This Lent, give up taking the season too lightly

| Father Charles Lachowitzer | February 23, 2017

The “lite” has come into the world. We have lite music on lite FM, lite fermented beverages, lite microwave dinners, lite salad dressings and lite salt. Even the word “light” is lighter — it is spelled “L-I-T-E”.

When we see food advertised as “lite,” it generally means that it is not so heavy; not so filling; not so full of calories, cholesterol and other weighty stuff. But, because they are “lite,” they are supposed to be better for us.

Perhaps all this hype about “lite” has us believing that we are to also have a “Lent- lite” — you know, get rid of all that heavy stuff.

Lent used to be so heavy — so purple, so filled with all those extra times to go to church with heavy kneeling and heavy praying. The homilies during Lent used to be so heavy, too — all that stuff about our sins, the sins of the world, our need to go to confession, our need for repentance and conversion, our need for God.

But “Lent-lite” is different. When I do Lent-lite, I use mauve so that it’s not so heavy. I like lite homilies about God’s love and a bit of forgiveness for those few little sins I have. I give up the heavy foods like chocolate and meat, but keep the inner journey lite. I examine those things that need lite change, but I dare not get too heavy about it. After all, most of my problems aren’t my own fault anyway.

Lent-lite means that I get to think about the sin of the world, but I don’t want to do anything heavy like see my own personal responsibility in any of it. Lent-lite is a time to think about how the big, bad, wicked world out there really needs to change — so I better be good to myself and only think about little lite things so that my life is lighter.

Lent-lite means that I get to do lite-reflection — look at a few lite things in my life when I get time, say a few lite-prayers that I may be lighter with my neighbor and then lighten up by rewarding myself with a trip to the refrigerator to get a lite yogurt as part of my Lent-lite fast.

Ah, Lent-lite. I could make this Lenten season so easy by giving up chocolate-covered rutabagas, say an extra prayer here and there, and toss a few extra coins into some box for some good cause. But is that what is meant by a season of fasting, almsgiving and prayer?

Did our Lord go into the desert of temptations to simply suffer indigestion from hunger, daydream about riches and power, and then cross his fingers in a presumptive wish that if anything heavy happened, angels would save him anyway?

A reflective look at the temptations of Jesus in the desert reveals that our Lenten season is no lite romp down some well-worn path of habit. If all we do is give up candy, then our Lenten season will bring us to a basket of chocolate rabbits and jelly beans, delighting only our sweet tooth.

There is time before the Lenten season begins to prepare for a season where our fasting is done with purpose, our almsgiving done with intentional sacrifice, and our prayers made more fervent as the cross of Good Friday looms large, casting its shadow on our own mortality.

As our catechumens and candidates prepare in earnest for the sacraments of initiation, their repentance and conversion is an example for all of us who seek a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ and a blessed season of spiritual growth as disciples. A real Lent will bring us to real Easter joy.

We are invited to not accidentally do Lent-lite. It is good to take a moment or two and make sure that we have not mistakenly gone on a spiritual diet. It is a time to honestly reflect on our spiritual needs before the Lenten season begins so that we do not take God’s life-giving offer … too lightly.

Época de Cuaresma, no la viva tan a la ligera

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Category: Only Jesus

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