So the season of Lent is upon us once more. Big deal one may say. I have done this so many times, the fasting, the praying, the stations the abstinence. What else is new?
Well I think the church challenges us every year to make Lent a bit different. To avoid the pitfall of falling into the same routine. And I think the way to do this is to place Lent in the perspective of Holy week. It is a prelude to that singular event that defines us. We do not fast and pray merely to rid ourselves of sin but to better appreciate the significance of Easter in our lives.
This year I will be speaking on the seven deadly sins. They have been singled out in the Christian tradition as particularly detrimental to our spiritual lives and our general well-being. They can literally destroy your peace of mind, your personal happiness and your relationship with God.
If Easter promises us fulfillment with the risen Lord then the seven deadly sins will deny you that privilege. They will literally choke the living day light out of you. So it is instructive to us to look at the deeper dimension of sin in our lives and see how these faults have become so ingrained that we do not even notice them!
Lent is an invitation to journey with Christ in the desert. To peel away the trappings of our existence. The lies we tell ourselves, the masques we hide behind, the inauthentic existence we have adopted. It is an invitation to walk in the truth. To see ourselves as God sees us – not an easy task. Are you up to it?
I throw out the challenge to us all. In the words of Horace “To flee vice is the beginning of Virtue.” Aquinas in his writings refers to a condition called “pusillanimity”, best translated as smallness of soul. A condition of selling ourselves short. Not living up to the potential we were created by God for. Because God has indeed created all of us for greatness. We are the ones who shirk out spiritual destiny.
So I invite us to do a bit of soul searching this Lent in the light of the seven deadly sins, which one(s) can you claim as your own this Lent?
Envy – Feeling bitter when others have it better
Vainglory – Lusting after recognition
Sloth – Resisting the demands of Love
Avarice – Wanting it all for yourself, never having enough
Anger – The desire for revenge or injury to someone else
Gluttony – Someone who raids the icebox for a cure for spiritual malnutrition
Lust – It leaves us hungrier and more alone than ever
Have a great Lent.