“Lent is here!” By: Brian Flanagan, Fiat Ventures

Flickr Photo By Jenavieve

First Sunday of Lent

As I write this, the ashes are still on my forehead.  Earlier today at Ash Wednesday Mass, I had a nice big cross.  Now I have a faded gray smudge.  I always see how long I can go on Ash Wednesday before accidentally touching my forehead and ruining the priest’s hard work.  Today I made it about 5 hours.  Impressed?

By now, you’ve probably decided what you’re doing for Lent.  Maybe on Fat Tuesday night you had some last fried mozzarella sticks for the road, and now you’re sticking to salad.  Or maybe you’re going to double down on getting some time in every day to pray.  Maybe you’re going to donate some clothes to the poor, or do the one-two punch of giving up your grande caramel macchiatos from Starbucks, and then donating the money you would have spent to those in need.  All admirable things to do, and hopefully all will bring you closer to God and further from sin, which is the whole point.

We hear plenty about prayer, fasting, and almsgiving during Lent, so I wanted to throw out another question for reflection during these 40 days.  What is it that you need to be healed of?

Lent is the time of year where more than any other time, we allow ourselves to look at our spiritual lives under a microscope.  We often will go to confession and really try to work on those areas of sin that we often struggle with.  And rightly so.

But sometimes we focus so narrowly on sin, on what we’re doing or not doing, that we don’t think about the question of where Jesus can do some healing in our lives.  I don’t know about you, but in the middle of the summer, or doing my Christmas shopping, I just don’t have the same spiritual focus.  But during Lent, when we’re making some space in our lives by giving some things up and taking more time to pray, it can be a great time for us to think about this.

Now you may be thinking, “But Brian I’m as healthy as a horse.  No broken bones, no chronic illnesses, thank God.  I don’t really need to be healed of anything.”  If you’re thinking that, I’d suggest that this question of “what do I need to be healed of?” is exactly what you could spend some time reflecting on this Lent.  Maybe you’ve been hurt by someone in some way or another and have never really looked into the toll it’s taken on you.  Maybe there’s a sin or a habit in your life that you’ve been forgiven of, but you feel like has done some damage.  Or maybe you have some unhealthy attachments that you can’t quite seem to get free of.  Maybe like the man born blind who we hear about during Lent, God’s trying to show you something about a big decision coming up, but you can’t see it right now because of your pride and need him to open your eyes. 

We’re all broken in one way or another and need to be healed.  And often healing is helped along by other people you can talk with about it; whether it be a spiritual friend, a priest, a parent, a therapist, a youth minister, etc. 

So do some reflecting, ask God not only for forgiveness for sins, but for healing as well, and look toward Easter when you can chow down on whatever you gave up, both at peace and made new.

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