Lent Retreat – Week 1, Tuesday
Often in Lent we can feel like the efforts that we make to change our lives in this season of joyful repentance make very little difference. We try our best, failing to keep our Lenten pledges occasionally and then when Easter has come and gone we feel no different from how we were before. The readings today at Mass teach us why this attitude is wrong. In all that we do, especially when it comes to things that we do out of love for God and our neighbour, we must trust in God to bring about the good. In the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus teaches that us if we want to be good Christians we must let God take control. The Our Father, which should be the model for all of our prayer, puts all the stress on God and his will for us, for without him we can do nothing. The efforts that we make in Lent should never be seen as a human attempt to make ourselves holy by sheer force of discipline and effort. This approach could never succeed. Instead we should practice our Lenten observances with the view that what we are doing when we deny ourselves, by giving up something we enjoy, is that we are making a space for God in our lives. Ridding ourselves of some of the distractions with which we fill up our time and our minds helps us to let God in. As well as this guiding principle, if we remember to make the intention to offer up our penance for the holy souls in purgatory then we also help those who have gone before us. May this Lent be for us a return of simple trust in our Father who loves us.