The season has begun. This past Wednesday marked the beginning of the season of Lent, which is a forty day period that Christians fast, reflect, and prepare to celebrate the resurrection. It feels like Ash Wednesday and the season came rather quickly this year after celebrating the birth of Jesus and the Epiphany. Every year I try to choose to give up something or take on something to devote more time or effort on developing my relationship with God. As a new parent, the season came up so quickly that I honestly didn’t give it a lot of thought.
Receiving the ashes on my forehead really became a reminder, a call to observe a Holy Lent, as the words of the Ash Wednesday liturgy reminds the church. While I finally decided on focusing on prayer and the Psalms, I still have not found a rhythm to observe my Lenten disciplines well at this point.
With this being the case as I begin Lent, the words of my campus pastor in college came to mind. The priest on campus at the University of Saint Francis made the comment during evening Mass one Sunday in Lent. He said something along the lines, “If you have failed at your Lenten disciplines, then may it remind you that you need God.” He continued to explain that this is the point of Lent; it should remind us that we need God. We desperately need God.
We cannot observe a Holy Lent without God. We are dependent on God. If we think we can, then that’s just another reminder that we absolutely need God and this season calls us to realize that.
As I have been praying the Psalms more often, I keep coming back to Psalm 63. I love the image that comes from the beginning of this psalm:
You, God, are my God,
earnestly I seek you;
I thirst for you,
my whole being longs for you,
in a dry and parched land
where there is no water.
While this psalm is not necessarily a Lenten psalm, it certainly fits this season. We are called to earnestly seek God in this season. While we enter into the desert to be tempted along with Jesus for forty days, we should thirst for God. Our whole being should long for God above everything else. In doing so, we will realize that the whole point of our spiritual disciplines and the whole point of Lent is for us to realize that we are wholly dependent upon God.