The start of this Lenten blog does not seem like the start of a Lenten blog. When we think of Lent, we think of purifying ourselves of our sins, doing penances, denying ourselves the fruits of creation. Essentially, when we think of Lent, we think of almost anything but what the blog has covered thus far: God’s love and the goodness of creation. However, there is a purpose to these strangely cheerful reflections at the start of Lent. The very first Scripture reading of the Lenten season is from the prophet Joel. In it, God declares “return to me with your whole heart” (2:12). The purpose of Lent is not purification and penance for their own sakes, but in order to return to God, and re-establish the relationship with Him that we once had (or to establish the relationship we are called to have). Thus, to better engage in various Lenten practices and penances, we first meditate on the loving relationship that we are made to have with God. This way, we can remember why it is that we do these things.
Moreover, in considering the ways in which we have sinned against God, misuse of creation is a major part of the picture for most people. So we remind ourselves not only how we are called to relate with God, but how God wishes us to relate with His creation. In first thinking about the right use of the gifts God has given to us, we can see even more clearly what we have done in wrongly using God’s gifts, as well as how to reform our lives so that we do use God’s gifts properly.
Typically, for this blog the weekends in Lent are dedicated to weekend repetitions. This weekend, use your time in prayer to go back to one or two of this week’s reflections, and remind yourself of that relationship God is calling you to be in, how to better use his gifts, and the ultimate purpose of our Lenten practices.