Being from New Orleans, it’s hard to avoid Lent. We see it begin with the ashes on foreheads the day after Mardi Gras. We, by the sheer culture of our city, know when Lent is. It begins as Mardi Gras is over and ends with Easter. “You give up anything for Lent?” becomes the subject of most conversations.
Liturgically (a fancy word for the sacred rhythms of worship to God), Lent is a season set aside for fasting and prayer. We choose to go without something in our lives to make space to meditate on Christ’s life and death. Focusing on Christ tends to reveal sin, which draws us to respond with repentance.
“We go without in order to gain Christ,” my Fundamentals of Catholicism Professor explained in class one day as Lent was approaching. You can take or leave that statement, but it’s true. Our lives can easily become cluttered and distracted, shifting our focus from Christ to the things that falsely promise to fill us yet only leaves us wanting. Even good things can keep us from prayerfully pursuing a life filled with the fullness of God.
What my professor was trying to say was this: We fast from something in order to focus our lives on the One who is Life. By repeatedly sacrificing something we desire, we let go of lesser loves in order to join the Spirit in cultivating our love for Christ. We give something up to experience the joy of knowing him more.
Consider these questions before starting this Lent:
Do you want to know God more?
Do you want to fall in love with his Word?
Take some time to pray over your season of Lent. Ask God to lead you in deciding what you may give up that would help you know him more. Ask God to meet you in your need. Ask for grace to humble yourself before him to do a work in you that you cannot do yourself.
In your intentional step of faith to hunger, may you find that he alone satisfies.