THE SECRET TO A GREAT LENT
How Can I Make My Lenten Resolutions Truly Meaningful?
On our Lenten Journey we are called to fast, pray and give alms in preparation for Our Lord’s Passion, Death and Resurrection. Fasting, praying and almsgiving… we know what they mean, or do we? This Lent, I’ve challenged myself to move beyond conventional thinking about the Lenten season and consider the “secret” of having the best Lenten season ever. It’s something that is before each of us all the time, yet it’s incredibly easy to loose sight of.
The Forgotten Partner
Fr. Anthony Giambrone feels that almsgiving is the forgotten partner in our Lenten resolutions. He writes that “Works of mercy hold the key, for they animate our acts with love.” He concludes by saying that “Charity is the supernatural secret of this season.” But where do we find this CHARITY? And how do we make ACTS OF MERCY bring our love into our actions for others?
The Secret is Generosity
St. Gregory of Nazianzen writes: “Resolve to imitate God’s generosity, and no one will be poor. Let us not labor to heap up and hoard riches while others remain in need. Is it not God who asks you now in your turn to show yourself generous above all other creatures? Because we have received from him so many wonderful gifts, will we not be ashamed to refuse him this one thing only, our generosity?”
The secret then, is GENEROSITY in giving of ourselves, just as God has given everything to us. Far more than our monetary resources, true generosity demands the love and mercy of the Father, who showed his generosity in the gift of Christ Jesus… incarnate. One who knows us, loves us and sacrificed himself for us. Can we truly be any less generous?
(Deacon Tim McNerney, at The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, Washington, D.C.)