Are you preparing for Lent?
Do you know that Lent is less than two weeks away? Ash Wednesday falls on 14th February this year. Let’s not wait until Shrove Tuesday to decide what we’re going to do for Lent! Now is the time to prepare ourselves.
A good preparation for Lent is to ask ourselves, “What in my life needs to change?” If you were to die today, what would happen when you had to stand before the Judgment Seat of JESUS Christ? We would all like Him to say to us, “Well done, good and faithful servant … enter into the joy of your master” (Matthew 24:21), but is that what He would say to us? It’s not enough to say, “I believe in JESUS.” Remember, even the devil believes in JESUS and knows Who He is, as we heard in last week’s Gospel (Mark 1:21-28). Our Lord told us, “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.” (Matthew 7:13-14). Unfortunately we all want the easy way, but JESUS told us that is not the way that leads to life. And so that’s why over the next few days we really need to look at ourselves and see what we need to change in our own lives.
What is it I do all the time that offends God? What are the sins I bring up constantly in Confession? Take one of your main weaknesses and work on that. There’s no point in giving up chocolate and alcohol if I merrily carry on sinning! So we need to be serious. There are terrible things going on in the world today and we don’t know what the future may hold for us or our country. So we need to be ready, and not just with food stacked up in the cellar. We need to have our souls ready.
Increase your prayer life. This is most important. If you’re just saying an Our Father and Hail Mary each day, that’s not enough. We must all be seeking deeper union with JESUS. Spend time before Him in the Blessed Sacrament. The church is open a lot during the day, and there are two hours of Adoration every Saturday morning between 10.30am and 12.30pm concluding with Benediction. Read and meditate on the Scriptures, especially the Gospels. Say the Rosary devoutly thinking on the mysteries. And then through that growth in the spiritual life, it becomes much easier to address the other areas in your life that need attention, like anger or lack of faith, addictions and so on. Then God will give you the grace to improve on them. This is the hard road to sanctity we are all being called to. “If anyone would come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me” (Luke 9:23). In other words, don’t think as the world thinks. Think as Christ thinks. Be faithful to Him. Keep the Commandments. Obey the moral law as the Church has always understood it. If we strive to do these things, even if we sometimes fall, we will be pleasing to God, and He will reward us for our labours with eternal life.
Fr Paul Gillham, IC