Happy Lent! (Do people say that?) Looking at the Mass readings for the first week in this penitential time, I didn’t even have to look past Monday’s first reading. Pay attention to how the Church prepares her children for the death and resurrection of Jesus! On Sunday we saw how Jesus went out to the desert to be tempted, giving us an example of the importance of prayer, and then on Monday we see… the Ten Commandments!
What do you think of when you see the Ten Commandments? Well I think of an examination of conscience. We are in a penitential time, where we should do penance for our sins… but what’s the point in doing penance for our sins if we don’t have any? Well, since no one here said that, take Monday’s first reading from Leviticus 19 and take time to do a thorough examination of conscience… followed by the sacrament of confession, obviously.
Another beautiful thing about the Church, she teaches us to remember our sins, feel sorry for offending God with them and make a resolution to do better—but even more—She takes them away in confession! How good it is to hear “I absolve you from your sins in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”! Those sins are no longer yours—but what does remain with you are the consequences and effects of your sins, and a weakened will. Which brings me back to the beginning, how Lent is a time for penance, as well as prayer and almsgiving: all practices which help to clean your soul and toughen it up so you can be a worthy son or daughter of God.
One more thing: Since sometimes its hard to apply the literal text of the Ten Commandments to every single part of your life, find an in-depth examination of conscience that applies to your state in life and do that one. You’ll see how the Lord wants to forgive you, heal you, and sanctify you. It will help you experience the forgiveness of God, and at the same time, make you more attentive to sins that have slidden in there without you noticing.
More next week!
Another beginner, but with really good teachers