry--someone in this world may be waiting for what God leads us to write.
Remember the movie, "O God" with actor John Denver. Although this movie was "theology lite," the writer of the story made a good theological point. A fictitious God, acted by George Burns, gave a non-religious, young, assistant manager of a supermarket the message that the world can work with what he, God, has already given us.
St. Augustine is credited with saying, "God has promised forgiveness to your repentance, but he has
Whatever your message, remember the Chinese pro
verb that says, "The best time to plant a tree (or write a book) was twenty years ago. The second best time is now."
* Clock photo from Pixabay.