The Things that Really Matter – First Sunday of Lent
Lent, with its fasting, abstinence and alms giving, aims to help us deal with the modern world’s weapons of mass distraction. They proliferate on every side. Money, work, possessions, shopping, noise, eating, the mass media – these compete noisily for our attention, tending to drive out what is more true and essential. Over these weeks leading up to Easter, the tradition of the Church is to expose them to the harsh noon-day sun of the Lenten desert.
These things and activities that distract us are not of themselves bad but what is often lacking is the scrutiny of our desires by the virtues of prudence and charity.
As Pope John Paul II reminded us: “An excessive desire for possessions prevents human beings from being open to their Creator and to their brothers and sisters”.
We can be distracted too by what others think of us, sometimes to the point where we become what they want us to be, rather than what we truly are.
According to the saints down the ages, the disarming of the enemy and his weapons of mass distraction, requires the three-fold tactics: Prayer – the recovery of sacred space and time. Fasting and sacrifice – they make emptiness preferable to a distracting fullness. Concern for those in need -it can cure the attempts to please others.
May our Lent be fruitful – not necessarily one in which we have given you more and done more, but one where we have recovered a sense of our true destination.