Lent begins on Wednesday, February 17. Although there are many—and more profound—perspectives on this sacred season (for example, Paul Claudel’s A Poet Before the Cross), here is a simple acrostic to help us prepare for Lent in the year 2010:
L: Longing for God. Surely we must begin here! Without that longing for God, our spiritual hunger and thirst, do we truly desire deeper conversion? A more fervent interior life? See Father Jay Scott Newman’s expansion on deeper conversion and ways to foster Christian fervency, here.
E: Energetic, earnest desire to please God. Undergirding all practical expressions of our Lenten discipline, we must remember we are in relationship with Jesus Christ, who loved us and gave Himself for us (Revelation 1:5, Titus 2:13-14). Christianity is not a system or a propositional abstraction. Seek to please Him!
N: “Nothing is more important to me than You, O Lord.” Are we ready to say that? That is the motive, that is the motivation, behind anything we give up during Lent. We are not punishing ourselves or seeking to earn God’s favor. We are saying, “You gave your all for me, Lord. I can give up this for You in pursuit of greater self-mastery, with the goal of loving you more completely and serving you more faithfully.”
T: To all of this . . . add love! “If I give away all that I have, and if I deliver up my body [to death], but have not love, I gain nothing” (1 Corinthians 13:3). Let the love of Christ radiate through you to others! In most of our lives, that is far more difficult—and more needful—than giving up dessert for 40 days.
To all that you do during this Lenten season, add love . . . and live Christianity Richly!