Many of us remember or maybe heard about Lent in the past. Adults fasted every day of Lent. One full meal and the other two could not equal a full meal. People made personal sacrifices; giving up smoking, candy, alcohol, or something they really liked. And people when to Church more often, not just Sunday Mass, but for Stations of the Cross, Daily Mass, or a Lenten Retreat.
Today, many people feel Lent is much easier. Encouragement is given to do positive things during Lent; many people do not give up much anymore. In fact life for many people during Lent is not much different than any other time of the year.
But if you think about it, maybe Lent is asking more of us today. Lent is asking us to accept adult responsibility for our own spiritual growth, our own spiritual journey.
For instance, when it comes to giving up something, maybe the giving up is meant to be more than candy or smoking… Just maybe we are called to give up whatever keeps us from being closer to Jesus Christ.
And whatever it is that we give up or do – it is meant to continue beyond Lent.
The Second Vatican Council of the 1960’s decided to take a risk and to risk treating us as adults.
Hopefully Lent will be for us a time to change our lives and for us to become more Christ like. As we come forward today and receive Ashes, may this ritual be a sign of a true commitment to take Lent seriously and allow the grace of God to truly change us In the next 40 days.