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Lent 2024

There is a fourth century story about a young King who went to visit a saintly desert monk, who lived in the desert around Cairo after the age of persecution. The young king looked at the monk and said, “What a wonderful sacrifice you are making!” The monk replied, “Your sacrifice is much greater!” The shocked King asked, “What do you mean?” The monk said, “Because I have renounced the passing world, while you, young King, have renounced the eternal world.”

This is the message of the Church each Lent. The choice is presented to everyone as to what is important. The Church can only do what Jesus did – present the offer. The response to that offer is out of the control of the Church, just as it was beyond Jesus. It’s an offer that can be refused and often is amid such busy and rushed lives.

Lent is a time when we look at our priorities and make sure we are on the right track. It is not so much a negative time as a positive time when we check that we are not going astray. It can partly be summed up in Psalm 25.4 ‘Show me your ways, O Lord, and teach me your paths’.

It was in the wilderness that Satan tempted Jesus. Temptation is about choice and decision. To focus on God or follow our own selfish desires. Quite often it is when we do not make up our mind or commit our heart that we are defeated. For Jesus this was the time for decision and commitment. In the wilderness he would ask, ‘Who am I? What am I called to do? How will I do it?’

We too are invited to ask the same questions during the coming weeks. To reflect upon your spiritual life and consider making improvements. Is there something you could do which would make a great difference?