Sunday, March 20, 2011

Saturday of the First Week of Lent

-Michael Ponkowski, '12

Change is a difficult, intimidating process. We constantly avoid it, we defy it, and we deny it as if it were a deadly disease. It presents burdens that are domineering and it creates a feeling of fear for the unknown, and when we are summoned to embrace a change, we are often reluctant to forge a durable path that is new and unfamiliar. Comfort is contentedness and to be content is to take comfort in the familiar, and even if this comfort poses obstacles along the way, it is preferred by many of us because it is easier and involves less work. However, change is a part of humanity, and as much as we resist it, change is an undeniable aspect of life. The development of a human person, as we grow and change in physique, mentality, and emotion, is an obvious change all humans experience. And just as we grow and mature, we all are born, live, and die, which are indeed changes that all of us experience.

“Take Mary your wife into your home… [who] through the Holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her” is a terrifying command that many of us would be unable to accept. However, Joseph obeys this change in his life even though he was embarrassed by Mary’s pregnancy with a child that is not his own. Joseph was willing to transform his life when he recognized God at work, and eventually made Mary his wife and her child his own, and so became the earthly father of the Son of God who would “save his people from their sins.”

So it is with us that we should strive to do the same. We often encounter change, and although it may seem arduous and the temptation to avoid it is enticing, sometimes change will gradually transform us in these especially difficult times. By accepting Christ into our lives and acting as if God has meaning in our lives, we refine and purify our relationship with God; thus, acknowledging the need to do the good. Lent offers us this opportunity.

Lent is much easier and simpler than what is used to be. Back then, Catholics were supposed to fast on every day except Sunday with no eating in between meals, and the two lesser meals could not equal the main meal. Although those requirements are no longer in effect, and we are coddled per say, the purpose of Lent has not changed. The heart of Lent is our preparation for the Resurrection of Christ and the renewal of our baptismal promises, a reflection of our identity in Christ. Lent is a time for us to recover our identities as Followers in Christ.

During this Lenten season, we need to reflect upon our relationship with Christ and ask ourselves: “How is God inviting me to change my life today?” Whether the answer is “Jesus I will” fast, or give alms, or pray extra, or be nice to my younger sibling, a gradual recovery of the sense of the self in God will be attained if we respond with a humble, faithful obedience to God’s Word.

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