Deepening Our Relationship with God During Lent

I had a conversation a while back with a friend, who is Christian but not Catholic, proclaim to me that the Catholic Faith was not biblically based. This person went on to say that many Christians base their Sunday services on a particular passage from the Bible and that many of them could quote scripture, even the children. Now I don’t know enough about other Christian faiths to say if that is true or not but I do admit that it took me by surprise.

After hearing this statement I decided to look into the Catholic’s view of the Bible. What I learned was that our faith is based on revelation. This revelation has come to us through both tradition and then through scripture. So, rather than picking just one or two passages we take the Bible as a whole. We need to look at the Bible in its entirety and not just pick and choose different parts or scriptures. The Bible is to be read in context, what comes before or after a specific line of scripture will help us understand its true meaning.

Taking time to study and learn the Bible is one way to grow in our faith. There are many other ways, other than the obvious one of attending Mass on at least a weekly basis. There are speakers, retreats, prayer groups, books, and music just to name a few. As we take the time to look closer at our faith and achieve a deeper relationship with Him the rewards will come back ten-fold.

Lent is a time to reflect and strive for a deeper understanding of His love and to strengthen our relationship with Him. Lent ultimately ends with the greatest gift that God has given us, his son Jesus Christ and the promise of eternal life. Jesus who came to earth to live with us, teach us, pray with us and ultimately give His life for us so that we may experience fully His love. Lent is that special time of year that we can truly concentrate on how to live by the law He has set forth and to form a closer loving relationship with Him.

While many of us would see this time of year as a very somber and bleak time of the liturgical year, I would challenge you to look at it with a fresh set of eyes. Try seeing it as spring, a time to nourish and deepen our roots, for it is these strong and sturdy roots that will provide the means to bloom and rejoice in the Risen Savior. Without these means to support and foster our relationship with God we will ultimately wilt and struggle for a rich and fulfilling life.

Recently I saw a posting on Facebook about a “Reverse Lent.” Essentially this person wrote to say that instead of giving up something for Lent, they would give something. This is not a new concept and not a bad way to look at the season provided it is done in the right spirit. If one is giving in addition to what they already do, then that is done in the right spirit. Say you already spend time in prayer each day and add to this time during Lent, that is done in the right spirit. If you currently give to the church and/or charities during the year and increase it during Lent, that is the right spirit. However, if the only time you pray or give is during Lent and say, “that is good for the year,” you may want to look at your actions during the rest of the year. Of course, this isn’t to say that this may be the start of your journey just don’t use it as your whole journey.

Another way to give and to deepen your relationship with God is to give of your time and attend one, if not all three, of the talks Fr. Steven will be offering today and the next two Sundays. “Entering More Deeply into the Heart of the Father with Jesus” is a three-part spiritual experience being offered on the Sundays of March 8, 15 and 22 in the Heritage Center from 2-4 p.m. Enrich your Lenten experience and hear Fr. Steven speak about confession, prayer, fasting and almsgiving. The gift of a few hours may reap great rewards in your relationship with God.

At this time of year there are also many opportunities for retreats and other prayer experiences. The staff just spent part of a day last week in retreat. Many times we are so busy working or running our lives and/or our families that we do not take the time to nourish our souls. A retreat is a great opportunity to get away from the everyday and spend some time concentrating on your spiritual life. Many may say they just don’t have the time to give for prayer and reflection; I would say you really don’t have the time not to give this time.

I encourage you to do whatever it is that will enrich and deepen your relationship with the Lord. Maybe you will read the Bible, spend additional time in prayer, attend a retreat or spend a few afternoons listening to Fr. Steven. Whatever it is, find something that will speak to you. Take the time now to nourish and deepen your roots. Then when Easter does arrive, may you bloom and rejoice in the loving and eternal life that is our gift from God.

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