Lenten Reflection

Rev. Raymond Harris, Chaplain

Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent, a season of forty days observed by most Christians. It is a time in which Catholic Christians prepare for the celebration of the Paschal Triduum - the Three Days of the Christian Passover. We will commemorate the passion, death, and resurrection of the Lord on Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and the Easter Vigil, respectively.

We are preparing to renew our commitment to follow our Lord Jesus Christ through the ministry of the Church. Our catechumens (those who have never been baptized) and candidates for full communion with the Catholic Church (those who were baptized in another Christian denomination) are preparing to be received into the Catholic Church during the Easter Vigil. Those who are already members of the Catholic Church are preparing to renew their baptismal promises on Easter Sunday.

Lent is a penitential season. The purpose of penance is to soberly examine our lives in light of the love of God. God has loved you before you could return love to God. God believes in your potential even when you have doubted His existence. God never gives up on you even when you were tempted to give up on yourself. You are special to God. You are His child. You have a dignity that no one can take away from you because they did not give it to you. How have we chosen to respond to this great Gift?

When we respond to God's invitation to live in fellowship with Him, it is done with confidence that God will never reject us. God loves us as we are now. However, it is precisely due to God's love for us that He does not want to leave us as we are now. Jesus teaches us what it means to be truly human. By His grace, we can give up those things that lead us away from God so that we can be free to live as His children and reach out in love toward others.

God is reaching out to us with His steadfast love. "Steadfast love" is the definition of the Hebrew word for "mercy." This love can heal the wounds of our sins. Repentance is not a negative concept. We are changing our minds about those actions that have alienated us from God and others. We are turning toward our Saving God, who restores us to our true identity as His children and helps us to live in a right relationship with Him and with one another.

God will not restore us to our true identity as His children without our cooperation. The Office of Campus Ministry and Community Service has many liturgical, formative, and service activities that can assist you during this season. Take advantage of them.

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