Now that we are about a week into Lent, the challenge of Lenten sacrifice has begun. Whether it is due to an insatiable craving for dessert, or an afternoon pick-up with my favorite variety of soft drink, the knowledge that I have decided to turn the radio off for my commute, or even the knowledge that a cold shower awaits me after I crawl out of bed, I am now asking WHY!!!???? You may be asking that too.
1. Why do we as Catholics strive to live penitential lives?
2. Why do we decide to take on acts of penance? (In other words, how can we do penance most faithfully?)
Good news! This blog seeks to answer the two above questions and to help us have a better Lent (and hopefully faith life). Part 1 of 5 is below.
- It is Biblical
In the Old Testament, the prophets frequently delivered messages to the Hebrew people that God desired them to sacrifice not with animals, but with a change of heart. The Psalms called upon the people to be contrite and humble. Jesus in the New Testament called upon the people to be merciful. Traditionally, in both the Jewish and Christian contexts, a change of heart, contrition, and a request for mercy were shown by taking on sackcloth and ashes, but those things were not done for their own sakes. They did them to grow in contrition for their sins, humility, change of heart toward God, mercy; we are called to these same things today.
How can we open ourselves to this growth today? What about getting off social media for 15-20 minutes a day and reading Scripture? Perhaps pick one of the Gospels or the book of Exodus and follow God’s providence through the book to the covenant (both old and new).