LENT

A TIME OF THE YEAR DEDICATED TO THE SOUL

2018-03-20

Why are we talking about Lent on a boutique site? At most in similar sites we talk about well-known personalities, of their latest collaboration, about the new shoes collection of some singers or of that blogger, all quite good things to discuss! We always read this type of staff in magazines, on the net but in the end you might get tired of it. We are just like 'shopping carts', containers to be filled with products, are we? Are we just a flag blown by the wind that sometimes brings you here and there? Is there a time dedicated to the soul, a time for the Transcendent? I would like to affirm that we should have this time of refreshment for the body and the soul, not only during Lent but in everyday life!

Let’s start with explaining what Lent is: the people of Israel lived forty years wandering in the desert on their way to the promised land. This period is called Exodus. A difficult time, the people doubted several times that God was in their midst, yet they had seen unheard of wonders in Egypt, and then the waters opened up, a column of clouds to guide them by day and one by night, had seen and they continually saw a cloud descend on the tent where the tables of the Covenant were placed and knew that Moses, the mildest man on earth, was talking face to face with God, as with a friend. In short, they had seen of prodigies, yet once the flesh was missing and they complained, once the water and so on. Each time God, through Moses, answered with wonders, the manna from heaven and the water that flows from the rock at a touch of the stick of Moses. Then in the end, this promised land arrived, a resurrection arrived, a home for this troubled people! Eventually they understand that God was really with them, that they had God for a father! 

Later on, Jesus will spend forty days in the desert, in prayer and fasting. The devil tried to tempt him: he said that those stones would become bread, thrown down from the temple and the angels will help you, I will give you all the kingdoms of the earth, then Jesus answered the devil : 'Go away, Satan! For it is written: 'The Lord your God will worship: to him alone you will make worship' '.Then the devil left him, and behold angels approached him and served him. 

The devil, who knows us well, always tries to make us slip down in bad habits, such as power, self-determination, be the god of yourself, glory and so on ... which are all lies. The glory of this world passes quickly, self-determination is an illusion first because we are not to give ourselves life instant by instant, second because everything is given, third because one day we will give everything back ...all of us enter the coffin poor ! The only glory that remains and which gives an eternal reward is that of the virtuous and holy actions accomplished in life, the saints never go out of fashion, their beauty shines for eternity. 

Let's go back to talk about Lent period... if all goes well there are those who make some or such other foil, there are those who remember maybe not to eat meat on Good Friday, right ... but ... is that all? In the first place this is a privileged time to be in the 'desert' yes, even in the city, to find a few more moments of contemplation or if we are not used to stand for a moment in a church or at home in the presence of God. I'm here, I listen to you '. Maybe we will not hear a direct word like Moses or like Samuel, but certainly we will feel more peace in the heart, this our heart that in today's society, in our cities is so taken by so many troubles, run from here and there, think of a thousand things ... yes we think of a thousand things, maybe all correct things, but we should let our heart rest little! 

Let's take a little 'breath ... said St. Augustine: 'you have made our hearts restless until it rests in you!'.Yes let us rest a little in Him! 

We are approaching the Holy Week, we also think of this: He gave his life for you, took all our sins upon himself. He would do it just for you! Saint John says: 'For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whoever believes in him should not die but have eternal life' (Jn 3: 16-18). If we think of God, we think of it as far away, first of all. In reality, says St. Paul: 'in Him we move and exist'. Being God, Being gives life to everything instant by instant. But even more, the mission of Jesus is to bring everyone back to the love of the Father. Yes God is a father! Think of our father ... they are an image of the Father's love. How nice, is not it? The Creed begins like this: 'I believe in God the Father Almighty'. It is said that St. Francis sometimes could not go beyond these words was so much emotion. 

Lent is a time of penitence. What does 'penitence' mean? Does it mean walking around sad, unhappy? Certainly not, Jesus says 'when you fast, smell your head and wash your face, because people do not see that you fast, but only your Father who is in secret; and your Father, who sees in secret, will reward you '(Mt 6, 17). Penance means to have your heart turned upwards and not to be sad, it is a breath, it is peace for the soul. The other recommendations are: prayer, fasting and almsgiving, are a consequence of a restoration of the filial relationship. Something to exclaim: 'how beautiful, I have God as Father'! And then I pray, I stop, to remain a little side to side with the Father, fasting from my various excesses to also have that silence of the body, I give alms because compassion drives me to share as much as I can with what I have with whom it is really in need and not with the false poor. If God is my father then the neighbor is not an enemy, in the next, especially the sick or the needy I see one of the faces of the Father, one of the faces of Christ, 'who sees me, sees the Father!' (Jn 12, 44).

Lent is an exodus, an exit from the spirit of this world, which consumes and ages us, towards the Holy Spirit, who is 'love, joy, peace' (Galatians 5: 22), who renews us and always cheers us up! 

I wish you a peaceful time, because this is the definition of peace, peace is the tranquility of order. Good Lent!  

(Maximiliano Cattaneo)

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