Now that we have completed our Lenten observances, a question that arises for many is: Where do we go from here?
During the just-completed Lenten Season, many of us, with the Lord’s help, have made progress in regard to the goal of becoming the best version of ourselves. Are we not at our best as we strive to be fully open to all that the Lord would give to us and do in and through us?
The Lenten Season has offered us an opportunity to grow in these directions. Perhaps we’ve been challenged to look at our priorities in life.
Many have come to discover that we can get along well and even happily in regard to what we gave up. Apart from the influence of God in our lives, we can easily be sucked into the popular notion that if you want to be happy, you have to have more and more of the goods and services that can be purchased with money. Where does this spiral to have more and more ever stop?
On the one hand, we do need goods and services which can be purchased to live as the Lord wants us to do this. And yet, unless we are on guard, yesterday’s luxuries can easily become today’s necessities. We can stress ourselves out in striving to obtain that which we are led to believe we have to have in order to be content. During Lent, many of us have come to discover that we can get along without that to which we would otherwise cling as a security blanket.
As a result of freeing ourselves from that which we do not need in order to live as the Lord wants us to live, a number of persons have found that there is time in our busy lives for prayer and for faith formation. During Lent, persons attended devotional services, participated in retreats and read material that relates our Faith to the realities of living in the present.
Making time and room for prayer and for faith formation has powerful effects in regard to relating to others. As results of doing this, we’ve become more aware of others and particularly of ways in which they are hurting. This has led to making proactive efforts to be there for persons and to help them as the Lord wants this to happen. We’ve embraced new opportunities to care for and serve others.
As we begin the Easter Season, we stand at a crossroads. Now that Lent is over, it can be tempting to gorge ourselves and to embrace self-indulgent living. After all, we’ve proven to ourselves that we can get along for a given period of time without that which we can legitimately enjoy.
It’s also possible to relate to the Easter Season as the affirmation of our Lenten observances. Hopefully, our celebration of Christ’s Resurrection will increase and deepen within us the desire and determination to live in the Lenten spirit.
Living in this way can be likened to the effect that working to lose excess weight can have on us. As we work to take off extra pounds, many of us feel better. We have more energy and enthusiasm for the actions of living.
Continuing to live in the Lenten spirit can have this kind of effect upon us spiritually. We can grow in a spirit of lightheartedness. We will have the desire, time and energy to reach out to others as the Lord wants us to do this. Are we not the best versions of ourselves as we strive to grow in these ways? I hope and pray that our observance of Easter will lead us in this direction.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Fr. Nelson Beaver