“You are dust, and unto dust you shall return.” Yes, it’s Ash Wednesday….the beginning of Lent, the 40 Days. I have to admit that my initial reaction to Lent is often Auuuuuuuggggghhhhhh…… not Lent again. Truly the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.
Part of my problem is that I think I have plenty of Lents left before my life comes to an end. “Hey, if this was my Last Lent, I might be a bit more determined and deliberate and serious…. but, there’s plenty of time; one of these days, I’ll kick it up a notch. You may recall the old commercial of the banker sitting at a desk with cobwebs on him and his telephone, telling the customer, “oh your loan request? …. it will be ready any day now, any day now, annnny daaaaaay nowww.” Yes, there’s plenty of time to get more serious about Lent…one of these days….hmmmmmmm.
Yet, when I pause and think more clearly, I realize that Lent is a great opportunity… an opportunity to go on a 40 day retreat, to take inventory of my spiritual life, to make some course corrections, to make sure “my bags are packed for my final journey”. Lent is a great blessing.
What if you knew that Lent 2022 was your last Lent, the last opportunity for this 40 day retreat, this 40 day spiritual tune-up? I’ve spoken about this idea over the years with some of my friends. Well as a matter of fact, Lent 2021 was the last Lent for 7 of my good friends. These 7 excellent friends passed away since last Lent. I think they had good Lents last year …. I sure hope they did.
It’s clearly not out of the question that some of our current friends may be beginning their last Lent on earth…maybe you, and maybe me. It behooves each of us to enter Lent 2022 with a renewed determination to participate fully, to listen more carefully at Mass, to be more resolute in our “prayer, fasting, and alms giving”, to make sure we have asked and given forgiveness where needed, to be sure and tell our spouse and family and friends that we love them.
Lord, help us to give ourselves to these next 40 days…. to this great opportunity. If we do, we will be very happy; we will be happy whether we spend next Lent on this earth or spend it in heaven. And that is very good news.