My thoughts on the Lenten Journey:
Let's say that you had the opportunity to really walk with Jesus through the desert for 40 days... but on this journey, He asks you to follow Him... really and truly.... and not just for these Forty Days. This is the BEGINNING of your journey with Him. Would you be serious about it or just brush it off and say, "Well, I can change my life anytime. I will offer something up but if You are REALLY asking me to FOLLOW YOU, well, I am not ready to that just yet."
Jesus will wait... He is very patient. But as a Christian, as a Catholic, a Christian literally MEANS one who follows Christ. It isn't just a nice word. He means what He says: "Follow Me."
This is what Lent is ALL about. Really and truly taking these 40 days to be off alone in the desert with Jesus... to deny ourselves, take up our cross and to follow Him. Jesus was very serious when He said, beginning His ministry... "Repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand." We need to seriously take that call to no longer hold on to the way of the world and beginning the only Way, God's Way, to eternal life. This means, no more getting drunk, no more sleeping around, no more pornography, no more cursing or swearing, no more being disrespectful to our parents or anyone with authority, no more fighting or arguing...and to truly begin to love others with Christ's love. This is not easy.... but then again... this is Lent and this is what it means to be a Christian.
Lent is not just about turning away from sin and darkness in all its forms. It is primarily aboud doing this so that we can come CLOSER TO GOD. This would include but not limited to:
~ Taking more time every day to be alone with God in prayer. Prayer is not primarily speaking to God, but more caught up with LISTENING to Him, being led by Him in our daily life. Remember this when you are going to meet Him. He desires to speak with you.
~ Take time to adore Him and literally be before Him in His True Presence in Adoration. Take at least one hour each week to be with Him in this most unique way of being before Him face to face. Jesus asks us at His agony in the garden... "Can you not spend one hour with Me?"
~ Jesus is truly present in the Eucharist and unless we eat His Flesh and Drink His Blood we do not have Life within us. Seek Jesus in the Eucharist and receive Him every day if possible by going to daily Mass. Remember, that literally, we can do NOTHING with Him living in us and giving us His strength.
~ Go more frequently to Confession. We can't come closer to God if we remain in sin and in brokenness. Also, remember Jesus doesn't just want your sins that He suffered and died for, He also wants you to open up your wounds to Him so He can heal you. Lay before Him any wounds that you carry in life... bring them before Him in Confession, surrender them to Him and let it go forever. It truly is a Sacrament of Healing and Reconciliation.
~ He is also present before you and speaking to you every time you read the Bible. The Bible literally is the Word of God. Jesus can speak to you every day if you want. Just open up the Word, the Gospels, and listen to Him speaking to you. Sit at His Feet and learn from Him.
~ Be more aggressive in turning away for the world and what is of it during Lent. Place your heart on the things of God and eternal life in Heaven. Turn off the TV, the radio, get away from the computer and computer games... Jesus desires to be with you, will you let Him?
~ Remember that when Jesus began His journey in this world He did it in the solitude of a lowly manger, wrapped in swaddling clothes. He says to us, "That which you do to the least of my brothers and sisters you do to Me.... When I was hungry, you game Me food. When I was thirsty, you gave Me drink. When I was sick or alone, you comforted Me. I was in prison and you visited Me." Seek Jesus in the poor, the lonely, and the desititute during Lent. Make this the beginning of your service to Him through the poor and the needy.
These are not demands... Jesus asks us to Follow Him, to deny ourselves and live for Him. We can take up the invitation or turn away from it. Start small... and build on it little by little. Take what you can do and do not worry about the rest. If we take on too much we won't be able to do any of it. But make this a new beginning of your new life with Our Lord.... this IS what Lent is about.