Lenten Reflection Series: A time to learn how to love again

Throughout the season of Lent, we’re featuring the Millennial Lenten Reflection Series co-sponsored by Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good and Franciscan Mission Service. Each small reflection will be written by a young person, focusing on that day’s Mass reading. You can sign up for the series here.

The ancient and holy season of Lent comes upon us once again. The readings today remind us that this season is not about superficial disciplines that outwardly appear “religious” but inwardly don’t change us.

The words of the prophet Joel should ring in our ears this Lenten season: “rend your hearts, not your garments, and return to the Lord your God.”

John Chrystodom put it this way: “No act of virtue can be great if it is not followed by advantage for others. So, no matter how much time you spend fasting, no matter how much you sleep on a hard floor and eat ashes and sigh continually, if you do no good to others, you do nothing great.”

The Lenten season and the disciplines that accompany then is not a series of disjointed self-help exercises. It’s a time to encounter once again the God who never tires of loving us. It’s a time to learn how to love again.

So to celebrate this Lent, let’s fast on indifference and feast on generosity. When we make of our neighbor our sister, we honor the one who came among us, who died for us and who set us free.