February 24, 2009

The Purpose of Lent

The purpose of Lent is to keep alive in our consciousness and our life the fact that being a Christian can only take the form of becoming a Christian ever anew; that it is not an event now over and done with, but a process requiring constant practice. Let us ask then: What does it mean to become a Christian? How does this take place?... If individuals are to become Christians, they need the strength to overcome; they need the power to stand fast against the natural tendency to let themselves be carried along.

Life in the most inclusive sense has been defined as "resistance to the pull of gravity". Only where such is expended is there life; where the effort ceases life too ceases. If this is true in the biological sphere, it is all the more true in the spiritual. The human person is the being which does not become itself automatically. Nor does it do so simply by letting itself be carried along and surrendering to the natural gravitational pull of a kind of vegetative life. It becomes itself always and only by struggling against the tendency simply to vegetate and by dint of a discipline that is able to rise above the pressures of routine and to liberate the self from the compulsions of of utilitarian goals and instincts.

Our world is so full of what immediately impinges on our senses that we are in danger of seeing only details and losing sight of the whole. It take effort to see beyond what is right in front of us and to free ourselves from the tyranny of what directly presses upon us.
~ Benedictus: Day by Day with Pope Benedict XVI

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the wonderful meditation to start Lent of with!

    Recently, I heard a priest say in a homily (and I thought it very interesting, that is why I'm sharing it with y'all) that Lent is a time to not only avoid sin, but more importantly to grow in virtue. He said that if we just avoid sin, it is like standing on the edge of a cliff, trying not to fall off. But, if we strive to grow in virtue, it is like walking away from the edge. I just thought that was really neat!

    God bless,


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