In a few short hours, we start the wonderful penitential season of Lent. Forty days to focus on prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. But more importantly, focusing on Jesus. Focusing on our need for a Savior and that we are sinners who can do nothing without HIM.
It is so easy to forget about Jesus. We get distracted. We let other things become our focus. We push Jesus to the sidelines or backburner or even push Him completely out of our minds. We let school or TV or work or the latest fad take over our minds and our daily lives. Oh, we may think about Him from time to time, especially on Sundays but otherwise we put Him in a closet and take Him out only when we talk about our faith or need to demonstrate, Yeah, I know Jesus.
But do you really? Many of us say we know Jesus, that we pray, that we receive Him body and blood, soul and divinity in the Eucharist. But we pay lip service to Him. We say what we don’t mean. We can talk the talk but walking the walk is hard. We don’t want to see Jesus 24/7. We want Him on OUR terms, NOT HIS. And from that way of thinking we lose terribly. We sin. We live without Jesus in our lives and we become shadows of what we truly are, what we are truly capable of.
Thankfully, the Church and Jesus understands that we are imperfect sinners and provides us the opportunities to repent, to turn towards Jesus again and again and again. Lent as a liturgical season provides a forty days to take the blinders or other obstacles from our eyes and allows us again to focus on Jesus. We can remove that log from our eye and see Jesus for what and who He truly is. It won’t happen over night. We can learn to live HIS will and not ours. We can repent and start anew. Lent is an opportunity for us to fast from the things that we put in the place of Jesus and remove them from our lives. We can turn off the TV, turn off the computer, quit eating the sweets and drinking the soda that we used to hide ourselves from Christ. We can take our eyes off the world and turn them back to Christ.
And not just Lent but the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Such a wonderful sacrament that grants us grace and the ability to truly mend our relationship with Christ. We offend and hurt Jesus when we sin but He gave us the means to come to Him and repair that damage. And to give us His grace to become more holy, more like HIM. Are we perfect and incapable of sin once we receive Reconciliation? No. We are sinners and we will unfortunately sin again. And we can again receive Reconciliation. We go, not to just make things right, but to truly reform ourselves with His grace and to repair our relationship with Him.
The more often we partake of the Sacraments especially Reconciliation and Holy Communion, the more we connect to Christ, the more we are in Christ. The graces we receive from those Sacraments helps us to be more Christ-like in our lives. And we are called to be Christ-like.
So this Lent, clear the log from your eye, pray, and turn to Jesus.
What are you doing this Lent to turn towards Jesus and truly follow Him?