This week we are marking the start of a special journey. One where we are challenged to find time and space in our lives to set things in the right direction culminating in a time of celebration, joy and hope. For Christians this season and journey is Lent which prepares as for the festival of Easter that marks Jesus’ suffering, death and resurrection. In the Gospel this week we hear about the account of Jesus in the desert. In a very human way He faces the very real temptations of greed, power and our temptation to test God’s love for us. We have all done it… “if you really love me then you will give me what I want or things will work out for me!” Sometimes we need to step back and realise that God has a unique plan for each and every one of us, not always exactly in line with what we may have expected or planned for ourselves. Many people ask “what have you given up for Lent?” At times I think we can be limited by this question… maybe we have promised to spend less time online, give up chocolate or whatever we may be tempted by. This is good self-discipline but may have a limited impact on others. I think the bigger challenge is to think about the three key themes of Lent for Christians.
- Fasting – saying no to the most selfish things in our lives and trying to “live simply”
- Prayer – dedicating some time each day to enrich our relationship with God
- Charity – making active steps to enrich the lives of others and care for those in the world around us
If you are like me sometimes it is tough to stick to the routine of getting started, I am often keen to do something positive rather than struggle to think of what it is relevant to give up. This year I have found a great prompt with a website called “40 Acts” in which we are given some practical opportunities to “kick start a ripple of generosity this Lent.” So far over 70,000 have signed up to the daily challenges. They are even differentiated from small commitments to really significant change!
So what are you waiting for? Embrace the opportunity to set off on the journey open to you this Lent… I hope that it is journey that helps us all grow in faith and love for one another and God.
A livesimply creed We believe…
We believe in God who gave us a world to share in friendship, equality and peace.
We believe in God who created all people and our world out of love.
We recognise that the world is unequal and unjust and that we are individually and collectively responsible for being good stewards and for working with hope and love to restore God’s kingdom on earth.
We believe in Christ, living, suffering, dying and rising, the life force in the whole of creation.
We believe in one world, one people, fed from one table.
We believe that we are all vital parts of Christ’s body, reflecting his love, by and through our actions, compassion, attitudes and choices.
We believe we are God’s instruments through which by faith, prayer and action we will change the world.
We believe in a God of love, who calls all of us to listen to each other, to actively share and treat each other as equals in humility and hope.
We believe that within God’s circle of love, faith and trust we all share in a worldwide hunger for justice as brothers and sisters in Christ.
Written by a group of CAFOD volunteers