By: Anne Muzos
‘Even now,’ declares the Lord, ‘return to me with all your heart, with fasting . . . Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and compassionate . . . ‘ Joel 2:12-13 (NIV)
What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear the word “Lent?” Maybe Ash Wednesday, giving up a favorite indulgence (which is what my Louisiana Catholic friends did as I was growing up), giving instead of sacrificing, or perhaps prayer time in the quiet of your home, sanctuary or garden? Think about it . . . what came to mind? We may choose to do one or a combination of the above, but when done with Christ in mind and being present with us, it will surely be a blessing at the end of 40 days!
I have found that a combination of such activities works well for me because I do want to make a sacrifice, as Jesus did for me, but I also want to give to others, and have quiet time to encounter the risen Christ. I am choosing to give up pastries, which include creme brulee & flan, and will look forward to the end of 40 days! For giving, an idea that occurred to me from Facebook is to put an article of clothing into a plastic bag each day; at the end of 40 days donate the clothing to a worthy cause. I will spend quiet time in the sanctuary once a week, where I encounter Christ each time I meditate on the cross and on the sacrifice He made for me, praying for our church, community and the world.
I have given myself these commitments. During my 40-day Lenten journey I hope to experience many encounters with the risen Christ. How about you? What have you chosen?