“Yesterday I was clever so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise so I am changing myself.”
—Rumi (13 Century Persian Poet)
A priest was heading back to the rectory one evening in the dark when he was accosted by a robber who pulled a gun on him and demanded: “Give me all of your money!” As the priest reached into his coat pocket, the robber saw his collar and said: “I see you’re a priest. Never mind, you can go.” The priest tried to reciprocate the gesture by offering the robber a candy bar that he remembered was in his pocket. The robber replied: “No thanks, Father, I don’t eat candy during Lent.”
The season of Lent begins at the end of this month. It is a time for us as Christians to renew our faith, to think about the meaning the death of Jesus has for us and to enter into a more meaningful prayer life. It is a time to get in touch with God and to reflect on the ways that we can be better people and better Christians. Do we give up candy but then turn around and “rob” our neighbors because we are being selfish, unkind or oblivious to what others are going through?
Sometimes we think we are doing just fine. Lent is a time to regroup and to re-examine ourselves, our agendas and what takes up our time and energy—it is a time to go inward and to try to see ourselves more clearly and to realize the many things that need to be changed.
Socrates once said: “The unexamined life is not worth living.” We can’t make improvements if we don’t first find out what needs to be improved. Lent is the perfect opportunity to do that and it is a time to invite God’s help into this daunting task. God helps us to see ourselves more clearly so we can remove those things that hold us back from being the true and unique creations that God made us to be.
So, don’t give up candy for Lent…give up negative attitudes and hurtful actions, give up judging others and being cynical. Give up selfishness and do something kind for someone else. Give up the parts of yourself that could use an overhaul and polish up your strengths and your gifts and use them to make a difference in the world.
Jesus gave up his life for us—each and every one of us, so that we could live life abundantly and joyfully, without sin holding us hostage. Spend time with Jesus during this season of Lent so that you can celebrate the new life he offers and you can rise up with him on Easter Sunday and rejoice!
God’s Peace and Blessings!