The Holy Fast of Lent

In all three readings this Sunday, the Word of God calls us to holiness. It is not a holiness that we find from solely within ourselves, as if we obtain it by our own will power alone or external upright moral behaviour. It is a holiness that first and foremost comes as a gift from God, to be like Him and invited to experience on this earth the eternal bliss and beatitude of the world to come.

Holiness is a path that every Christian is required to take. Holiness is not simply for those in the priesthood or religious life but within every vocation and walk of life. It is something we are to strive for on a daily basis, but the Lenten season allows us to give a greater focus and practice of those works that help us to be Holy as God is Holy.

In prayer, we experience communion with God. We are invited to draw close to Him and open our hearts to Him, that the experience of being in His presence, most wonderfully when we pray before the Blessed Sacrament but also in the quiet of our own homes or walking outdoors on a brisk winter day, should be a time where we know the holiness of God is near and where His holiness can enter more deeply into our lives, that we might be more like Him in thought, word and deed.

In penance and fasting, we willfully deny ourselves both the good things of this earth to make more room in our lives for God and avoid those things which are sources of temptation for us and too easily draw us into sin, allowing it fill and dominate our lives as opposed to the holiness of God which St Paul taught is meant to be ever present within us since we are Temples of the Holy Spirit.

In almsgiving, not only do we support noble charitable works, most notably the works of the Church and ongoing financial wellbeing of our parish, but we also see in our sacrificial gifts a means of happiness that far exceeds the ongoing consumption of material things, as well as being a means to blot out the consequences of our sins, as was repeatedly taught into both the Old and New Testaments.

May we pray for each other that his Lent be a time of holiness for us all!