Lo, I am about to create new heavens
and a new earth;
The things of the past shall not be remembered
or come to mind.
Instead, there shall always be rejoicing and happiness
in what I create;
For I create Jerusalem to be a joy
and its people to be a delight;
I will rejoice in Jerusalem
and exult in my people.
No longer shall the sound of weeping be heard there,
or the sound of crying;
No longer shall there be in it
an infant who lives but a few days,
or an old man who does not round out his full lifetime;
He dies a mere youth who reaches but a hundred years,
and he who fails of a hundred shall be thought accursed.
They shall live in the houses they build,
and eat the fruit of the vineyards they plant.
Lent is all about creating something new. The word Lent comes from the word for spring, the time when new things are growing and God’s creation comes out of hibernation. In the same way that the world is transformed and made beautiful in the spring, Lent is a time when God transforms us and makes us better versions of ourselves. We take this time to pray, fast, and give alms, and what we are really taking the time to do is to let God into our lives more fully. When we do this, we allow God to change us into people who are closer to Him, and more able to follow Him. Often, Lent is thought of as a sad season, but in thinking about it in the context of springtime and Easter, it is easy to see how it can be happy in a way. Although we remember the death of Jesus, we remember it in the context of the resurrection and Easter season that will come after. We know that by this remembrance and through our penance and sacrifices we will become flosser to God, and therefore live fuller and happier lives and bring more love into the world. Although Lent is often thought of as a sad season, the opportunities it provides to become closer to God are anything but.
Use the time you are given during Lent to see how much God is working in your lives, and how much He wants you to become closer to Him. Every time we remember to abstain from meat on a Friday, we remember God, and we remember to look for Him in the world. As we see God more and more, we can become closer to Him, and this is so much easier to do during Lent, a time when we are constantly reminded of God’s presence in the world, and the sacrifice Jesus made for us out of love. During this time, although we remember Jesus’ passion and death with sadness, we should also be overjoyed that He loves us enough to have a personal relationship with us. We can use this time to reflect on the most concrete example of how Christ loves us, his death and resurrection.
In remembering Christ’s death and resurrection, and Christ’s love for us, we should be moved to show similar love to others. We do not pray, fast, and give alms only to become closer to God, but also to show God’s love to others. We should pray for others, fast from what we do not need, and give away whatever we can. Sometimes this means giving food to a homeless person we may see on the streets, others it means giving a kind word to a classmate. In all cases it means showing God’s love to the least of God’s people, those from whom we expect nothing in return. God gives his love freely, but in receiving it, we should pass it on to anyone and everyone we can. It is too great a gift to keep to ourselves.