March 2001, Volume 6, Issue 8   
Lent, a Time to Reflect
Rev. Mark Connolly
First Sunday of Lent
Second Sunday of Lent
Rev. Mark Connolly
Third Sunday of Lent
Fourth Sunday of Lent
Thought for the Month
Henry A. Tuckett
Lent is for Lovers
Rev. Raymond K. Petrucci
Prayer of Reconciliation
Saint of the Month
Catholic Corner
Lent is for lovers

Rev. Raymond K. Petrucci

The tourism board of the State of Virginia promoted the various attractions of the state through the use of the slogan: Virginia is for Lovers.

Father Raymond K. Petrucci

One might advance the spiritual attractions of the liturgical season of Lent in the same way. Lent is for lovers because its focus is on Christ.

The irreducible message of Jesus for all people of all times is one of radical love. By this, I mean that love must be fundamental to one's being. The Latin term radicalis means having roots. The purpose of existence is to become increasing aware of being rooted in the love of God and of being called to reflect that love in one's life. A grim and foreboding aspect of Lent is that it eradicates pretense and exposes the conflicts within one's nature in fulfilling Christ's command.

The heart of Lent beats with the sound of God's loving truth that one's soul is not irrecoverable and is not condemned to the thraldom of the anti-life of sin. Depending on the grace and mercy of God, the work of Lent beings. In the manner of a student preparing for a final examination or an athlete training for a championship, the abnegations of Lent are designed for achievement and growth on a spiritual plane. Note, indeed, that it is through the very renunciation of particular themes or actions operating in one's life that others of authentic benefit might be affirmed. The object of willfully expending all of this spiritual energy is to enhance the quality of one's relationship to God, others, and self. This quality of which I speak is none other than love. Self-denial is no stranger to those who love. Essential to attaining these goals, one must break the spell of spiritual inertia by applying to one's character the searing fire of conscience.

The human being is a work of art in progress. He or she is unique in that the artist and the object are one. While the tools of one's craft, in this case, are spiritual the inspiration and dedication are similar. One's living ought to reveal something, to make an impact on life, and to evoke a feeling of fulfillment. Life must matter. Therefore, the molding and refining of one's character speaks to an understanding of one's personal significance and of one's ultimate goals. The possession of a sense of certitude that life itself and the lives of each individual have an eternal meaning and purpose is rooted in the belief that life and all that exists are the handiwork of a loving God. Lacking this conviction, the entire universe is pointless. Thus, a commentator on Karl Marx and the atheistic creed of Marxism stated, "He speaks often of human dignity, but just what human dignity is, he does not tell us, nor has any adequate Marxist philosopher or poet told us: it is not a subject that comes within the scope of their science." Lent compels one to address the self-degradation of sin by contritely seeking the purgative and healing mercy of God.

The season of Lent is an invitation to trust in God's love. Bolstered with this assurance, one strives to grow in sanctity. The love of God, therefore, becomes a courier of that comforting support by which a person hopefully walks down both the light and the dark corridors of his or her soul and emerges with an increase of wisdom, with a deeper self awareness, and with a plan. There is a certain irony in this strategy. During the time of one's earthly sojourn, the way to sanctity seems to require the acceptance of sacrifices and burdens that lead, however, to an experience of living in God's grace and of discovering fulfillment, contentment and purpose. Lent is for lovers. From love, through love, to love is a fitting description of the course one takes in faithfully engaging in the courageous and enriching journey of Lent.

back to top


copyright 2001 Clemons Productions Inc. and the Diocese of Bridgeport
home authors Spirituality's Home Page