Lenten Reflections: First Week of Lent

Lenten Reflections

Everything in our lives is a gift from God! This Lenten season, grow in gratitude for what matters most. Join us for Everyday Stewardship Lenten Reflections with Tracy Earl Welliver. Discover inspiration and challenge for your stewardship way of life.

Benjamin Franklin once said, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” We all need time to prepare for important things in our lives. Lent is a time of preparation for Easter, but too often, the weeks pass us by too quickly and we find ourselves at Easter without any real sense of the magnitude of the celebration. It doesn’t get bigger than the death and resurrection of Our Lord as far as events go. However, what we do in these weeks of Lent will make all the difference as to what impact the Easter mysteries have on us.

What am I doing this Lent to truly prepare for Easter?

We are called to see Jesus Christ in each other. It is easy to see Jesus in our friends and family, but it’s harder to see him in those we do not know or those with whom we do not get along. But all are made in the image of God. When we work together and help one another in time of need, that is when the divine image can be more clearly seen by all.

Where have I missed to see the face of Jesus recently in another person?

Prayer is about more than simply communicating with God. It can simply be resting in the presence of God.Unfortunately, too many of us never slow down enough to communicate clearly with God, let alone rest quietly in His presence. If you don’t slow down, not only will you hurt your relationship with God, you will also find relationships with family and friends lacking. Slow down. Listen. Rest. That is God’s will for each of us.

When I pray the Lord’s Prayer, do I really understand what I am saying?

Lent is a season of symbols: ashes, crosses, and palms, to name a few. These things remind us of greater realities. Using them allows each of us to enter more fully into the experience of Jesus’s Passion. However, if we simply use them as décor, we miss out on their value. The next time you place a cross on your neck or pass by a crucifix on the wall, take a moment to ask the question of what that symbol means to you. Hopefully, you don’t have to think too long.

What does the cross of Jesus Christ really say to me as a disciple?

Imagine someone asked you the question, “Who is Jesus?” What would you respond? Some will respond with a theological answer that satisfies the question; however, the answer will come with no real personal knowledge of Jesus. When we are asked to talk about close friends or relatives, we find we have much to say and just talking about them brings about an emotional response. If you have a truly meaningful relationship with Jesus, shouldn’t that be indicated in your response?

How would I describe my relationship with Jesus?

When you go to Mass and the sign of peace occurs, can you imagine anyone in your life that you would refuse to shake hands with? Jesus is very clear that we will be judged in a manner that reflects the way we have judged others. It is hard to truly love when we harbor resentment and ill will toward another. Lent is a perfect time for reconciliation, not just with God but also with all of God’s children. Only the reconciled person has the chance to truly love freely.

With whom do I need to be reconciled?

Lent is a season for love. Yes, we focus on self-denial, prayer, sacrifice, and penance. But we do that out of love — love of others and love of God. If we attempt to dive into the devotions and practices of Lent without a focus or defined purpose, then we risk bearing no fruit when the season is over. Love is the purpose and love will be the fruit. Why retell the story of Christ’s death and resurrection each year if not to illustrate his love for us. May we continually seek to grow in that love and offer that love in turn.

Do I truly seek to love others as Jesus Christ loves me?

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