Lent! What comes to mind when you here the word? For many of you, probably words
like penance, fasting, sacrifice, purple, ashes, cross, etc. I would like you to
think about Lent in a different way this year—Baptism!
Did you know that in the 4th century, a process was designed to help people enter
the church. The process took about three years and at the end of the time the candidates
entered into a 40 day retreat for their final preparation to receiving the sacraments.
This process was called LENT! This time was part of the “RCIA” process.
For those who were already baptized and fully initiated as Christians, this 40 day
period was a time to unite themselves in prayer and support with the catechumens
and was supposed to remind them of their own baptismal promises.
It wasn’t until centuries later when the focus of Baptism shifted from adults to
infants that Lent then began to focus more on penance and sacrifice.
But Vatican II has asked us to look again at the baptismal focus for Lent. What
does your baptism mean to you? Whether you can remember your baptism ceremony or
not, the promises made then last a lifetime.
On Ash Wednesday, we traditionally receive ashes on our forehead as Father or the
designated person who distributes them says: “Turn away from sin and be faithful
to the Gospel.” This is a reminder to us of the promises made at our baptism. “Do
you reject sin so as to live in the freedom of God’s children?” “Do you reject satan,
father of sin and prince of darkness?” and so on.
How do you name the evil in your life? Control? Alcoholism or other addictions?
Past hurts and grudges? Lack of practicing your faith? Are you really free?
The words “be faithful to the Gospel” reminds us that we promised to “believe in
God the Father almighty…believe in Jesus Christ his only Son…believe in the Holy
Spirit…” and so forth.
How have you lived as a child of God? By service? Going to Church? Giving alms?
Prayer? Respecting yourself and others as made in God’s image?
Take some time this Lent to reflect on the responsibility you have to live your baptismal
promises and allow yourself to be guided this Lent. Is your Lenten resolution something
that will truly affect your daily living? If not, Why? Isn’t that what it’s all
Together let us be able to say on Easter our “I do’s to reject satan and live in
the freedom of God’s children have been a success!