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It's Lent, Lent, time to repent.

“It’s Lent, Lent, time to repent. It’s Lent, Lent, our wills they get bent by what we’ve done and failed to do. Ask for mercy; He’ll give it to you.”

Thank you, Dogma Dogs! That’s right it’s the fourth week of the Penitential Season we all love. We four second-year novices returned to Alton from 6 months of our Apostolic Mission just in time to start the season of penance and self denial. Lent is a time in which we strive to be more conformed to Christ crucified, and as His disciples, daily taking up our cross and following Him, and yet most of us seem to wince a bit at the start of Lent. We go from Fat Tuesday, getting rid of all our sweets and goodies, to Ash Wednesday, getting a visible reminder that we are dust and to dust we shall return.

This being my third year living the life of a religious sister, preparing to make my first profession of vows, Lent has come to mean so much more to me than a 40-day religious weight loss program, more than giving things up, and even more than doing extra acts of charity. Of course those things are important, (sans the focus on calorie cutting) but truly the deeper meaning of Lent has become much more clear to me these past few years.

Although Lent has yet to be my favorite Liturgical Season, I do, in a sense look forward to it. Do I find penance and self denial easy and enjoyable? No, I must confess that those things will always be a challenge for me, as they are for most of us. But I’ve come to realize, especially as I worked with high school students in New Jersey, that there’s something in each of us that wants a challenge. We want to go higher, strive for the greater, accomplish trivial tasks, and reach the goal. We long for more, we are made for more. The students I worked with in New Jersey, and all young people, want desperately to give of themselves and know that they have what it takes to be the saints they were created to be.

Lent, I told the students while I was on mission, is more than giving things up, more than fasting and penance. Lent, I’ve come to learn, is a great gift given to us from God, through the Church. It allows us to become one with Jesus Christ, who humbled Himself, emptied Himself of His glory so that we might live for ever in that Glory that is Himself.

Lent is a time that, if we enter in fully, can transform us from the inside out, should unite us to the One who makes all things new, and can fill us with a peace and joy the world cannot give.

So this is the challenge – all of you who are made from dust and are returning to dust – allow this Lenten season to begin to transform you into the saint you are created to be. Be joyful in the knowledge that He produces all the good in you through His grace and only through His cross can we experience the Resurrection. Remember that those Lenten resolutions are for, with, and through a person: JESUS CHRIST. So, do not lose heart, the dawn is breaking. You are in our prayers as we strive to do the same!

Pax et bonum!

Sr. Mariela, FSGM

Comments

Thanks for sharing! This Lent has been particularly fruitful to me. It's like God is calling me back. I've also reflected about the happiest times in my life, and I have learned that such times consist of the following: Either I have given of myself wholeheartedly, or some other person has given of himself/herself to me. I guess that's so close to what love is like ;)

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