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Why we should accept the call of Lent

Św. Weronika ociera twarz Jezusowi

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Philip Kosloski - published on 02/15/24

St. John Paul II urges us all to accept the call and challenge of Lent, embracing it with our entire being, instead of brushing it off as too difficult.

For many of us, we may want to embrace the season of Lent, but find ourselves at the end of Ash Wednesday already breaking our personal disciplines.

St. John Paul II urges us all to see Lent as an opportunity for growth and to accept it. He reflected on this call during his Ash Wednesday homily in 1981:

Accepting the call of Lent means accepting the call to a particular cooperation with Grace. This call is pronounced with the words of the liturgy, but it must resonate deeply in the heart and consciousness of each of us.

He goes on to say how, “accepting the call of Lent means accepting the call to a particular cooperation with Christ: “Working together with him, then, we entreat you not to accept the grace of God in vain. For he says, ‘At the acceptable time I have listened to you, and helped you on the day of salvation'” (2 Cor 6.1-2).

Lent is a time to accept God’s call to conversion, where we evaluate our lives and see where we need to improve, so that we can receive God’s many graces.

Sacrifice and God’s love

Above all, the various sacrifices we make during Lent should all go back to the love of God imitating his sacrifice on the cross:

[T]he cross is revealed before the eyes of our soul, that is, love.
Proclaiming fasting means remembering this Love with all its force! Remember the cross!

Accepting fasting means accepting the revelation of this love: finding oneself in the dimensions of this love-mercy.

Everything during Lent returns to the cross, which is God’s most clear sign of his love for us.

As we go through Lent, may we accept the spirit of prayer, fasting and almsgiving and see it as a response to God’s love.

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