There is a small but very real part of my soul that jumps for joy and also sings praises when Lent approaches. It’s that very small but very real part of my soul that truly acknowledges both my humanity and mortality. It’s from that very same place that, at times, erupts a graced urge effecting all my being to strive after God and to seek His holiness amidst the struggles of this very real and broken journey. That core and deepest recess of my soul – where God resides – is that Source from where these quiet pre-Lenten songs of praises and joy emerge as I approach as this Ash Wednesday.
Every Lenten season, with its unique myriad of sacrifices and challenges, ultimately aims at one real and concrete Lenten goal for each participant: to better know and experience the God, Who rests in the depths of our hearts and souls, as we live more fully like that God in each relationship and community we are apart of.
Lent is a time of spiritual planting, pruning, fertilizing and reseeding our life’s gardens. If this year’s Lenten journey is to truly bear fruit, each of us should spend some prayerful time discerning how best we can utilize this season and its invitations/challenges at this specific point in our journey to heaven.
Spiritually discerning what is best often requires some prayerful dialogue and listening to/with members of one’s church family, loved ones, one’s spiritual advisor and/or perhaps even one’s priest/minister – listening with both our heads and our hearts!
To spiritually discern what God’s plan may be for us this Lent will probably also require some prayer time – with much of it focused on just listening to and being with God, after having asked the Father to guide and reveal it through the Holy Spirit.
Finding, resting in and listening to God in the real, bottomless depths of our hearts and souls – there, we can find out what God plans for each of us and which choices are best as we chart a course across the spiritual seas of Lent once again…
May the Spirit guide you to slow down and to prayerfully plan out your Lenten journey this season. In the same way that your birthdays, vacations and traditional holidays are made more joyous and celebratory with planning, so can your Lenten season become that much more grace filled and spiritually transformative because of a little prayerful planning made in advance.