Sometimes we simply cannot continue with “business as usual”. Our “business as usual” is our accommodation with the world. The Church knows that we cannot simply continue with “business as usual”. That is why we have always had Lent.
Something has to give. Something has to change. Our faith cannot simply be an external practice. The words of Ash Wednesday are always,
“Remember man that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”
There is a cosmic battle going on, and we are in the middle of it. It is our battle. The battle is all about our salvation. We cannot afford “business as usual”. Something has to change.
In the Opening Prayer we prayed,
“… as we take up battle against spiritual evils,
we may be armed with weapons of spiritual restraint.”
There is a war going on for our souls. Who is winning? How am I doing with my spiritual battle, so that the world will not win in me and dominate me?
Lent is the time for taking stock of our spiritual practices. Lent is a time for repentance, and works of penance.
Are you coming for ashes today, but can’t find it in your heart to Keep the Sabbath and attend Mass on Sundays and holy days. Who is winning in that battle?
Are you receiving ashes today and not praying? Who is winning that battle?
Something has to change!
Are you receiving ashes today and not tithing? What kind of spiritual poverty is that?
Are you coming for ashes and not going to Confession? The Church requires Catholics to go to Confession once per year. What if the Church told us to only to take a bath only once per year? Personally, I have to go to Confession more frequently or I simply get out of the habit of examining my sinfulness and my lifestyle. I try to go once every month or two.
What is fasting all about? Is fasting simply to make us uncomfortable? No! Something has to change. We all need to strengthen our will power with weapons of self- restraint. If we don’t, then we allow the world to always win with us. Fasting and penance help to give us more self-discipline so that we don’t allow our lives to be dominated by our appetites and desires. We will only have personal freedom if we make ourselves free through regular penance. These are the weapons of spiritual restraint. Something has to change.
However, don’t try to fast without prayer and almsgiving. That is simply self-abuse. Penance and fasting, prayer and giving; this is the business of Lent.
We hope in the Resurrection. We are climbing the mountain to Easter. We will share in the Resurrection if we persevere in repentance and spiritual growth. The Resurrection is not automatic. Eternal life requires some change on our part. Something has to change.