“I will allure you.
I will lead you to the desert
and speak to your heart.”
February 14, 2016
We have embarked on our annual Lenten journey, which is that of the Church, built around and expressed in her liturgy. And the liturgy is a response to the presence of the Lord in our midst.
There is reference to Lent as early as the 2nd century with St. Ireneaus (+203). St. Leo (+461), pope, preached that the faithful must “fulfill with their fasts the Apostolic institution of the 40 days.”
During Lent, we are invited to particular spiritual focus and availability, designed to lead to renewal, i.e. to an awakening of our hearts and an enlightening of our minds. It is, of course, love that awakens the heart and light that, well, enlightens the mind. Christ communicates these to us in a special way in His Cross and Resurrection, two facets of a same mystery of the pouring forth of divine love and light.
The term Lent suggests all of this. “Lent” stems from the Anglo Saxon term “lencten” which means spring. The suggestion is that of a return to the source, which, for us as Christians, is the Cross and Resurrection, which is, if you will, the “place” of love and light, which is the mystery by and in which we are reborn.
Lent is not a period of spiritual calisthenics. Lent, really, is not our doing. It is a response to Someone else’s doing. This is perhaps difficult for us in a productivity and results-oriented society. The great challenge and liberation of Lent: learning to become more dependent on anOther. Lent is a time of letting go, of surrendering into the arms of the One who is Love.