Friday 21st September 2018

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Lent Is Our Way To Jesus

March 3, 2018 Frontpage No Comments

By REY FLORES

Once again, we have entered one of the most beautiful seasons of our liturgical year. As we’ve often heard it said, Lent is a time for repentance and renewal. All things will be renewed in Christ’s triumphant Resurrection, but the painful Via Crucis comes before the glory.
There’s no better time than always to start teaching your kids the true meanings of the liturgical calendar seasons and the specific holidays, or holy days of obligation, which our lives revolve around.
“L” is for Lent. It is also the first letter in the word “Less,” as in fasting and mortification. The less food and less indulging in our favorite things, the better chance there is for us to turn to God. Let us remember: “He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30).
“L” is also for “learning” and “liturgy.” As Catholics we are obligated to read, learn, know, and practice the liturgy. How else are we to understand what it means to be a Christian? How else are we to understand the incredible sacrifices Jesus has made for us to redeem us from our sins and help us reach our goal of eternity in Heaven with Him?
“E” stands for “education” and “edification.” Again, we are being called to educate ourselves about God and our faith by reading the Bible. Make time to read it this Lent. After all, many of us give up things like watching television or goofing around on Facebook and other waste-of-time social media platforms.
There are many Bible-based apps and resources online. Since most of us carry around some type of smartphone gadget or device, there’s absolutely no excuse for us not to take a little time each day to read Scripture and use our smartphones for something more useful than Candy Crush.
“E” is also for “eternity.” As I mentioned earlier, God wants us to spend eternity with Him, so if we also want the same thing, we must edify ourselves in God and our faith by educating ourselves in them.
“N” stands for “no.” We must say no to the things of this world, particularly those iniquities and vices which we prioritize over our Lord. We most definitely do have strange gods which we put before God as we go about our everyday activities. Let us not forsake our Lord for frivolous things anymore.
“N” is also for “now,” as in right now. Right now is the time for us to say no to all our selfish and sinful attitudes, actions, and behaviors. Saying no repeatedly to the creature comforts we’ve gotten ourselves hooked on, be it cigarettes, snacks, the Internet, alcohol, or any other pleasure of the flesh, we build a resistance, a spiritual immunity against sin.
“T” stands for “temperance,” to practice self-restraint, particularly with eating and drinking. “T” also stands for “tenacity” as in having a strong determination and perseverance to carry through all our Lenten sacrifices until Easter Sunday.
In some depictions of the crucifixion, some artists have even painted the cross to look like the letter “T,” so if you and your children see the word Lent in your church bulletin or on some sign, remind them that that letter “T” is the end of the word Lent, and it also represents the end of Lent when Jesus is crucified on Good Friday.
Sometimes it makes it easier for me to understand things if they’re put in a word-association context or an acronym of sorts like the one above. It can help me, and perhaps it can also help you, to remember why we do what we do during Lent.
Perhaps you can create a Lenten list of to-dos and not-to-do lists. Make one for yourself or, if you’re a parent, help make one for your children to help them better understand why we do what we do during Lent. On that list, write in the things you’ve been procrastinating about, like visiting an elderly family member or relative, or at least reaching out to them in a phone call if they live far way.
On the not-to-do list, write a list of the things you are giving up for Lent. Put the list on your bathroom mirror, or on your refrigerator door. Put it in a place you know you’ll see it every day as you prepare to go about your days during Lent.
It really does help me when things are clarified in the simplest of laymen’s terms. I often joke with people to “talk to me like I’m three years old,” that way there is never a misunderstanding, and I get to use whatever I’m learning in no time at all.
Please also remember to attend the Way of the Cross at your parish, increase your adoration time, and make more daily Masses if possible. Also support your local Knights of Columbus fish fry dinners, and perhaps make a yummy soup if your parish hosts weekly meatless soup suppers on Fridays during Lent.
I wish you all a prayerful and holy Lenten season. May you and your families grow in Christ like you never have before!

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(Rey Flores is a Catholic writer and repentant sinner. Contact Rey at reyfloresusa@gmail.com.)

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