When I was growing up, Lent was a drag. To me, its only significance was that on Fridays, we ordered Filet-O-Fish sandwiches instead of hamburgers at McDonald’s. Oh, and I deprived myself of desserts so that I would appreciate them more come Easter. I was surprised in college, then, to hear a Jesuit priest suggest that instead of thinking of Lent as a time of struggle-with-temptation-and-deprivation-in-the-desert, he imagined Jesus experienced those 40 days in the desert as a luxurious period of retreat with his loving God. After all, just before he went into the desert, God had proclaimed, “You are my beloved Son.” That priest challenged us all to think of Lent as a retreat in which we get to focus on God’s love and care for us. Since then, Lent is no longer about deprivation but instead is about paying attention to what God wants to do for me, in me, and through me.
For Reflection: Can you give yourself permission to think of these next six weeks as a retreat-in-real-life and luxuriate in having time with God in prayer? Can you think of it as a time to deepen your trust that God calls you a beloved son or daughter?
To Pray: Lord, help me sink into this season as a special time with you. Help me to let go of what’s not important to you during this time so that I can be more present.