As a child, my Grandmother was big on “giving things up for Lent”. Sweets were banned and chocolate and biscuits the food of the Devil. She would regale us with stories about her youth and the hardships that Lent brought to her family. As 7 and 8 year olds we were expected to follow her regime. It was funny, though, that after her frequent visits to the loo, my Gran always came back to her chair covered in biscuit crumbs!
The challenge of the Gospel is our journey to become what we receive, to be that Easter Jesus so that God’s love can shine in all we do and say and become.
The challenge that Lent brings is the focus on the journey to Gethsemane. There, the Christ had to draw on every resource he had available, to take the step into unconditional love that was to bring about his victory on the Cross.
He had to see the goodness in all peoples so that he could share that goodness with all.
That is why the absence of chocolate or biscuits or alcohol has little potential to open our hearts and lives to others.
A focus on the attitudes that we have, how we trust one another, communicate with each other, tolerate the people we struggle with, forgive, heal and liberate takes us on that journey.
If you need to give something up, make that your personal time. Visit the lonely who live on our streets this Lent.