The temptation of Our Lord in the desert.
Lent is a time that we may and should look towards with a certain holy joy and enthusiasm. It is a time to reform ourselves, to do penance, to catch up as it were in the way of paying our debts to God. There are perhaps so many things that we have promised to do, so many guilty indulgences or bad habits we have long been resolving to give up. Now is the time, now if ever, during the holy time of Lent.
Lent is the great Fast of the Church in which all Her children are called to take part. The forty days serve to commemorate the time spent by Our Lord in the desert before His public ministry. It was a time of prayer, fasting and fighting against temptation. Lent is a time to recall the excess of Christ’s Love, especially His fasting, sorrows, Passion and Death. It is a time to return this Love by serious efforts to conform ourselves more to His Pattern. ‘If every year we rooted out one vice,’ says Thomas a Kempis ‘we should soon become perfect men.’ (Im. Bk. I cp. Xi). Ah! Indeed, if we and all sons and daughters of Holy Church would use the time of Lent to begin in earnest to forsake and uproot some evil propensity, some unmortified passion or inordinate attachment, how our lives would be changed for the better!
To do something befitting the holy time of Lent, we could consider to abstain from meat and eggs during the forty days. Then there are our personal and voluntary sacrifices that we should think about and prepare to make beforehand. Even the most weak, the most weighed down by sin, need not feel gloomy and depressed when the time of Lent comes round, since it is for many a powerful incentive for sincere conversion and reconciliation with God.
How many times have we resolved to pray more, to meditate, to do spiritual reading and to make a steady habit of daily spiritual exercises?! Lent is coming! Let us make up our minds to offer God the spiritual service of prayer in a more fervent and constant manner! At least now and then, it will be of great benefit and fittingness to make the Way of the Cross and to spend some time, if possible before the Blessed Sacrament. We will surely find it most rewarding to spend more time with God in the quiet peace of prayer. Our daily tasks will seem less enormous and painful to deal with and we will desire to return to the presence of God by retiring again to converse with Him in silence. The habit of spending time with God will deepen our sense of His indwelling in our souls. We will find that by retiring to Him, we are aspiring to Him. ‘Prayer is good with fasting,’ (Tob. 12. 8) said the Angel to Tobias, and indeed the one helps the other. Prayer is made easier and more agreeable with some fasting and fasting is made bearable with the support of prayer. Let us be firmly decided this year, to make our season of Lent a time for God and an occasion of profit to our immortal souls.
— by a Transalpine Redemptorist monk.