The liturgy has brought us through Advent, Christmas, and Ordinary Time before Lent, always guiding us to a fuller life in Christ. As we pondered words of wisdom for the formation of our minds and hearts, we were brought to experience the power of the real presence of “God with us.” We are called to be “one holy people,” a “light to the nations.” Now the liturgy guides us through the Season of Lent, a period of “forty days” which represents our ascetical journey of life.
The Lenten Season is a pilgrimage of faith into our interior life where we meet the Lord and open our hearts to his transforming love. Made aware of the universal affliction of sin in the past few weeks, Lent gives us the grace to deal with the terrible hold it has on our flesh and prescribes the practical asceticism of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving.
When we give alms in love, we strip ourselves of our selfish attachment to physical possessions. In this way we open our hearts, freeing ourselves to receive the gifts of the Spirit. By fasting our senses, we empty ourselves more deeply, leaving us with a sense of privation – a sort of death to the flesh – allowing us to be lifted up by the Spirit to God. When we open our hearts in prayer, the word of God cuts as a two-edged sword, separating our flesh and spirit. The Spirit shows us how we are following the will of the Lord in our lives and how we are not. The Spirit gives us the strength to make the necessary changes in our lives.
Mary guides us in our journey. As we strive for purity of conscience, she walks with us, encouraging us to remain in the crosses of our life, that we may be washed by the Blood of the Lamb and emerge as a new creation.
From the writings of Fr. Francis J. Marino, S.M.
Founder of the Anawim Community
Excerpt from The Anawim Way, Volume 19, no. 3. More information about The Anawim Way may be found here.