Lenten reflection article by Bishop Donald Kettler
In the hill country of West Virginia, eventually the blacktop roads run out and they turn into oiled dirt or gravel. Fairly soon even these run out and turn into dirt or mud, deeply rutted and worn by many wheels. At the beginning of such a deeply worn and rather forbidding looking road someone placed a hand-lettered sign, which read, “Choose your rut carefully. You’ll be in it for the next 20 miles.”
At the decision points of our life journeys, we need to be reminded as well that our choices also have far-reaching consequences. One of the challenges of this Lenten season is the try to leave our ruts and perhaps start out in a new direction. If we choose to use Lent wisely and well, it can be a very valuable season for us. It could be an ideal time to deepen our faith, reexamine our values and priorities and renew our commitment to Jesus Christ as his disciples. Perhaps we may also come to some decisions, which would profoundly affect the direction of our lives.
Like Christ, we too are tempted
It was no accident that before Jesus embarked on his public ministry of preaching, teaching and healing, he went off by himself to fast and pray and was then tempted by the devil. There in the desert he was enticed with three temptations: to satisfy a need for pleasure, to satisfy a need for power and wealth and to satisfy a need to make himself the center of everything.
Lent is a special time to look at our lives and relationships to see if we should deal with any of these three temptations. Through the Lenten tools of special prayer, fasting and doing good works for others (almsgiving), we might make needed changes or adjustments in the direction our lives are moving.
- Is there emptiness that needs to be filled?
- Is it time to claim mastery over vices that have held you captive too long?
- Are there relationships that need to be healed?
- Have you felt separated from God?
Help and resources available
This Lent can offer you the Holy Spirit who gave Jesus victory over his three temptations and will assist you where there is weakness, hurt or brokenness.
Make an effort to come to some daily Masses during Lent. Participate in Stations of the Cross in your parish and receive the sacrament of penance/reconciliation sometime during Lent. Let your special prayer, fasting and good works bring you the Holy Spirit this year.
Donald J. Kettler
Bishop of Saint Cloud