What can you do for Lent to get closer to God? Here are 3 important things ‘meant for Lent ‘… but not only! We give them more importance in Lent so that they would become integrated into our everyday life.
1. In Lent Enter Tent: Pray every day
“The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth” John 1:14
During their forty years in the desert, the Israelites would meet with God in the so-called ‘tent of the meeting’. Now in Jesus, God has pitched his Tent amongst us in a new and unique.
We can meet Him everyday in the Scriptures, in the Eucharist, in our time of personal prayer. The most important thing is to start doing so regularly by deliberately setting aside some time to meet with God in prayer.
2. In Lent Fast with Intent: Do without some food
“When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show men they are fasting. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full.” Matthew 6:16
Fasting is not a weight loss programme but a selfishness-loss programme. Fasting makes our heart more tender before the Lord.
“Prayer without fasting seemed to lack seriousness (to the early church): words see such fluffy things! But when you feel something in your stomach, then you are earnest in your words. Then you are taking prayer seriously and asking God to take your needs seriously” (Thomas O’Loughlin, The Didache p.70).
Fast at least once a week and be specify about the intention of your fast.
3. In Lent Fix the Dent: Seek Repentance and Forgiveness
“Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.” Matthew 6:12
Lent is a time for deeper repentance from sin and compromise so we will please God and enjoy deeper intimacy. The Lord is ‘rich in mercy’ (Eph 2:4) and like the prodigal son we need to run back to God again (Luke 15:11-32).
However true reconciliation with God is not possible without real reconciliation with others. Our prayers, fasting and sacrifice will not count for much if we do not seek the grace to forgive anyone we are not at peace with, even if they are at fault.
Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift. Matthew 5: 23,24
Fix the dent by approaching the Sacrament of Reconciliation and asking for the grace to forgive from the heart and to reach out to others in genuine and practical love and service.
“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke?” Is. 58:6
“Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter — when you see the naked, to clothe him, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood? Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard.” Is. 58:3- 8