From the time we were children, our question for Lent was, “What are you giving up for Lent?” Giving something up for these 40 days helped us enter into the season with a sense of purpose and a greater awareness. As adults, we might want to consider looking at Lent in a deeper way. Sometimes giving up something is where we begin—and end- - our reflections on Lent. It can be tempting so say “I am giving up chocolate” or beer or even all sweets and all alcohol. But without more reflection, it can become simply a way I show God how strong I am.
Lent isn’t simply about us “giving up” something. The real grace is when we recognize that Lent is a season in which God wants to give us something. God wants to help us transform our lives and make us more free as people – not just freer with God, but in the way we live our lives and love our families. It is much easier for us to simply choose something to give up—then we can dismiss Lent! We give it up and exercise our will power for 40 days to prove to ourselves and to God that we can do it. And at the end of Lent we can return to what we gave up.
Each of us can think of something that gets in the way of our being loving and self-sacrificing As I reflect, I might realize that changing a particular way I live is coming to me as a call from God and I don’t have to do it alone. God is moving my heart to reflect on these changes and God will remain faithful and help me to stay open to the grace being offered to me for change. It may be something that I don’t want to change or acknowledge. I don’t think I can change it. But that’s where talking to God can make the difference. I am not doing this along; I am doing it with God.
I asking God for help, we might ponder one of the many healing gospels, like Mark 2:1-12. A group of friends carried a mat with a paralyzed man to Jesus, by lowering him through the roof. The friends on the roof had “broken through” the tiles to lower their friend into the house for healing. Their breakthrough led directly to the healing.
Where do we need a breakthrough? What is the barrier that keeps us from asking for healing? In our own lives, we need to break through our denials, defensiveness and our unwillingness to look at ourselves. Discovering what the barrier is in my life is critical. If we don’t know what the barrier is these weeks of Lent are a great time to reflect upon it. When we identify the barrier, we have made the breakthrough. That’s when Jesus can heal us of it. (Adapted from Creighton University’s Home Page